Movie Review: Captain Marvel

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Captain Marvel released as the 21st film offered in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The superhero movies are all based on characters that appear in Marvel Comics. This body of work, which began in 2007 and has 10 more films in production, is the highest grossing film franchise of all time.

I’ve seen every film, with the exception of Ant-Man and the Wasp, which is on my watch list. I love superhero movies, having immersed myself in Marvel and DC comics as a young girl. Watching these larger than life characters on the big screen delights the child in me.

My sister Linda and I caught Captain Marvel yesterday, during a matinee showing.

Movie Review Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel Cast

This action adventure film stars Brie Larson, Samuel L Jackson, Jude Law, Ben Mendelsohn, Annette Bening, Lashana Lynch, Clark Gregg and Akira Akbar. Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck share directing credit. Captain Marvel carries a PG-13 rating, for mild language and intense action scenes, and has a run time of 2 hours and 4 minutes.

Movie Review Captain Marvel

From Kree to Earth

In 1995, on the Kree Empire planet of Hala, Starforce member Vers (Larson) awakes from a nightmare. The recurring dream involves watching an older woman shot.

Troubled, Vers works through her unsettled state by sparring with her mentor and commander, Yon-Rogg (Law). He warns her that she must learn to control her emotions, as they trigger her extraordinary abilities. Vers later meets with an artificial intelligence called the Supreme Intelligence (Bening), who also urges her to keep her emotions in check. The Supreme Intelligence sends Vers on her first mission, to rescue an undercover spy.

The rescue attempt goes awry and Vers is abducted by the Skrull, a race of shapeshifters who are at war with the Kree. Talos (Mendelsohn), a Skrull leader, interrogates Vers, sorting through her memories. He focuses in on the nightmares and the woman who is fatally shot.

Angered, Vers surges energy through her bound hands, breaking free. She easily overpowers every Skrull on the ship and escapes on a pod, falling toward Planet Earth. Vers’ pod disintegrates as it enters the atmosphere, and she plummets, falling through the roof of a Blockbuster Video Store.

S.H.I.E.L.D. agents Nick Fury (Jackson) and Phil Coulson (Gregg) investigate. They quickly learn there’s more to the case than a woman breaking into a store. The Skrull, who can appear as anyone they see, arrive on Earth as well.

Movie Review Captain Marvel

Movie Review Captain Marvel

Who is Vers?

Pursued by Talos, Vers teams up with Fury to discover why Earth is targeted by the Skrull. Vers learns she lived another life on Earth, that of a test pilot, Carol Danvers. She supposedly died six years earlier, while flying an experimental aircraft with a light speed engine. The person who designed the engine, Wendy Lawson (also Bening) is the woman from Vers’ nightmares.

Carol meets with her former best friend, Maria (Lynch), another test pilot. Maria and her spirited young daughter Monica (Akbar) help Carol piece together the fragments of her past. Talos tracks Fury and Carol to Maria’s house. Rather than attacking her, he tells Carol the rest of her story….and she remembers. The experimental aircraft, carrying her and Wendy, was shot down. Her commander, Yon-Rogg, killed Wendy.

Rather than allow the Kree to take the light speed engine, Carol destroyed the aircraft. The exploding energy core that powered the engine transformed Carol and wiped her memory. Her new name, Vers, came from her broken dog tag. Yon-Rogg took her back to Kree, telling Carol it was her home world.

Carol’s whole universe is upended. She remembers who she is…or was, rather, since she is a new being, with incredible power. The people who appeared as enemies are allies instead. And the one who trained her, mentored her, lied to her and used her. Both groups seek Wendy’s lab and a remarkable source of power hidden there. Carol must discover who she is now, where she belongs, and how to use the abilities she’s been given.

Movie Review Captain Marvel

My Thoughts About Captain Marvel

This film is an excellent installment in the BIG unfolding story in the Marvel Universe. I loved it. Captain Marvel, who never actually goes by that name, plays a key role in the upcoming Avengers: Endgame film that releases next month.

Carol’s story is a powerful one, and not just because she single handedly ended a long war between alien races. She is powerful because every time she gets knocked down, every time someone questions her abilities, she gets up. She gets up and proves her strength and capabilities to herself first, and then to others. Captain Marvel, with its strong and likable female lead, is a great movie to take young daughters and granddaughters to.

