Movie Review: Black Panther

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Black Panther released in theaters almost a year ago, to the day. My sister Linda and I saw it right after its February 16, 2018 premiere. So why, I’ve asked myself repeatedly, is there not a review for it posted on my blog? I loved this movie. How could I have NOT written a review for this Marvel Universe movie that is among the Best Picture nominated films this year?

I checked back through posts in February and March of 2018….for an answer. And I found the reason. Just after Black Panther released, I began a nine day movie marathon at my local theater, watching all of last year’s nominated films. I viewed the final movie just before the 2018 Academy Awards aired. And that is how this superhero flick slipped past me, review wise. During the nine days of movies, I saw 12 or 13 films, total, with Black Panther being one of those. I’m sure I intended to write up a review later and then just forgot that I had not produced one.

That’s easily rectified. This evening I watched Black Panther again, as a refresher before at last writing a review. I still love this film!

Movie Review Black Panther

Black Panther Cast

This action adventure film stars Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Sterling K. Brown, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker and Andy Serkis. Directed by Ryan Coogler, Black Panther carries a PG-13 rating, for scenes of action and moderate violence, and has a run time of 2 hours and 14 minutes.

Black Panther is nominated for 7 Oscars including Best Picture, Original Score, Best Song for “All the Stars”, Best Costumes and several technical categories.

Movie Review Black Panther

A Prince Becomes King

The film opens with Prince T’Challa (Boseman) learning that his father, King T’Chaka (Brown), has died. Okoye (Gurira), head of the all female fighting force in his country, escorts T’Challa back home to Wakanda. Along the way, they extract T’Challa’s former lover, Nakia (Nyong’o) from an undercover operation that she leads.

Wakanda formed centuries ago, when five warring African tribes squabbled over a meteorite that fell to earth. Made of an alien metal called vibranium, the meteor affects heart shaped herbs growing nearby. When one of the warriors eats the herb, he acquires superhuman abilities. He becomes the first Black Panther, uniting four of the tribes to form the nation of Wakanda. The people of Wakanda use the vibranium to develop highly advanced technology. Fearing people will seek to take what is theirs, the Wakandans isolate themselves from the world, even as they build an astounding city.

T’Challa returns home, reuniting with the former king’s most trusted friend, Zuri (Whitaker),  his mother, Queen Ramonda (Bassett) and sister, Princess Shuri (Wright). Though young, Shuri runs the nation’s technology department. At the kingship ceremony, T’Challa is challenged by the leader of the fifth tribe, the Jabari. M’Baku (Duke) is unsuccessful in overthrowing the prince. T’Challa becomes king and allows M’Baku to live and leave with his tribesmen.

Movie Review Black Panther

A Threat to Wakanda and the World

In London, black-market arms dealer Ulysses Klaue (Serkis) teams up with an ex US black ops soldier, Erik “Killmonger” Stevens (Jordan). Together they steal an ancient Wakandan weapon from a museum. Made of vibranium, Klaue intends to sell the axe to an unknown buyer. T’Challa, Okoye and Nakia wait at the rendezvous site in secret, having been tipped off by T’Challa’s longtime friend, W’Kabi (Kaluuya). W’Kabi lost his parents because of Klaue. He longs for revenge.

The deal goes wrong, when the buyer turns out to be undercover CIA agent Everett Ross (Freeman). The Wakandan axe is recovered. However, Ross is seriously wounded in the ensuing chase and fight. T’Challa and his escorts return to Wakanda with Ross, where Shuri uses her technology skills to save his life.

Meanwhile, Killmonger kills Klaue and journeys to Wakanda himself. Once there he reveals that he is Wakandan…the only son of Prince N’Jobu. Killmonger’s father was brother to the former king. While living  in the US with his young son,  N’Jobu dies by the King’s hand for selling vibranium as a weapon of war. King T’Chaka leaves the boy Erik orphaned, and alone.

Erik challenges T’Challa’s right to the throne and the two battle. T’Challa is wounded and thrown over a waterfall. Assuming he died, Erik becomes king, and the Black Panther. His intentions for Wakanda are less than honorable. His actions threaten the nation, and ultimately the world.

If ever Wakanda needed a good man, with a good heart as their king, it is now.

