Series Review: Jack Ryan

This latest incarnation of Jack Ryan, a well known character created by late author Tom Clancy, secures his place on the small screen this time. I got to know the character through a series of movies, played by a string of actors that included Harrison Ford and Chris Pine.

Amazon Prime released season one on August 31. This is a series review of Jack Ryan.

Series Review Jack Ryan

Jack Ryan stars John Krasinki, Wendell Pierce, Abbie Cornish, and Ali Suliman. Episode one, titled Pilot, was directed by Morten Tyldum and carries a TV-MA rating for language and violence. Each episode in this series has a run time of 1 hour and 4 minutes.

Jack Ryan (Krasinki) is a former US Marine serving behind a desk as a CIA analyst in the Counter Terrorism Center: Terror Finance and Arms Division. As he explains to his new boss, he studies marketing and financial transactions in Yemen, looking for aberrations.

He’s found one that concerns him. Massive amounts of money are being funneled into a single account that appears to be connected to a mysterious man known as Suleiman (Suliman). Jack feels the account needs to be frozen and Suleiman tracked down, to prevent another 9/11 type tragedy.

Series Review Jack Ryan

Jack’s supervisor, James Greer (Pierce), initially disagrees, leading Jack to take matters into his own hands. He freezes the account. While getting to know a former colleague’s daughter, Cathy (Cornish), at a birthday party, Jack is interrupted and called in. He and Greer board a plane bound for Yemen, where two men have been captured and held for interrogation.

It would appear that Saleiman and his bodyguard have been apprehended. Far from his analyst desk in Washington DC, Jack finds himself in the middle of an explosive situation that poses a dangerous threat to the entire world.

Series Review Jack Ryan

I was impressed with this premiere episode in a fresh series about a familiar character. As I’ve seen several of the Jack Ryan movies and reboots over the years, it was good to start again at the beginning and see how an analyst ends up as an agent in the field.

John Krasinki inhabits the character well, I think. Best known for playing Jim Halpert for eight years in The Office, Krasinki brought a hint of humor to Jack Ryan and a surprisingly buff body. We get a glimpse of Ryan’s back story and recognize that he suffers from post traumatic stress syndrome. Krasinki brings a vulnerability to the role that I liked.

I especially enjoyed the banter between Ryan and Greer. The two get off to a rough start. Greer was sent back to the US as a disciplinary action and reluctantly assumes his new position with the CIA. Back in the field together the men develop a cautious respect for each other.

With eight episodes available for season one and the second season already confirmed, this new series, Jack Ryan, promises action, adventures and dangerous situations to defuse. I’ll be watching. Well done, Amazon Prime.

Series Review Jack Ryan

Never Settle

Never settle. Not the Sunday Short I intended to write today. That post was earmarked for another day. I worked instead on a different piece, long after I knew I was headed in the wrong direction.

As often happens when I go astray, I am gently and unmistakably guided back onto the right path.

Never Settle

My daughter Elissa recently sent me the inspiration for today’s post. It resonated with me deeply.

Never Settle

There are subtle variations that define the word settle. Settle down, settle up, settle in, get settled, settle on, settle for…all convey slightly different meanings. When we settle for something, as implied in the meme above, the meaning is to accept or agree to something that one considers to be less than satisfactory, less than desirable.

The counterpoint to settling is to be brave. Bravery requires courage and the willingness to face fears and overcome challenges to get what one truly wants. The root word for brave reveals that boldness and an untamed savageness are at the very heart of bravery.

I understand that. I’ve settled before, in my life, and I’ve bravely decided not to at other times. My truest self is always uncovered and called forth when I refuse to settle. As I am making some shifts in my journey, now, these words come as an excellent reminder of what is at stake.

Never Settle

This second quote that I saw confirmed that I was back on track this evening as I wrote. These words reinforce the need for courage and bravery, especially when hitting a reset button in life. I’ve started over several times as I have journeyed, most recently two years ago when my eating habits were completely overhauled. Starting over in any area of life requires the deepest of self love and the strongest of desires.

It also provides an opportunity…to not settle, to not give up or give in, to go where the heart is leading, no matter what others may say or what society may dictate.