Jackson and Gregg are digitally de-aged in this film, to play their characters at the proper age…and it works. I enjoyed learning more about Nick Fury especially, including how he comes to wear an eye patch. And as with all Marvel films, there is ample humor scattered strategically throughout the storyline. Goose, a cat that Fury and Carol pick up, steals every scene she is in…and plays a small but significant role in the film.

Movie Review Captain Marvel

Ready for Avengers: Endgame

With Captain Marvel watched, and Ant-Man and the Wasp in the queue, I’m ready for the biggest film yet in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The last Avenger film, Infinity War, shocked audiences and left us all hanging. Theories and speculations abound about the upcoming film, however, I’m avoiding all that. Instead, I’ll be there in the theater when Endgame premieres, watching the conclusion to this 12 year long epic tale.

Stan Lee, the primary creative leader of the Marvel Universe, recently passed away. In each Marvel film, he plays a small part, a cameo role. He filmed his cameo in Captain Marvel before his death.

At the beginning of Marvel films, the opening sequence features various Avenger characters. For Captain Marvel, scenes of Stan’s past cameos replace the superheroes. The words THANK YOU STAN appear across the screen.

Thank you indeed, Stan Lee, for creating such an expansive universe, full of intriguing and inspiring characters. What a legacy you created.

Movie Review Captain Marvel

Check out my list of MCU films, in chronological order, story wise.

Catch Avengers: Infinity War HERE before Endgame releases in April.

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I Am an EntrHERpreneur

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By definition, an entrepreneur organizes and manages an enterprise, especially a business, with considerable initiative and risk.

Until recently, I didn’t see  myself as an entrepreneur even though as a realtor I’m considered an independent contractor. I certainly know realtors who exhibit all the characteristics of entrepreneurship, showing initiative and taking risks. I don’t place myself in that category.

Six months ago, my “side hustle” writing blogs shifted in importance to me. I love writing, and blogging in particular. The potential and opportunities with this form of communicating are huge. I made the commitment in January this year to devote time and energy, in all its many forms, to growing my passion into a thriving business.

Two and a half months later, I find I’ve never worked harder, or longer hours, in my life! I’m learning, and growing my reach, and connecting with others…and loving it all.

Occasionally, after a short night’s sleep and a long day working online, I’ll check in with the Divine, to make sure I’m still on track with birthing my dreams. I scare myself sometimes, with the intensity of my desires. So I’m not beyond asking for a Divine sign that I’m heading in the right direction…a marker that shows I haven’t strayed off the path.

This story is the most recent thumbs up to my journey. It showed me I am an entrHERpreneur.

I Am an EntrHERpreneur

Encouragement, Please

On this particular day, tired from lack of sleep, busy on the computer, I half heartedly asked the Divine for some encouragement. Do you do this? Daily I have ongoing conversations with the Divine. I don’t mind asking for what I need.

Part of my daily business building strategy is extending my reach on social media. I happened to be on Instagram, connecting with people, liking posts and commenting, when I came across a page called Simply Chaffon.

I follow the page. She follows me. Engaging by liking several of the page’s posts, I lingered over a photo of a women’s t shirt with ENTRHERPRENEUR written across the front. That shirt caught my interest, as a “her” entering into the world of entrepreneurialism. That shirt shifted something around my heart.

Looking beneath the photo at the accompanying text, I saw the word GIVEAWAY. I brightened. Why not try? I simply had to comment with my business page on Instagram. Even if I didn’t win, the shirt served its purpose. I felt inspired…and yes, encouraged.

A few days later I received a message from Chaffon. I won!

I Am an EntrHERpreneur

Simply Chaffon

Tucked into the package containing my t shirt, I found a lovely note from Chaffon. Reading it, I felt more inspired.

Simply Chaffon offers inspirational and motivational shirts through their Etsy Store, Simply Chaffon Designs.

Their desire is to change the narratives for millions of foster children who too often grow up without celebrating their birthdays. Proceeds from the sales of their affirmation and empowerment tees are donated to provide birthday celebrations for children in foster care.

Simply Chaffon believes in FOSTERING WISHES, because all children, regardless of their circumstances and situations, deserve to be celebrated.

How beautiful is that?

I Am an EntrHERpreneur

I Am an EntrHERpreneur

Among entrepreneurs worldwide, one third of those are women. These women are changing their corners of the world…and beyond…by taking initiative and accepting risks.