Movie Review Black Panther

My Thoughts on Black Panther

This is one of my favorite Marvel Universe films. I love the culture of Wakanda. For centuries the people have hidden who they are, to protect themselves and their technology. They fear what the wrong person could do with vibranium. However, the younger Wakandans realize that hiding their light, so to speak, their magnificent gifts, is not the best way to live. The desire to offer help to the world and to make a difference, changes long held beliefs and old perspectives.

Chadwick Boseman is wonderful as the good hearted King T’Challa. He transforms into the Black Panther for the purpose of saving lives, not to terrorize. Another favorite character, for me, is M’Baku, portrayed with humor and a deep sense of honor by Duke.

The storyline and characters tie in with the bigger Marvel Avengers story, which continues this spring with Avengers: End Game.

This is the first time the Academy has nominated a superhero type film for a Best Picture Oscar. Black Panther is a powerful movie with deeper messages. And it has done incredibly well, worldwide. I’m looking forward to seeing how it fares at the Oscars.

Movie Review Black PantherM’Baku, played by Winston Duke. 

Heading to the Oscars

As a reminder, here are the Best Picture nominated films. Click the links to read other reviews.

I have four films left to see this next week, as the Academy Awards air next Sunday night, February 24. This weekend I intend to mark The Favourite off my list and pick up the last three movies during the week.

I love movie award season. It makes my heart sing to see great films and interesting films and off the wall films, and all the people involved who labor to bring these works of art to the big screen, rewarded for creativity.

I’m cheering for Bohemian Rhapsody to capture the big award. However, there are several nominees, including Black Panther, that I’d be thrilled for if they took home the Oscar. I’ll be watching…with eager anticipation.

Movie Review Black Panther

Pick up Black Panther on DVD or rent through Amazon Prime HERE.

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Sending Love to the World

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Valentine’s Day is this week, occurring on Thursday. I don’t personally do anything to celebrate it, beyond messages to family members and friends. However, I am mindful that there are many people who feel alone, sad or depressed on this day. In the past I’ve handed out white roses to strangers or practiced “pay it forward” acts of kindness and generosity.

I woke up this morning from an intriguing dream. As interesting as it was, leaving me with a feeling of expansiveness, I dismissed it at first. However, in the shower, where so many of my profound thoughts are birthed, I looked at the dream again, from a place of awareness and full alertness.

The dream involved sending love to the world.

Sending Love to the World

The Power of Love

This is the dream, simply told:

I ran into a friend, a man I actually know in the waking world, and delighted to see each other, we hugged. In real life, my friend gives marvelous hugs, and when I embrace him, there is great joy. As we laughed and continued the hug, in the dream, an energetic connection sparked between us. Not romantic love. Not passion. This was something bigger and more expansive. This was acceptance and  keen awareness of self and of other.

I felt our energies swirling as they joined and then they exploded, radiating outward from our hearts, in ripples of energy. The cool thing about dreams is that I can see far beyond what I can while awake. I saw those ripples of energy, fueled by the mutual love, respect and appreciation that we have for each other, sweep around the globe…and then outward, into the universe.

Sending Love to the World

The Energy of Love

Thinking about that dream, I recognized the truth there, waiting for me to peer more deeply into it. Everything in our world, everything in the universe, is made of energy…particles and waves of electromagnetic energy that are constantly in motion.

We are energy as well. And our hearts, located at the center of our bodies, generates tremendous energy. That’s why it is so crucial to keep the heart open and unencumbered with old hurts and pains. A wounded heart, a protected heart, isn’t free to send out the incredible energy that it is capable of. We call that powerful energy love.

Love vibrates at the highest energetic frequency, along with joy and gratitude. When our hearts are full of love, we can create greater love, joy, peace, harmony and wellbeing in ourselves and in others.

Thinking these thoughts about energy and then returning to the dream, I asked, aloud…what do I do with this?  The answer? Partner that amazing, powerful energy and my great heart with the focused intention of sending love to the world on Valentine’s Day.

Sending Love to the World

Meditating to Change the World

There are precedents for using meditative energy to effect change in the world.