As I watched a movie, my thoughts led me away from the earlier half written piece, and back to bravery, courage and never, ever settling again. Twice, in a short space of time, one of the characters in the film said “settle”. And that settled it! I knew which direction to go as I started over…and wrote.

Brave girl. Never settle again. I won’t.

Never Settle

An Apple a Day

Everyone is familiar with the old adage, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. I’ve heard that saying all my life, and yet I’ve never felt inspired to eat more apples, even though I liked the idea of keeping the doctor away.

What if I have looked at that sage advice the wrong way?

An Apple a Day

What if the emphasis should be on eating an apple…at least one…every day, rather than avoiding the doctor? After switching to a plant based lifestyle, I experienced an incredible amount of healing. Becoming pain free and able to walk without a cane was my initial motivation. However, what happened was that my focus shifted to simply eating whole plant based foods, and that allowed my body to do its thing.

A body that is supported and supplied with high energy living foods naturally heals itself. It’s what the body is created to do. A body that is fed poor quality, low energy, processed foods struggles to maintain itself and begins to function poorly and then break down.

As my diet changed, my body healed, eliminating the pain, yes, and also healing from a host of disorders and ailments. It also naturally released excess weight.

An Apple a Day

I’ll be starting another 28 Day Cleanse again soon, where I will focus on consuming raw fruits and vegetables. I like the energy that comes from simplifying my diet, and the detoxing that occurs as my body purges itself from any toxins I’ve picked up. I’ll be inviting people to join me, or at least to follow my journey, if they would like to experience a profound health shift.

However, for those who don’t feel ready for such a dramatic change, this easier challenge is the perfect way to bring more life giving food into the diet.

Anthony William, also known as the Medical Medium, issued a 21 Day Apple Challenge this morning, that officially kicks off tomorrow on Instagram. The challenge is simple. Eat at least one apple a day and post a photo on Instagram. The pic could show a bowl of apples, or apple slices with date sauce, or your family picking apples at an orchard.

Each day Anthony will select two posts on Instagram to feature. The creators of those posts will each receive a copy of Anthony’s newest book that releases next month, Liver Rescue.

An Apple a Day

Why an apple for the 21 day challenge? Because that fruit is so vital to liver health that it graces the cover of the book. Apples help to heal liver related diseases such as eczema, psoriasis, acne, SIBO, gout, bloating, weight issues, premature aging, fatigue, autoimmune diseases and many more disorders. I’m looking forward to receiving this new book and focusing on a healthy liver.

In the meantime, what a great way to begin cleansing and nourishing my liver by participating in the 21 Day Apple Challenge. I stocked up on apples today. I enjoyed a sliced apple this afternoon and I look forward to trying new ways to include apples in my diet daily.

Get on Instagram…it’s free to create an account…and follow Medical Medium. All the details about the challenge and winning free books are there. While you are on Instagram, find me as well. I have two accounts…Journey With Healthy Me and Cindy Lauderdale Moore.

Let’s do the challenge together! An apple a day…or two or three…will not only keep the doctor away, it will begin to transform the body.

An Apple a Day

Preorder Liver Rescue by clicking on link below.

I am an Amazon Affiliate and may earn a commission on purchases, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for considering making a purchase of this product, or any other items, through my Amazon link! 

Grandpa Bill’s Doll

I grew up disliking dolls, which was peculiar for a little girl. I had my reasons. As an adult I still don’t care for them. So it’s unusual that the subject of tonight’s Vintage Story post is a doll and even more out of the ordinary that she is snuggled up with me as I write. This vintage girl is special however. She belonged to one of Greg’s grandparents and surprisingly, not to Grandma Ruby. This little beauty was Grandpa Bill’s doll.

Grandpa Bill’s Doll

Bill Moore was a two year old toddler in 1900 when he received the doll, making her at least 120 years old. When he first showed me the doll with the china head, hands and feet, he chuckled. I heard how she accompanied him through the years. Grandpa’s family moved often during his childhood and youth, and it is amazing that this treasure survived.