True entrepreneurialism is more than that even. Entrepreneurs offer a solution to a problem. Through inventions, songs, companies, t shirts, books and blogs women are saying, “let me help you with that, let me come alongside”. They offer from creative minds and wide open hearts. They offer encouragement to their sisters as well.

I’m excited to own an entrHERpreneur shirt. I’ll wear it proudly and remember that this is me. I am an entrHERpreneur. My desire is to offer solutions to those with chronic pain or health problems, through Journey With Healthy Me. And through this blog, my intentions are to inspire and encourage, and to offer fresh perspectives to those who are ready for change, who want to see the world with enchanted eyes and embrace new experiences with wide open arms.

Thank you Simply Chaffon, for offering encouragement on a day when I asked for it. And thank you, most sincerely, for the difference you are making in the lives of children.

I Am an EntrHERpreneur

 

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A Small Place of Enchantment

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In January, I came across a quote about enchantment that I love.

“I do not know how anyone can live without some small place of enchantment to turn to.”   Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

I’ve looked at those words multiple times, since discovering them, waiting for the right moment to share them, to connect their truth to my story this year.

A couple of days ago, the opportunity presented itself.

A Small Place of Enchantment

Heimat: A Place of Belonging

Reading in a colleague’s blog a couple of days ago, I came across a word I did not know…heimat. German in origin, the word doesn’t have an exact English equivalent. However heimat conveys the idea of a “place towards which one has a sense of belonging and a deep rooted fondness”. It’s a place where one feels at home, for whatever reason. (Read Gabby’s post HERE.)

I felt charmed…enchanted actually…by this new found word. And suddenly, the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings quote popped into my mind. Ahhh. I connected this German word to her words and also understood the wistfulness I experience when reading her quote and researching the word heimat.

My soul is drawn to the idea of dwelling in a place that resonates with me, manifesting a deep sense of belonging and fondness. Like Marjorie, a small place of enchantment to turn to is vital for me.

A Small Place of EnchantmentI will never be too old for a bohemian tent in the garden. 

Childhood Places of Enchantment

I’ve always searched for a small place of enchantment to turn to. As a child, those places existed outdoors primarily. The branches of a leafy tree, the landing atop a fire escape at the neighborhood church, the neighbor’s tiny fenced in area covered with honeysuckle vines, the big rounded bush in my backyard all offered spaces where I tucked myself away, for hours at a time.

Thinking about it now, I realize I roamed rather freely throughout my neighborhood as a child! Some might even call my actions trespassing. Yet no one ever ran me off. The neighbor’s fenced area became my Secret Garden. The church’s fire escape offered a grand view of the neighborhood while providing me solitude and a place to daydream.

When weather kept me indoors, I created blanket tents to crawl into, or simply sat with a book and a flashlight in my closet.

For me, enchantment equaled intimacy and solitude and nature.

As an adult, it still does.

A Small Place of EnchantmentCreating a small place of enchantment as an adult…my backyard garden.

Small Places of Enchantment as an Adult

I didn’t outgrow my desire to secret myself away.

As an adult my small places of enchantment are still found primarily outside. A rocky outcropping in the woods, a grassy bank near a gurgling brook and beautiful gardens all create in me that sense of heimat, of belonging.

I transformed my backyard into a personal paradise, with intimate spots to sit and reflect. In fact, inspired by the Secret Garden of my childhood, a corner of my garden is sectioned off, with clematis vines clinging to the repurposed metal panels. It’s a quiet space to meditate or read or enjoy a cup of tea while surrounded by peace and beauty.

Indoors my creative studio serves as a small place of enchantment. The walls and surfaces hold reminders of who I am and what I love. The six windows allow light to flood the space and also offer views of the backyard garden.

And Edinburgh, Scotland, an ancient sprawling city, inspires heimat in me as well, and ranks as one of my favorite places in all the world. The enchantment factor is high in Edinburgh, which helps to explain why the city draws me so, why I feel at home there.

A Small Place of EnchantmentLooking up toward Edinburgh Castle, past a picturesque church, in Edinburgh Scotland.

Clues to Creating a Small Place of Enchantment

Perhaps you’d like to create your own small place of enchantment, if you don’t have one already. Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, author of The Yearling, captured the magic of her childhood by creating an enchanted farm in central Florida.