In one such experiment, 4,000 meditation practitioners from 88 countries gathered in Washington DC in June and July of 1993. Their group goal was to reduce violent crime in the area, by meditating. During the eight weeks that the group met, the rate of assaults, murders, rapes, and other violent crimes decreased by 23%.  As reported in Springer Science & Business Media’s journal, Social Indicators Researchthe statistical odds of that happening by chance were less than two in one billion.

In another study, in the 1970s, 7000 individuals agreed to meditate together, over three weeks, focusing on thoughts of love and peace and then radiating that energy out into the world. Violent crime rates and casualties fell by an average of 16%. Additionally, suicide rates and automobile accidents decreased. And there was a 72% reduction in terrorist activities during the times that the group meditated.

Sending Love to the World

Send Love to the World Meditation

This is what I came up with, for Valentine’s Day. This is my way of sending love to the world. I put together a Send Love to the World meditation.

  • Find a quiet place to sit for a few minutes, without distraction.
  • Sit relaxed, eyes closed, feet flat on the floor.
  • Breathe in slowly and deeply, hold for three seconds, and then release breath just as slowly. Focus on the heart. Take three of four slow deep breaths.
  • While focusing on the heart area, allow all tension to flow out of the body. Move up the body, from the feet to the top of the head, relaxing tense muscles. Pay special attention to the shoulders, neck, face and scalp, as tension gathers here.
  • Keep shoulders relaxed and back, opening the heart area.
  • Continue to breathe, slowly, deeply. Think about joyful, happy experiences. Bring to mind loved ones. Smile.
  • Feel love. Feel joy. Allow the heart to fill with strong, positive emotions.
  • Radiate that powerful energy, from the heart outward into the world. Imagine that energy as beams of light, as sparkling seeds of love, surrounding the globe and falling gently to earth, raining down on people everywhere.
  • Continue sending love to the world, for as long as desired.
  • When ready, count down from 5 to 1. Before opening the eyes, move head, hands and feet. Open eyes, take a deep breath…and smile.

Sending Love to the World

Joining Me in Sending Love to the World

If you have the desire and the time, join me Thursday, in sending love to the world. Use the meditation above, or create your own mediation or prayer. Focus on the heart. And be sure that self love is part of your reality. An empty pitcher cannot fill any glasses. Likewise, a heart empty of love cannot send love to others. It starts with loving yourself, then flows to loving others.

Imagine what we can do together. Imagine love circling the globe from dozens, hundreds, thousands of hearts full of love and joy. I know this…it certainly won’t hurt anything or anyone. Sending out love can only help, for love never fails…and it never returns empty. Imagine going beyond and sending love every day, and not just on Valentine’s Day.

In addition, be love on Valentine’s Day, whether at work or home, running a business meeting or shopping for groceries. As Mother Teresa shared,

“Go out into the world today, and love the people you meet.’

Sending Love to the World

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Movie Review: Mary Poppins Returns

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Mary Poppins, the original movie, changed my young life. I first viewed it at age six and it captivated me. The storyline, characters and music enchanted and inspired. However, it was the way Mary Poppins lived her life that most caught my attention. She was magical and good things happened when she appeared. Here was someone, albeit fictional, who lived a life beyond the ordinary, with confidence and grace.

I wanted to be just like her.

Fifty-five years pass and I’m back in the theater, ready to be captivated all over again, with Mary Poppins Returns. I attended a matinee showing last weekend, accompanied by my sister, two of her granddaughters, my mom, and my great nephew.

Movie Review Mary Poppins Returns

Mary Poppins Returns Cast

This musical fantasy film stars Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh, Joel Dawson, Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Dick Van Dyke and Angela Lansbury. Directed by Rob Marshall, the movie carries a PG rating and has a run time of 2 hours and 10 minutes.

Although Mary Poppins Returns is not among the Best Picture nominees, it is up for four Oscars, including Original Song “The Place Where Lost Things Go”, Original Score, Costume Design and Production Design.

Movie Review Mary Poppins Returns

The Banks Family

In this follow up to Mary Poppins, Michael (Whishaw) and Jane (Mortimer) Banks are grown. Jane, who is not married, carries on her mother’s work in assuring equal rights for women and labor workers.

Life proves more difficult for Michael. A recent widower with three young children, he packs up his art supplies and canvases, and gets a job as a clerk at the bank. Not only does he work at the same bank that his father once did, he lives in the grand old house he grew up in.