Why oh why, I wonder now, did I not question him more about his doll? Grandpa Bill seemed quite fond of her and indeed, he cherished her because in his twilight years, he still had her. She was carefully on display in his home when I met her. Her original outfit had long ago been replaced by something newer, however the style of the dress was appropriate for her age. What did he call this doll, as a child? Who gave him the toy? Did his two brothers and three sisters have china dolls as well? If they didn’t, why did he have a doll? There are so many questions that I will never have answers to.

Grandpa Bill’s DollWilliam Rolston Moore, age 2.

What I do know is that Grandpa Bill loved his doll so much that he kept her near him throughout his life. Only when he moved into an assisted care facility, after the death of Grandma Ruby, did he placed the doll into the care of his daughter-in-law Leta Moore.

The doll came to me 20 years later, before Bob Moore passed away. I carefully packed her away in a closet, fearful that she would get broken. However, my philosophy about vintage items is to use them and display them so that they can be enjoyed. The doll made her debut in my home as the central piece in a fall vignette, in 2014.

Grandpa Bill’s Doll

Tonight I researched the origins of Grandpa Bill’s doll. I discovered that she is most likely a Hertwig lowbrow china doll from Germany.

The Hertwig Porcelain Factory, located in the Thuringian town of Katzhütte, Germany, made porcelain products from 1864 until the factory closed around 1950. Doll parts were made from 1865 on.The earliest shoulder heads may have been made of unglazed porcelain. Hertwig is most noted for their Nanking-Puppen, or lowbrow dolls, made with nanking (brown cotton) bodies, stuffed with cotton, with bisque or china limbs.

Grandpa Bill’s DollTwo lowbrow china dolls. The blonde ones were created specifically for the American market, around 1900.

Grandpa’s doll looks like the blonde lowbrow model, with the heart shaped mouth, light colored eyes and brown brows. His doll has the brown cotton body with china hands and black painted china boots.

And here is the interesting correlation. I know, from Greg’s recent genealogy research, that Bill Moore’s maternal grandfather came from Germany…the Hesse region. Henry Siegfried arrived in the US by way of New York City, New York, in 1854. Henry’s daughter, Lillian Ida Siegfried, became Bill’s mother.

Is it possible that the doll belonged to her and she gave it to her young son? Or did Lillian or another Siegfried relative purchase the German made doll in the US, because of its connection to their native country?

Grandpa Bill’s Doll Bill and Ruby in 1917.

Grandpa Bill’s DollGrandpa Bill four years before his death. He rode a stationary bike five miles every day.

If only this old girl could talk, I’d have the answers to my questions. And then I’d have to pack her away again, because a talking doll would not be acceptable to me!

She has won me over though. This cherished childhood keepsake has helped me to move past a long held fear of mine. I featured the doll in fall vignettes at first. Gradually she appeared in other groupings all over my house. And when she’s not gathering admiring glances in wooden sieves or old suitcases or Christmas vignettes, she stands on my bedroom dresser.

That’s a big deal for me, to display a doll in my room. I had a chat with her and asked her to behave, or back into the closet she would go. She’s been the perfect little lady and I have an appreciation and an affection for her now.

I hope Grandpa chuckles over his doll still and visits her while I sleep. I want him to know she is cared for and loved. Perhaps he will whisper her name into my ear and tell me more about her in my dreams. Until I hear otherwise, I will call her Lillian, after his mother. Grandpa Bill’s doll…she’s a treasure indeed.

Grandpa Bill’s Doll

Spiders That Are Good to Have Around

I know. I’ve heard it said a bazillion times, “The only good spider is a dead spider”. Most people fear spiders or at the very least, dislike them. Is it because they surprise us with their beautiful but sticky webs? Or is it because, as Greg says, spiders are sneaky? Are we afraid they will hurt us by biting us? Perhaps we hate spiders because we don’t understand them.

Whatever the reason for our qualms, I felt inspired to introduce the Yellow Garden Spider that I encountered earlier this evening, and share her story. My hope is that rather than scream and find a shoe to smash with, we might allow the humble spider to live and grow in our esteem. At the very least I hope to lessen the fear of these industrious and beneficial allies. This gorgeous specimen definitely falls into the spiders that are good to have around category.