And therein lies the first clue to creating a small place of enchantment…childhood.

Where were you drawn to, as a child? Outdoors? Indoors? What locations became your favorite hangouts?

Did you prefer solitude, the company of a few friends, or partying with a crowd?

When outdoors, were you drawn to trees, water, mountains or desert? Did wide open spaces or secret places, hidden away, resonate with you?

Using the answers to these questions, think about where you live now. Are there spaces that you wander into, when you need time to think, or relax? What places inspire heimat and that deep sense of belonging?

Armed with this knowledge, consider how you can create an environment, within these enchanted spaces, that support you and inspire you. This is your special place. Let it be a reflection of who you are.

A Small Place of EnchantmentMy favorite indoor space…my creative studio.

A Small Place of Enchantment

I realize my long held desire to create a garden sprang from a deeper longing to return to the magic of my childhood. Fondness and a sense of belonging and creativity, intimacy and beauty all combine in this space.

It’s why I have a tiny Secret Garden and why honeysuckle grows on a trellis near my front porch. My DIY bohemian tent on the brick patio provides a place to hide away for an evening, while offering the grown up pleasures of candles and tea time.

This small place of enchantment is a balm to my soul, easing weariness and quieting busyness, sparking creativity and inspiring courage. I need to fall under such a spell frequently. It’s here that I joyfully reconnect with who I am and what’s important in my life. It is here that I simply am.

A Small Place of EnchantmentMy Secret Garden spot, with clematis instead of honeysuckle.

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FoodCubby Review

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FoodCubby sent me this product for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Several years ago, I sat with my aunt during lunch at an assisted care facility. Recovering from a stroke, my dear aunt struggled with her spoon as she scooped the bland food from plate to mouth. Ultimately, I took over with the spoon, and we chatted as she allowed me to feed her.

At the time, I wondered if products existed that simplified the eating process for those recovering from illnesses or who found using utensils a challenge.

Fast forward to today, and the answer is yes! FoodCubby graciously supplied me with a couple of sets of their unique product. Recently my mom and I tried them out, during our weekly dinner together.

This is my FoodCubby Review, with my honest opinions.

FoodCubby Review

What is a FoodCubby?

A FoodCubby is a silicone food divider that attaches by way of suction to a flat plate. Available in bright green or orange, a packaged set includes a larger and smaller divider, allowing the diner to customize her plate.

The silicone pieces are food safe, BPA and phthalate free and dishwasher safe, up to 300 degrees.

To use, wash and rinse the divider. Leaving slightly damp, press the divider firmly onto a clean, dry, flat plate. That’s it. Use two dividers, to create four spaces for food, or one to divide the plate in two.

The dividers clean up easily after use and tote well to restaurants or to a friend’s house.

FoodCubby Review

Why Use a FoodCubby?

Uses for this ingenious product include:

Keeps foods separated, for those who do not like for their food to touch. This is especially common among children, however, some adults don’t like for their food to run together or touch. The FoodCubby is a simple way to keep foods apart.

Runny foods, such as gravies, sauces and juicy foods, are contained. They don’t “water down” regular foods.

Use a FoodCubby to push food onto a spoon or fork, without using fingers.

Ease the process of eating for toddlers who are just beginning to feed themselves, using utensils.

Ease the process of eating for adults who have had a stroke or struggle due to Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s or other disorders that affect motor skills.

Use a FoodCubby for portion control. Each cubby holds 1/2 cup of food within its edges.

Eliminates the need for divided plates, which are bulkier to store.

FoodCubby Review

My Experience with a FoodCubby

Mom and I each secured a large FoodCubby and a small one to our plates. We added two portions of stir fried veggies. We had plenty of space to add rice or a salad, if we’d prepared those.

I chose the bright green FoodCubby set, while Mom opted for orange. My sister and stepdad joined us for dinner and observed our experiment.

With the FoodCubby to push food against, it was very simple to scoop food onto my fork. My mom remarked several times that she didn’t use her fingers at all!

Typically, that’s a real dilemma. As food disappears, it becomes more difficult to get what’s left of the meal onto the fork, without using fingers or a hot roll or picking up a knife. With the FoodCubby, a secure edge was so convenient.

I can readily see how this product would benefit a child or an older adult that needs a little help. FoodCubbies offer a sense of independence for those who might otherwise require assistance. And those bright colors are fun!