The children, twins Annabel (Davies) and John (Saleh) and little brother Georgie (Dawson), have matured beyond their years due to losing their mother and caring for their grieving and distracted father.

Life gets more challenging. Michael falls behind on a home equity loan he secured from the bank. He learns he has five days to pay off the loan in full, or the bank will foreclose on the property. If Michael can find the Certificate of Ownership for shares his father purchased from the bank, the house remains his. If not, he must be moved out by Friday at midnight.

Movie Review Mary Poppins Returns

Mary Poppins Returns

Into this desperate situation, Mary Poppins (Blunt) returns. Georgie snags her on his kite as she floats down from the sky. The nanny immediately meets Jack (Miranda), a London lamp lighter who is assisting Georgie with the wayward kite. Jack remembers Mary Poppins, from his childhood days apprenticing with Bert the chimney sweep.

Mary Poppins escorts the children home, much to the surprise of Michael and Jane who are searching the house for the certificate. The adult Banks siblings are both delighted and confused by their former nanny’s return. Over the years they’ve convinced themselves that their adventures with Mary Poppins never really happened.

With snappy wit, Mary Poppins informs them she’s there to take care of the Banks children…and the young kids too.

Movie Review Mary Poppins Returns

Adventures in London

In brisk fashion, Mary Poppins takes charge. And magic ensues. The young Banks children drop their guard and with relief, enter back into their lost childhood. Their new nanny introduces them to wonders, while restoring order in their lives. Her umbrella talks. Tasks become play. And an antique bowl holds more within it than the kids could ever have imagined.

In the city, Mary Poppins and Jack lead Annabel, John and Georgie through a series of adventures, including meeting Mary’s eccentric cousin, Topsy (Streep) and dancing with a chorus of lamp lighters.

Meanwhile, Michael and Jane meet with the bank president, William Weatherall Wilkins (Firth), hoping he has a copy of George Bank’s shares. Although he seems helpful and sympathetic, the wily Mr. Wilkins is not as he seems.

Time is running out for the Banks Family. Mary Poppins is there to assist Michael, Jane and the children, not to rescue them outright using magic. Her sage advice and timely enchantments open the way for all to turn out well…if Michael can only see and appreciate what is there before him in plain sight.

Movie Review Mary Poppins Returns

What I Loved About Mary Poppins Returns

I experienced such nostalgia during this film. The movie score contains snippets of melodies from the original Mary Poppins movie, which made me smile.  Woven into the story are references to the first movie and for the watchful viewer there are memorable props scattered throughout the scenes.

For the those who have not seen Mary Poppins, this sequel does well as a stand alone movie. The three children with us had not seen the original movie and yet they all loved Mary Poppins Returns. Kaleb, who is seven years old whispered to me, about half way through the movie, “There’s a lot of singing!” It wasn’t a complaint…this kid loved The Greatest Showman…it was merely an observation. The music, the dance numbers, the hand drawn animation sequence combined with live action are all nods to the original, and a fine tribute they are.

Angela Lansbury appears in a cameo as the Balloon Lady. She was approached to play Mary Poppins in the 1964 film, before Julia Andrews took on the role, so this is a nice touch. Karen Dotice, who portrayed Jane as a child makes a brief appearance also.

My favorite cameo appears near the end of the film. Dick Van Dyke, who played Bert in the first film, portrays the retired bank president. This sprightly actor, who was 91 at the time of filming, performs a lively dance atop a desk. I teared up, and not just because he guest stars. His sweet face shines with joy. I checked to see if he actually did the choreography or was it computerized. He did indeed dance, and not the simplest choreography offered to him, but the most difficult. I am beyond impressed and deeply moved by his obvious enjoyment.

Movie Review Mary Poppins Returns

Hand Me an Umbrella

Mary Poppins Returns shines with the magic, the humor, the wisdom, the playfulness of the first film. Adults who have forgotten who they are and what’s important in life get second chances. The extraordinary shows up routinely. And lost things are never really gone. They dwell in our hearts forever. The overall feel of the movie is positive, in a you-create-your-life-with-your-thoughts kind of way. I loved it.