Spiders That Are Good to Have Around

All good introductions begin with a name. This big beauty, called Argiope aurantia, is commonly known as the yellow garden spider, black and yellow garden spider, golden garden spider, writing spider, corn spider, or McKinley spider. The Latin name, Argiope aurantia, means “gilded silver face”.

This species of spider can be found in Canada, the lower 48 states, Hawaii, Mexico and Central America, and as the nicknames imply, it prefers gardens as its habitat. As with many spiders, the female, who ranges in size from 3/4 of an inch to 1 1/2 inches, is much larger than the male, 1/4 to 1/3 of an inch full grown.

The Yellow Garden Spider is an orb weaver, meaning she spins her circular web, usually overnight. The unique zigzag down the middle of the web, which can have a span of two feet, is a signature design. Opinions vary on the purpose of the zigzag. Some speculate that it offers camouflage for the spider, some that it attracts insects and others suggest that the design keeps birds from flying into the web and destroying it. If only people understood the “look out” warning!

Spiders That Are Good to Have Around

This non aggressive garden ally is not poisonous to humans although her bite paralyzes prey when they become tangled in her web. After injecting venom, the Yellow Garden Spider wraps her meal in silken strands for later consumption. These spiders are beneficial to the garden and to humans because they trap and feed on aphids, flies, gnats and mosquitoes.

I spied this gorgeous lady as I dropped off a friend at her home in rural Aurora. As I carried items into the house, the web with the characteristic zigzag caught my attention first, and then I spied the occupant. I noted that her legs, all eight of them, appeared to be clad in black silk stockings. I was so captivated by her beauty that I had to snap a few photos.

Unlike most people I know, I love spiders. Missouri only has two poisonous species of spiders, the brown recluse and the black widow. I avoid those two, however all spiders fascinate me. As a child I talked to spiders and tossed flies into their webs so I could observe their arachnid behavior. As an adult, I still talk to them.

Today I crooned to the garden spider and told her how magnificent she was. She had caught an insect and as I talked to her, she busily spun a cocoon around her catch, unconcerned with my nearness. I leaned in closer, and I swear that she hummed happily as she worked, a little Pooh song I imagine. She never acknowledged me, unless her song was for my pleasure, and yet she did not hide from me either. I’m glad we connected.

The next time you see the Yellow Garden Spider, say a quiet hello and then leave her alone. She’s a friend and a helper. She’s one of the spiders that are good to have around.

Spiders That Are Good to Have Around

A Story About Legs

Contemplating what story to tell, at almost 10:00 pm, I thought back over my day. It was a long one, full of joys and appointments. I showed property, climbed stairs, crawled in and out of the car multiple times, trotted across parking lots, got drenched during a thunderstorm, sat for extended periods of time, shared meals with grandkids. None of those activities are unusual, except that two and a half years ago, I would not have been able to put in such a day. The reoccurring thought that I entertained today was one of gratitude for my legs. This is a story about legs.

A Story About Legs

For years I took my legs for granted. They got me around and I never gave them much thought, beyond occasional dissatisfaction with the way they looked or the fact that I toe in when I walk, due to my hip joints.

After a serious car accident in 1995, I became much more aware of my legs because of damage to my low back. Inflammation set in, in my sciatic nerves, and thus began my journey with chronic pain.

I can’t adequately describe the agony of living with chronic pain. Sitting, standing, and walking were all uncomfortable. Muscles tightened around my knees, to the point that those joints would lock and not want to straighten out if I sat or slept with legs bent. They tightened in my calves as well. My nerves became so sensitive to touch that jeans and slacks against my skin created constant irritation and the soles of my feet could feel the texture of my socks. My feet didn’t like that. Restless legs kept me from sleeping well at night and long rides in the car or by airplane were unbearable.

A Story About Legs

As the years passed the pain increased, in spite of every kind of treatment imaginable. Doctors gave up. I gave up and learned to live with the pain and growing weakness in my legs. In 2015 it became necessary for me to use a cane to walk and a wheelchair seemed inevitable.