After dinner each FoodCubby popped up when  we lifted the tabs on the corners. Clean up was a snap and they were ready to use again.

I imagined taking the dividers to a restaurant, so that an older adult or a young child could eat without help, preserving sense of self and independence.

FoodCubby Review

Order a Food Cubby Set

I can highly recommend this fun and useful product. It makes a great gift for children and adults alike.

Check out the company’s website, FoodCubby. Order your sets through their site. Or order through Amazon, in GREEN or ORANGE.

My sweet aunt comes to mind, when I use FoodCubby. She’s passed on, no longer in need of any kind of assistance. However, I think she would have laughed over the bright colors and the novel idea…and happily picked up her spoon to try it out.

FoodCubby Review

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program is designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

Mystery Blogger Award

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I am honored to receive another award. Thank you to the blogging friend who nominated me, Ramae, owner of the blog Incurable Blessings. With transparency, beauty and hope, Ramae shares her journey that began after an incurable illness diagnosis. Encourage her by checking out her blog, linked above.

The Mystery Blogger Award, created by Okoto Enigma, brings attention and recognition to blogs that may not otherwise be discovered. According to Enigma, the Mystery Blogger Award is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blogs not only captivate, they inspire and motivate. They are among the best out there and they deserve every recognition. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging and do so with love and passion.

Mystery Blogger Award

What are the Mystery Blogger Award Rules?

  • Place the award logo on your blog.
  • List the award’s rules.
  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Link to the blog of the person who nominated you.
  • Mention the creator of the award and link to the award post.
  • State three random facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 10 – 20 bloggers for the Mystery Blogger Award.
  • Ask your nominees five questions of your choosing.
  • Share a link to your best blog post.

Mystery Blogger AwardThree Facts About Me

I’m going to do something a bit different here…and link my three facts about me together. The reason will become apparent when I answer one of the five questions in the next section.

  1. In the book Sacred Romance, author John Eldredge shares that each of us possesses a unique soul name. I carefully considered what mine might be. I asked the Divine repeatedly, “What’s my soul name?” For three weeks, I kept hearing the word “mithril” in my head. I knew this shiny silver metal plays a key role in the Lord of the Rings stories. Finally I watched The Fellowship of the Ring film again, where mithril is first mentioned.
  2. In the scene, Gandalf leads the way through the Mine of Moria. Danger lurks in the shadows. Gandalf allows a small amount of light to illuminate the Fellowship’s path, saying, “Let us hope that our presence goes unnoticed.” I watched that scene, over and over. I recognized that I’d lived my life like that, barely allowing my light to shine, hoping my presence would go unnoticed, for a variety of invalid reasons.
  3. As the group cautiously creeps through the dark, they pause near a mine shaft. Gandalf allows the light from his staff to brighten, striking mithril that is glittering in the mine. Mithril is lightweight and very strong. When combined with other metals it creates a very protective armor. And it’s value is extremely high. Gandalf shares that Bilbo possessed a mithril shirt…and that its value was worth more than the whole shire. Mithril…the word that kept popping up in my mind, hidden in darkness until it is mined, strong, protective, valuable, shiny and silver. Mithril…my soul name…given to me through Divine inspiration.

Mystery Blogger Award Mithril

My Answers to Ramae’s Questions

  1. What is the story behind the name of your blog?  Blogging began as accountability for my desire to write daily. Needing a purpose and a theme, I found it through author Lu Ann Cahn, who spent a year experiencing something new every day. I adopted that idea. I chose the name Cindy Goes Beyond because trying something new, daily, provided opportunities to move beyond limitations, old beliefs and comfort zones, while also propelling me beyond my boundaries.
  2. If you could do it over again, is there anything you would do differently with your blog? Yes. With a do over, I’d more quickly connect with other bloggers and take educational courses sooner. I tend to be a loner, figuring things out as I go. It’s been a joy to enter into community with other bloggers and learn from them.
  3. What energizes and inspires you the most in life? Being who I’m meant to be in the great Flow of Life, energizes and inspires me. When I’m open to receive, creativity flowing and awareness high, and I’m doing what I love…I’m in my element and full of joy, passion, love and hope for a bright, magnificent future.
  4. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? Eleven years ago, Coach Mark Semple told me, “Step up into the Mithril shaped space created for you…and occupy it fully.” I’d shared with him the story above. His invitation helped me to accept who I am, with all my gifts, quirks and unique characteristics. I didn’t immediately occupy that Mithril shaped space, however I began to, more and more. I inhabit it now, most of the time. Second best? A recent Divine conversation that I woke up having…”Do you want to be a pawn in someone else’s kingdom…or Queen of your own Kingdom?” My answer to that question is shaping this year. I am Mithril, Queen of my own Kingdom!
  5. Who was your favorite teacher and why? Mrs. Cathey, fourth grade, holds that honor. Her love and acceptance of her students impacted my young life profoundly. She laughed and played games, making learning fun and interactive. Mrs. Cathey taught me much more than math, reading and social studies. She taught me to view life differently and see the magic in it.