After seeing Mary Poppins, my six year old self grabbed an umbrella, climbed a tree, and hopped onto the roof of my house. Perched there on the edge, umbrella open, I intended to float to earth as Mary did. My guardian angel must have placed a warning hand on my shoulder, because a sudden wave of caution swept through me. I didn’t jump which is good because I would not have floated.

Or perhaps I would have. Nonetheless, the magic and wisdom of Mary Poppins stayed with me and has colored my life brilliantly. I hope she will return again to the big screen, for more adventures.

Movie Review Mary Poppins Returns

Pick up the Mary Poppins DVD, especially if you haven’t seen it. Listen to the Mary Poppins Soundtrack on a free trial of Amazon Unlimited Music here.

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Vision Board Party

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My mom, sister Linda and I meet every Tuesday evening, sharing a meal, working our way through the book Liver Rescueand creating vision boards. It’s been an extended vison board party! As soon as we finish discussing important info about our livers, we clear the table and go into creative mode.

I’ve made vision boards for years. (Check out this one from 2014 and see how my boards have grown with me.) The last few years, the three of us get together and have fun chatting and laughing as we flip through magazines and cut out images and words that appeal to us. The shared experience helps each of us to focus on what we want. And we help each other search for specific pictures or phrases.

In the past, my oldest grandchild, Dayan, joined us and either created a board of his own or sketched while we cut and pasted. This year my youngest grandchild, Aubrey, created her first board.

Join the party!

Vision Board Party

What is a Vision Board?

These visual keepsakes represent what the creator desires. Writing down hopes and dreams in a journal makes them more likely to manifest. Creating a vision board ups the energy by keeping desires foremost in the mind.

A vision board, or dream board, is a collage of images, words, affirmations and phrases that expresses one’s desires. The board serves as inspiration and motivation and should be kept in a highly visible place so it can be easily seen.

Each board is as unique as its creator. We use magazines, that my mom collects all year, and glue sticks to affix the cut out words and pictures to poster boards. My mom’s hint: visit your local recycling center to see if they have magazines you can have for free.

Vision Board Party

Vision Board Party

The fun part, creating these boards as a group effort, is that we bounce ideas off each other and help to search for elusive words, phrases or pictures. I typically bring along a travel magazine, for the specific purpose of cutting out images from different countries I intend to visit. This year, I forgot to bring one.

I mentioned aloud that I needed travel images. Moments later Mom found beautiful pictures in the magazine she was flipping through, of various locations around the world. Perfect. Before that night’s party ended, I had also found the words “travel”, “explore” and the phrase “there are adventures to enjoy”. In a non-travel magazine, I even found a man in a kilt.

When looking through magazines, I suggest moving quickly and cutting out any picture, word or phrase that snags your attention. You can sort through clippings before gluing down, and discard any that don’t “bring you joy’. Clarity comes, in making choices. Often one of us will ask the other, “Do you want this?” Every yes or no sharpens focus. When it is time to glue cut outs to the poster board, the things we most desires are collected right there in neat little piles.

Here are our completed boards.

Vision Board Party

Vision Board Party

Aubrey’s Vision Board

Aubrey created her vison board on a Saturday afternoon, while spending time with me. She expressed the desire to make a board and I happily obliged. We met at Mom’s and the rest of us worked on our own boards while Aubrey looked through magazines. She asked great questions and knew what she wanted, to represent this year. I cut her board down slightly in size, at her request, so she could complete it in a couple of hours.

Aubrey’s word for 2019 is “Strength”, and her board represent her desire to be a young woman who is strong in all areas of her life. She has a deep love for animals, with dogs being her current favorite. Therefore dogs are prominently displayed on her vision board. In fact, the dog just might be her symbol for the year. These playful animals, descended from wolves, symbolize protection, loyalty, unconditional love and bravery. I love those very qualities that Aubrey possesses.

Aubrey has visual reminders to drink more water and eat healthy meals. Every word, image, phrase and symbol mean something to this bright kid. I love her vision board and that she enjoyed making one. The board tells Aubrey’s story…and the story of who she is becoming. I look forward to seeing future boards from this girl.

Vison Board Party

Linda’s Vision Board

Linda has this vision board making thing down. She knows what she wants and she finds it. Her word for 2019 is “Change”.  I noticed that Linda turns her poster board horizontally, which is perfectly fine. It’s something she does without really thinking about it. I’m sure I could find something symbolic about that!