That was the lowest point, in this story about legs. That’s when I cried out, at a heart and soul level, for help. My cries were heard, and an answer given.

I found Anthony William by way of Facebook. I read his first book, Medical Medium, and my life changed, because my health changed. I discovered that the shingles virus had attacked my sciatic nerves, and that I could heal by avoiding foods that feed the virus, and consuming foods that support and heal the body. (Read more about healing foods.)

Switching to a plant based diet began a healing journey that continues today. In the last two years I’ve completely eliminated the shingles virus, healed inflamed nerves in my legs, strengthened weakened muscles, loosened stiff joints, eased nerve sensitivity and said bye bye to chronic pain, the cane and restless legs syndrome. Amazingly, something even shifted in my hip joints because I don’t toe in as much as I used to.

I can easily cross my legs, put on my shoes, stretch out my legs, climb stairs, squat and walk…all activities that had become impossible for me. I’m still careful going down stairs as that has been the most difficult thing for me to do, however I can manage, and as my legs continue to improve stairs are less and less problematic.

A Story About Legs

The thought I’ve had repeatedly the last two months is these don’t feel like my legs anymore. I love how great my legs feel and how well they work. Taking them for granted will never happen again. I say “thank you” to my legs, to the Divine and to Anthony every day.

My healing journey inspires me to help others who are struggling with health problems or chronic pain and disorders or who have given up, thinking they will never feel good again. There is hope. And my intention is to share that hope. The work I am doing now is leading me down the path of making a difference for others.

As I drove home tonight, I opened my library of songs on my iPhone and hit “shuffle”. I call this game Spirit Songs and I asked the Divine to select the songs I most needed to hear. The tunes that popped up were all perfect. I knew I had time for one more song before I arrived home. I asked the Divine to select the last song. Make it a great one, I whispered.

The next song up was Dancing Queen from the Mama Mia soundtrack. Of course, the Queen reference made me laugh. But as I listened intently to the words, tears filled my eyes.

You can dance, You can jive, Having the time of your life

Ooh, see that girl, Watch that scene, Digging the dancing queen.

A story about legs…it has a happy ending, or it will have, because this story is still being told, my healing is ongoing.

Now though, I can dance, I can jive, I AM having the time of my life. Watch this girl as the scenes unfold. I am the dancing queen.

A Story About Legs

Order Medical Medium below.

I am an Amazon Affiliate and may earn a commission on purchases, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for considering making a purchase of this product, or any other items, through my Amazon link! 

Let the Games Begin

This story tonight falls under the category of “blew me away”, otherwise known as playing with the Divine. The references to the Queen chess piece, my confirmed symbol for 2019, just keep pouring in from an endless variety of sources. Something happened today that not only made me laugh with delight, it raised my awareness a notch. I can say with anticipation, Let the games begin.

Let the Games Begin

A new school year began recently, and one of my great joys as a Yaya is to bring lunches to my grandkids and join them in their respective cafeterias throughout the year. Today I visited granddaughter Aubrey at her school, supplying her with a favorite meal from Subway.

Let the Games Begin

The principal at Aubrey’s school is very interactive with the kids. As they eat their lunches, he plays educational games with them, shares fun trivia or allows them to have singing contests. I appreciate that rather than sitting in silence, eating a quick lunch, there’s cheerful chatter that contributes to a fun atmosphere.

As the oldest kids in the school, the 4th graders eat last. While students polished off their lunches, Dr. Barlow wheeled in a laptop on a cart and turned on two large screens mounted in the corners of the cafeteria, which doubles as an auditorium.

Aubrey and I were chatting as she ate, and at first I didn’t realize what the principal was doing. He invited kids to form a line in front of the computer and play a game that everyone could observe on the big screens. The kids were playing an online version of chess!

Let the Games Begin

I’ve been present for many lunches in this school cafeteria over the last few years, and this is the first time I’ve seen chess offered as an interactive game with the children. Aubrey verified this was a new activity. As I watched in amazement, Dr. Barlow launched into a brief explanation of the game. When he mentioned how important the Queen chess piece is, I laughed with delight.