Mystery Blogger Award

My Best Blog Post

My post with the most views: Growing Clematis Babies    This fun gardening post has had more than 15,000 views and continues to pull in visitors daily. On Pinterest the post boasts 36,000 views…and growing.

My Nominees for the Mystery Blogger Award

One Exceptional Life  Wendy lost both hands and both feet in 2011. After years of wondering what to do with her life, she began an inspiring blog with a new sense of purpose. It features her story, adventures and how she’s overcome challenges.

Ai Love Music  Amy shares her deep passion for music on her blog, along with her vast knowledge about artists and a variety of musical styles.

Born to Be Boomers  Tricia left the corporate world to pursue things she’s passionate about. Her delightful blog is a lifestyle site for the over 50 crowd.

Teaching Wounded Angels to Fly  Alexandra writes, with whimsy and passion, about raising three rambunctious boys that she fostered and then adopted.

Flower Power  Liza is an outdoor enthusiast who writes fun and informative posts about improving mental and physical health.

Be Healthy Be Happy Wellness  Pam loves cherishing each day and shares her adventures as she helps others to live happier, healthier lives.

Ginger Rosemary and Time   Yvonne shares her passions for cooking and baking, traveling, saving money and learning something new every day.

Fluxing Well  Lisa’s passion is finding and sharing reliable information for navigating everyday situations. She approaches life with creativity and flexibility and the desire to experience new things.

Tom Teaches Physics  Tom’s passion is, you guessed it, physics! As a teacher he feels this subject deserves a fresh perspective…and introduces new, and fun, ways to learn.

Winds of Jane  Jane shares her passion for adventures and traveling. She’s visited 46 countries in the last 20 years!

Mystery Blogger Award

Five Questions for My Mystery Blogger Award Nominees

  1. What do you love most, about blogging?
  2. If you won a free two week vacation, to anywhere in the world, where would you go?
  3. Who has influenced your life the most?
  4. Do you have a favorite movie? Why is it your favorite?
  5. What’s the craziest want-to-do item on your bucket list?

Once again, I am honored to receive the Mystery Blogger Award, which is a heartwarming form of encouragement and recognition from a colleague. I’m equally honored to pass it on to other fine bloggers.

This journey, and those journeying with me, mean so much to me. Life is an adventure indeed.

Mystery Blogger Award

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Family Secrets Storytelling Art Book

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Family secrets…we all have them. Within even the healthiest and most stable of families there are a few dark tales or stories that no one talks about.

What about dysfunctional families or those that endure soul wrenching challenges or those riddled with abuse and addiction? The secrets buried within those families go far beyond a few skeletons in the closet. They carry with them deep shame and soul numbing detachment.

I met local artist Steve Head several years ago. You can read about our first encounter here. Standing in a coffee shop in downtown Joplin, studying Steve’s incredibly moving art upon the walls, a long buried piece of my heart shifted and opened. His unique depictions, full of symbolism and old photos, tell powerful stories.

More than imaginative works, these pieces are snapshots from Steve’s life, lived within a large family whose history includes poverty, alcoholism and mental illness. It’s a natural progression, to bring some of Steve’s art together in book form. Rather than strolling through a gallery, one can sit with the book,  which offers narrative to accompany the art pieces…and time to study each work, so that its story can be properly shared.

This is Family Secrets, the Storytelling Art of Steve Head.

Family Secrets Storytelling Art Book

Why Share These Stories?

Steve answers this question at the beginning of this oversized, coffee table style book.

Several family members suffered with mental illnesses and alcoholism. Physical, sexual, mental, emotional and even spiritual abuse threads its way throughout the fabric of his family’s history. Add in poverty and dysfunction, and the enormity of it all took an emotional and spiritual toll on nearly everyone connected to this family.