An interesting feature of Linda’s board is the momma giraffe with her baby. Linda said she doesn’t really know why, but she feels drawn to the giraffe.

Well that’s something I CAN interpret.

The giraffe represents a different perspective on life, and the ability to see surroundings clearly, from a high vantage point. Additionally, the giraffe symbolizes self-acceptance and self-love,  important qualities for all of us to have, and perhaps something my sister is consciously or unconsciously drawn to as well. Giraffe reminds us not to waste a moment wishing to be somebody else, and to celebrate our  beautiful uniqueness.

With its long, graceful neck the giraffe encourages us to not be fearful about “sticking our necks out”. “Go after what you want”, this giraffe seems to say. “Pursue your goals and make your dreams reality.” I think Linda chose a symbol for her year, without being fully aware of why she was choosing it. That’s the power in staying open while creating a vision board.

Vision Board Party

Mom’s Vision Board

I love that my mother actively participates in so many of my adventures. She inspires me, truly. Thus, it is very fitting that her word for this year is “Inspire”. Mom inspires others through her example and in the way she lives her life. She continually learns and grows. This lady is not sitting by in her golden years, oh no. She continues to try new things. I love her adventurous spirit.

I also love that Mom, Aubrey and I all ended up with the word “queen” on our boards. We are a family of queens who know what we want and we aren’t afraid to go after our dreams. There is great power in casting forth visions and we three queens are doing just that…together. How precious to me this is.

Mom’s board captures her desire to create a haven in her backyard for birds and butterflies. Perhaps unintentionally, Mom’s symbol for this year appears to be the butterfly. The butterfly symbolizes beauty through transformation and a time of growth and expansion in life. Butterflies also represent playfulness, lightness of being and a free spirit. My mother embodies those qualities.

Vision Board Party

My Vision Board

I say this every year…and I always mean it. I LOVE MY BOARD! They come together beautifully, year after year. As I’ve shared previously, my word for 2019 is “Enchantment”. Try as I might, I could not find the word in any of the magazines I thumbed through. No problem. I created the word by cutting out the individual letters. Remarkably, I was able to accomplish that using two words I found. The rustic look of the word, arcing over a display of flowers, pleases me.

I could not find my symbol, the queen chess piece, either. However, it was easy enough to find the word, and I located a crown as well. Read about queen symbolism, for me, here.

I’m a bit of a vison board snob. All of the poster board must be covered. Gluing down the cut outs becomes a process similar to working a jigsaw puzzle. I lay out the pieces and move them around until they come together and I’m happy with the result. Then I start at the bottom and glue down each cut out.

Travel pictures and words dominate my board, as that is one of my greatest desires at this time. The typewriter represents writing/blogging. My board tells a story. It captures where I am, at this moment, and the direction I am heading.

My vision board is already hanging in my creative studio, where I can look at it frequently throughout the day.

Create Your Own Vision Board

Vision boards are easy and fun to do. A few tips:

  • Collect magazines, publications or picture books throughout the year. It’s okay too to use markers, coloring pencils or pens to draw designs and write words.
  • If specific pictures can’t be located, print out photos from the computer.
  • Add your own photo, if desired. I’ve done this several times. I’ve also added family members to my boards.
  • Purchase glue sticks during back to school sales. They are incredibly cheap then. Poster boards often end up on sale too. We use  14″x22″ acid free boards, that come in a package of 5. Don’t want to gather all the stuff? Order a Vision Board Kit.
  • Feel free to add other elements, such as fabric, scrapbook cut outs, buttons, whatever makes your heart sing.
  • Gather friends or family members and do this as a group project. It’s a fun way to dream together and encourage one another. Create a party atmosphere.
  • Hang completed vision board up and look at it daily. Feel the emotions attached to the images and words. How we feel about something is as important as what we think.
  • Most importantly…have fun. This is your board. It is a reflection of you.

I’d love to see your vision board, if you create one. Please share it with me!

Vision Board Party

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Wearing My Heart on My Sleeve

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I have not been one for wearing my heart on my sleeve. However, when listening to the song Ever, Ever After from the Enchanted Soundtrack, one phrase caught my attention.

“Start a new fashion, wear your heart on your sleeve.”