Seeing my granddaughter’s puzzled look I explained to her that the Queen chess piece is my new symbol for next year. We had a conversation about how I am given the word and symbol each year and how they guide me by setting a theme. She may not have completely understood the significance of what was happening, with the unexpected game of chess being played in the cafeteria, but it is important that she sees me being grateful and amazed with how life unfolds. And it is important that she begins to grasp that the Divine is orchestrating it all.

Let the Games Begin

I left the school, still marveling at the creative cleverness I had just experienced and the timing of it all. If I had any lingering doubts about embracing the Queen as my symbol for next year, they have been completely dispelled. In extraordinary and almost unbelievable ways my attention has been directed over and over to the Queen chess piece, and the qualities of queenship.

A few days ago, as I sorted through a box of odds and ends from Greg’s parents’ house, I almost tossed a couple white vintage cruet toppers that did not have cruets to top. They seemed useless. And then, that prompting came to look at them more closely. Turning them over in my hand, I saw it. They resemble chess pieces…specifically, Queen chess pieces. They are the start of a collection that I will surely add to during the next 16 months.

Aubrey asked me if I played chess, and owned a chess set. I no longer own the board and pieces however I do know how to play chess. She would like to learn. I will be purchasing the perfect board and set of chess pieces that represent what’s going on in my life.

Thinking about our conversation today and that online chess game brought a new realization. There is more going on here than being presented with a symbol for next year. The playfulness and creativity is a Divine invitation to join in at a deeper level. The repetitive occurrences are to ensure that I don’t miss the invite.

A little over a year ago, when I asked the Divine, Will you play with me? the immediate response was, Will YOU play with ME?

This is a continuation of that conversation. Next year things are going to get interesting…glory, they already are…and I can’t wait to see what unfolds. Will I play? Oh yes, let the games begin! We will figure out the rules as we go along.

Let the Games Begin

The Disaster Artist

This film, The Disaster Artist, came into my awareness earlier in the year, during the Golden Globes. I had not heard of Tommy Wiseau, who wrote, starred in, directed and produced The Room, a flick called “the best worst movie ever made”.

However, James Franco won the Globe for best actor in a leading role in The Disaster Artist, which is a movie about Tommy creating the terrible film that has gone on to amass a huge cult following. James called Tommy up onto the stage to stand with him as he accepted the award. In those few minutes in the spotlight, I could tell that Tommy was an unusual man. I was intrigued.

I still haven’t seen The Room. However I watched James Franco’s movie by way of Amazon Prime this afternoon.

Movie Review The Disaster Artist

The Disaster Artist stars James Franco, Dave Franco, Seth Rogen, and Ari Graynor. This comedy drama, directed by James Franco, carries an R rating for language, sexuality and nudity, and has a run time of 1 hour and 43 minutes. The film is based on the book, The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, The Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made by Greg Sestero, the actor who helped Tommy create his disasterpiece.

Greg (Dave Franco) meets Tommy (James Franco) in an acting class in San Francisco, in 1998. Greg lacks confidence before an audience, causing him to greatly admire Tommy, who is not only fearless but way, way outside the box in terms of technique.

The two men agree to do scenes together in class, and in the process of practicing lines, they become good friends. Like Greg, Tommy aspires to be an actor and a filmmaker. However, people in the industry don’t “get” Tommy or appreciate his unique acting style.

Movie Review The Disaster Artist

Although he claims to be from New Orleans, Tommy has a heavy Eastern Europe accent, owns property in San Francisco and Los Angeles but won’t divulge how he acquired his wealth, and remains vague about his age. None of that matters to Greg. He appreciates the passion with which Tommy pursues his dreams against overwhelming odds.

Greg and Tommy make a pact to move to Los Angeles and break into the acting industry. Greg begins to date Amber (Graynor), after the two hit it off at a bar, and signs on with a talent agency, but the hoped for roles are scarce. No one will give Tommy a chance. A well known producer tells him, “Just because you want it doesn’t mean it can happen. In a million years it will never happen.”