I heard within those words an invitation that ultimately, I could not ignore. Ever, Ever After became my song for this year, and for good reason. I have much to learn from it.

Wearing My Heart on My Sleeve

What does it mean, wearing my heart on my sleeve?

Wearing one’s heart on one’s sleeve means openly showing feelings and emotions, rather than keeping them hidden away. Because being open about feelings brings with it vulnerability and exposure, there is much debate on whether this is a good practice or not!

Those who have been hurt in love tend to hide away their hearts, to protect them from further pain. Exposing the heart again, after heartbreak, feels too risky.

Dwelling on those particular lyrics from the song, curiosity led me to Google, to see how the phrase came to be.

The words were first expressed in Shakespeare’s play, Othello, spoken by Iago. He says showing his feelings would be like wearing his heart on his sleeve, where birds could peck at it. In other words, to be open with his feelings could cause him to come under painful attack. Most of us understand his concern.

Wearing My Heart on My Sleeve

Why are we afraid to wear our hearts on our sleeves?

Simply expressed, we are afraid of getting hurt, especially where love is concerned. A person loves another. That other person loves someone else. That hurts. A person gathers the courage to tell someone “I love you”. The other person says “It’s just a game to me”. More hurt. People fall in love. They change over time and their love changes too. Suddenly those people no longer know each other.

We protect that which has been hurt. A broken heart is easier to tend to, we think, than staying open with our feelings and risking further pain.

It’s the second oldest pain in the world…unreciprocated love…right behind experiencing loss. A major reoccurring theme in stories and songs, from the beginning of time, is being hurt in pursuit of love or by those we love.

Consider wearing my heart on my sleeve? No, I protected my heart. Like many people, the path of love hasn’t been easy for me to navigate. And in addition, I learned to hide my emotions while still a child. For years my heart stayed barricaded behind a thick wall of protection.

Opening my Heart

And yet…. I’ve learned that keeping my heart shut away keeps other vital parts of myself locked away as well. Reading Michael A. Singer’s book, The Untethered Soul, helped me to understand how a closed heart has energy that circles around and around without being able to pass through the body in a healthy way.

A closed heart can’t feel fully, due to fear. A closed off heart reacts to fresh experiences that trigger old pain. I chose, six years ago, to open up my heart, let emotions flow, and feel again. This has not been an overnight transformation. It is a journey that continues. Which is why the song Ever, Ever After came to me.

Wearing My Heart on My Sleeve

True Love’s Kiss

In my song for 2019, there are lyrics that are sung in the background, that I initially reacted to. In fact, when I shared the song in the blog post linked up above, I purposefully avoided mentioning them. Why? I didn’t like them.

“I’ve been dreaming of a true love’s kiss.”

I left the words out of my blog post and I didn’t like them because they don’t apply to me. I’m not dreaming of a true love’s kiss. Far from it.

However, thinking about wearing my heart on my sleeve, thinking about this song, brought realizations.

Often, in fairy tales and enchanted stories, a true love’s kiss awakens one who is sleeping. Ah. On some level, all of us long to be awakened by such a kiss.

I spent years “sleeping” and dreaming. And I have kissed myself awake, with the truest and deepest of love. My dreaming drew me toward living a bigger life and finally I woke myself up, with the help of authors and speakers and individuals whose words, action and lives inspired me. A dozen tiny kisses helped me to rise from my slumber. Yet the truest of kisses came from my own growing awareness.

Wearing My Heart on My Sleeve

I’m taking this song seriously. Wearing my heart on my sleeve means keeping my heart open and expressing my feelings and my emotions freely. It means being vulnerable. I refuse to hide. And I will not allow my heart to close, for any reason.

Imagine the heavy burden that the world carries, at an energetic level, from thousands of years of pain birthed from the messiness of love…and from loss. Imagine the burden the human heart bears. Tucked away within each heart, pain strengthens the wall erected to keep hurt away. The problem is, that wall keeps out joy as well. That pain is restless and stirs when something triggers old hurts. It’s time for the barricades to come down.

And imagine if more and more people released old painful energy and freed their hearts to love more fully. What would that do for their lives? What would that do for the world?

Wearing my heart on my sleeve is an act of courage for me. It is a risk I am willing to take. Will I get hurt? Possibly. Will my heart expand and fill with incredible joy and light? Definitely.

A Visual Reminder

My daughter-in-law designs and sells shirts. What a great visual reminder of the truth I am living out.  I’ll have MiliLou Styles create a shirt, with a heart on the left sleeve and these words across the front…

I am wearing my heart on my sleeve.

Are you dreaming of a true love’s kiss? Are you ready to wake up? Or perhaps you are already wearing your heart on your sleeve.

Wearing My Heart on My Sleeve

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Movie Review: Roma

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Award season for the film industry is well underway. The announcement of the Best Picture nominated movies sets the stage for this year’s Academy Awards, scheduled to air Sunday, February 24.

Here are the nominees:

For the first time in many years, I have already seen half of the nominees. Previous reviews are linked above to those films, although I just discovered that I failed to post a review for Black Panther. Fortunately, I’ll have an opportunity to rectify that!

Up for review tonight is Roma, a foreign language film out of Mexico.

Movie Review Roma

Roma Cast

Roma stars Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira, Marco Graf, Nancy Garcia, Fernando Grediaga and Jorge Antonio Guerrero. This drama, written and directed by Alfonso Cuaron, carries an R rating, for language and a graphic nudity scene, and has a run time of 2 hours and 15 minutes. This Netflix movie is in Spanish, with English subtitles.

Roma is nominated for 10 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Foreign Language Film, Best Actress for Yalitza, Best Supporting Actress for de Tavira, and a host of technical awards.

Movie Review Roma

Movie Review: Roma

Set in 1970s Mexico City, in the Colonia Roma neighborhood, this film tells the story of a domestic worker, Cleo (Yalitza), who works for an upper middle class family. Cleo, and the other housekeeper, Adele (Garcia) clean house, cook, run errands and care for the family’s four children. Cleo is especially close to the youngest son, Pepe (Graf).

Both of the young women live in the family complex, sharing an upstairs room across the courtyard. Their tasks are often menial and their days are long. However, there is a genuine bond of affection between the family members and the hardworking girls.

When tension between the couple, Sofia (de Tavira) and Antonio (Grediaga), escalates, Antonio moves out. His departure frightens Sofia at first, and then frees her to begin to build a different life.

Amid caring for the children and scooping up dog poop and washing countless dishes, Cleo dates a young man, Fermin (Guerrero). However, their relationship seems destined to follow the same path as her employers. Fermin leaves when he learns Cleo is pregnant.

In this slice of life film, the story unfolds, in stops and starts, over the course of a year, with unrest in Mexico City providing the backdrop. The women in the story, Sofia and Cleo, must find their places in the new world they find themselves thrust into. They must discover who they are and in doing so, create a stronger future for the children.

Movie Review Roma

My Thoughts on Roma

I found Roma to be an intriguing film. Shot in black and white, the cinematography is beautiful with interesting angles and camera positions. The focus is on Cleo, who represents a woman named Libo, who raised Alfonso Cuaron, in the Colonia Roma suburb of Mexico City. This isn’t his story though. It is hers, making this movie a touching tribute to Libo.

Roma isn’t an action packed movie filled with special effects. Rather it explores relationships and the bonds that can form between people with vastly different backgrounds. Cleo’s family is from a poor rural village. Sofia has known no lack, financially, however her marriage does not turn out the way she imagined it would.

Some will feel impatient with the movie’s slower pace. However, for me it feels just right. The scenes allow for immersion into the story and, most importantly, to form a bond as well with these women.

Movie Review Roma

My Predictions for Roma

Roma has already done well in early award shows, picking up Golden Globes for Best Director for Cuaron and Best Foreign Film. It is the type of artsy-yet-gritty film that the Academy loves, fresh and imaginative with an intimacy that draws the viewer in.  Roma offers an unapologetic peek into the personal life of Cleo, and to a lesser extent, into Sofia’s.

With 10 nominations, I expect Roma to do well at the Oscars. Will it take home the top award, for Best Picture? I’m not sure, with the strength Bohemian Rhapsody has gathered at the recent award shows. Best Director is almost a sure thing for this film, along with Best Foreign Film. I’ll be watching to see just how far Alfonso Cuaron can take his latest masterpiece.

Movie Review Roma

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