Movie Review The Disaster Artist

Because they made a pact to help each other succeed, Tommy and Greg decide that if no one will hire them, they will create their own movie. Tommy writes the screenplay for a film he calls The Room. Greg agrees to star in it. It’s obvious the two don’t have a clue what they are doing, however they proceed with enthusiasm as they assemble a production team led by script supervisor Sandy Schklair (Rogen).

A casting call goes out for an actress to play the female lead. The auditions alternate between hilarious and painful to watch, until Tommy at last finds his leading lady, beginning actress Juliette Danielle (Graynor). A 40 day shooting schedule is arranged at a studio that provides all the equipment needed, and filming of The Room begins.

It’s a shared adventure between Greg and Tommy that leaves the other actors and the film crew confused and perplexed. Everyone sees the alarming project through to the end, resulting in an unforgettable premiere.

Movie Review The Disaster Artist Tommy Wiseau with the actual poster he created for his film, which premiered in 2003.

I had no idea what to expect with The Disaster Artist, and no prior knowledge of Tommy and his movie apart from his five minutes on the Golden Globe stage. Remaining open and curious as the story unfolded, I fell in love with this film.

James Franco marvelously captures Tommy’s eccentricities, from his speech patterns and mannerisms to his unabashed excitement over creating a film. And Dave, James’ real-life brother, steps into the role of Greg equally well. The friendship that Greg and Tommy cultivated endured the stresses and rigors of a creative project that no one else believed in, and continues today.

Movie Review The Disaster Artist James Franco on the left, Tommy Wiseau on the right.

Movie Review The Disaster ArtistDave Franco on the left and Greg Sestero on the right.

The Disaster Artist is a brilliant movie about a movie. I laughed, often, at the outrageous boldness of Tommy Wiseau, and just as often I teared up because he so believed in his dream. He didn’t care what anyone else thought or said about him or his film. Instead he moved unwaveringly toward its completion.

Although the movie does not shy away from any aspects of Tommy’s story, it does not ridicule or belittle the man or his beliefs. And I deeply appreciated that. I could not help but cheer Tommy and Greg on. They beat the odds and brought their dreams into reality.

Although The Room, which cost Tommy 6 million dollars to create, only made $1800 its opening weekend, the movie has become a cult classic. It still plays in major cities around the US each year, generating between half a million and a million in revenue for its creator.

After watching The Disaster Artist, I’m glad to know that Tommy’s dream is alive and well and continuing to bring him fame and fortune. I’m inspired by his persistence and his faith in his own abilities. Now if I can just find a way to view his masterpiece, The Room.

Movie Review The Disaster Artist

Searching for Happiness

Several times this week, a simply drawn cartoon popped up in my various social media feeds. One character asks another where she found the object she carries, because he has been searching everywhere for it.

I smiled every time I saw the cartoon, because of the object bearer’s response. My heart and soul resonated with an enthusiastic Yes!

This evening, as I considered topics for today’s blog post, the cartoon, which I mentally titled Searching for Happiness, made the list of possibilities. Just as I looked over my options, a song began to play. I don’t even know what song it was but the word happy caught my attention. I laughed, my decision made.

Searching for Happiness

What is Happiness?

That’s a big question that people have been trying to answer since ancient times. Philosophers, writers, poets, artists, actors, theologians, singers, psychologists and countless others have sought to define what happiness is.

What it is not is just another emotion, or a positive mindset, or a fat bank account. People agree that happinesses is a state of well-being that encompasses living a good life imbued with meaning and purpose. However the road to happinesses is different for everyone, as is the exact meaning. Living my version of happy will look different from yours.

Searching for Happiness

Creating Happiness

What is essential is understanding that happiness cannot be supplied by an outside source. No one can “make” us happy or sustain that state of being for us. What a heavy burden to place on another person. Happiness is something we create for ourselves, and it is sometimes hard won.

The journey to bliss can involve pain, challenges and letting go of past hurts and the need to control people and outcomes. As we grow in awareness, we grow into a happiness that is not dependent on circumstances or what others are thinking, doing or saying.

My personal journey to happiness included facing and defeating fears, embracing my whole heart and accepting who I am, practicing gratitude, seeing the presence of the Divine in everything and recognizing that I am the only one who can create my happiness, which lets everyone else off the hook.

Searching for Happiness

Feeding Happiness

In my state of happiness, there are many ways that I contribute to my sense of well-being. I regularly feed my happiness by doing the things that bring me joy: spending time with family, laughing with grandkids, gardening, traveling, expressing my creativity, cultivating solitary time, watching movies, writing.

Taking care of my health contributes to my happiness, as do ongoing conversations with the Divine, nurturing my dreams and walking alongside other people as they journey. Can I be happy and still experience sadness, anger or disappointment. Yes! Do any of those erode my happiness? No! Happiness is core to my being. No matter what else is going on in my life at the moment, happiness is what I return to. Like those toys from the 1980s, the Weebles, I can wobble and tip off my center, but I won’t fall down and stay there.

Defining Happiness

As I often do, I looked up the etymology of the word happy. It comes from the old English word hap, in the 14th century, which meant “lucky”. The word worked its way into many cultures, however from the Greek to the Irish happy originally conveyed the meaning of being lucky and having good fortune.

Isn’t it interesting that some still perceive happiness as an elusive state of being, and that only the lucky few ever achieve it. How empowering it is to realize that searching for happiness begins with a solitary inward journey, and creating it is the uniquely personal experience called “living our best life”.

Searching for Happiness

Simple Reminder

On full and busy days, I appreciate that I have in place words and images that serve as a simple reminder of who I am and where I am going.

On this Saturday, the first day in a long three day weekend, I spent the majority of my time focused on real estate, clients and contracts. Early this evening I sat alone, locked within a dark and empty office building, talking to another realtor on the phone as I pulled up info online. After the call I needed to email the other agent several documents after we successfully negotiated a contract.

Such routine tasks are common in the life of a realtor. And yet that’s when the magical suddenly intersected the ordinary.

Simple Reminder

I have several google email accounts, also known as gmail. My blogs have email accounts for them, and my real estate emails, documents and correspondence all flow into one created specifically for that purpose.

Gmail requires the use of a password to open up the site. Passwords can be a real challenge for many people, or perhaps I should say remembering passwords can be difficult. Don’t you love the sites that require you to create a password that is at least eight characters long and contains a capital letter, a lower case letter, a number and a symbol?! Sheesh. No wonder we create passwords and then immediately forget them. It’s not surprising that on every site there’s a link that says, Forgot Password?.

Simple Reminder

As I opened up my realtor gmail account, time seemed to slow down for a few seconds. I felt a bit displaced or outside of time. And a still small voice whispered Pay attention here…

Those were Divine nudges or taps on my shoulder. I wasn’t quite sure what I was supposed to be paying attention to! I was simply typing in my gmail account name and my password.

My password.

Several years ago, I learned a beautiful little trick about passwords. A man named Mauricio Estrella wrote an article about how his work password changed his life. Going through a painful divorce at the time, he decided that instead of using a random combination of letters, numbers and symbols for the password he would type every day, he would create something that inspired him.

His idea shifted his outlook and his life. His password? forgive@h3r

I won’t reveal what my exact password is, however I will share that the two words tell a story. Neither word is English. One comes from another Earth language and the other is a made up word from another realm.

Every time I type my gmail password, the story I see is this one: Dearest, darling loved one, let’s go!

My business gmail account doesn’t remind me to work hard, or generate success, or sell more houses. No, my password reminds me that I am invited to join an adventure. It is a reminder that there are places to explore, on inner and outer journeys, and countries to visit, and new experiences to savor.

Tonight, as I tapped in my password, I paid attention, and felt my eyes fill with tears. When I created this password I was not yet where I am today. I had only just begun to travel and see the world. I was only just figuring out who I was and what I was capable of.

Years of typing in that simple reminder daily has shifted my own life, at a subconscious level. I am loved. I am invited. I am reminded that I make the choice to accept the invitation. I receive the simple yet profound reminder that I co-create my reality.

Dearest, darling loved one, let’s go!

Yes…yes! What adventure are we off to next?

Simple Reminder