As a result, Steve carried a huge void in his heart, where love and nurturing should have been. He also carried shame for who he thought he was and for all that happened to him during his childhood. Later in life he learned that redemption and healing can only come when that shame is acknowledged and overcome.

Steve’s art brings the pain and dysfunction into the light, exposing it while boldly proclaiming:

“None of what happened in my family was MY fault. And I don’t need to carry this SHAME any longer.”

By sharing his art work, Steve offers an invitation to others to talk about their own shame and secrets and begin to heal.

Family Secrets Storytelling Art BookSteve’s first mixed media piece, “Coke Dealers”, from Family Secrets the Storytelling Art of Steve Head.

A Visual Tour with Compelling Stories

Family Secrets showcases Steve’s art while sharing the family stories behind each piece. He uses mixed media and collage to create one of a kind works of art.

In “Lost and Found, The Redemption of Mary Louisa McBroom”, we learn the sad story about Steve’s grandmother, who spent ten years in the Central Oklahoma State Hospital, and died there. No one in the family spoke of this woman who lived during the Great Depression and birthed twelve children. However, her 50 year old hospital records provided horrific details about the final decade of her life. Steve created art that moved Mary Louisa from obscurity to being known. Her life has value and meaning, even if we can’t fully comprehend all that she bore.

Family Secrets is full of page after page of beautiful, haunting art…and the stories that inspired each piece. I love knowing the process behind the works. Studying each work of art I can interpret some symbols. Steve fills in the deeper truths. Abandoned buildings represent emptiness. A bicycle tossed into a murky pond symbolizes lost childhood opportunities and stolen joy.

Family Secrets Storytelling Art Book

The Essence of the Human Spirit

This is a book that one can spend time with and learn from. And on some level, all of us can relate to the stories told by Steve’s art. We’ve all been hurt. Most of us carry scars from painful encounters with life, with family, with those who should have loved us.

Steve’s art cracks open a door in any heart that is willing to let go of old pain. As sorrowful as many of his stories are, he does not leave us without hope. His is a life that healed. His is a heart that became whole. He’s allowed the secrets and the shame to burn away and transform into a source of compassion and strength.

I love Steve’s Artist Statement, included in the book:

“The essence of every human being is his or her inward spirit. I believe that who we are as a person is the compilation of every thought, memory and human interaction we have ever experienced. My goal, as an artist, is to create visual expressions of those unseen places of the heart, of the child within, and of those shared experiences that connect our hearts to those around us.”

The boy who thought he lacked artistic talent, the boy who endured hardships that no child should have to experience, the young man who struggled with his own addictions, became the artist who now touches other hearts and sets them free.

Sitting with Family Secrets, you may shed hot tears. Old memories may surface from the shadows. And healing may begin, if you will allow it to. As Steve says, we all have untold stories. It’s time to tell yours.

Order Your Copy of Family Secrets

Order Family Secrets The Storytelling Art of Steve Head HERE. And check out The Art and Photography of Steve & Cindy Head Facebook Page HERE.

Family Secrets Storytelling Art Book

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5 Reasons to Enjoy Treasures Now

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How many times has a friend or family member said, “Oh, I’ll save that for a special occasion.”

“That” might be the good china or an expensive shirt or a family heirloom or even a gift from a loved one. Saving something for a special occasion imbues that item with greater value, it seems. It’s not meant for everyday or regular use. Rather, a special occasion worthy of the item must occur first.

Greg’s dad frequently recited the “saving it” clause. He chose to wear the same shirts and trousers over and over and tucked away new items, meant to replace their worn out counterparts.

After his death, I uncovered stacks of unopened gifts and clothes still in their original packages.

What if, instead of saving the good stuff, we gave ourselves permission to enjoy treasures now?

5 Reasons to Enjoy Treasures Now

Enjoy Treasures Now

I get it. I’ve tucked heirlooms and vintage items away too. The fear of breaking or wearing out something often overrides the joy that the item brings.

That changed for me a few years ago, as I kept “rediscovering” pieces I’d put away. I asked myself, “What good do packed away treasures do? What joy do they bring?” Overcoming fear of loss, I pulled those pieces out of storage and began incorporating them into my everyday life and décor. I’m not sorry!

5 Reasons to Enjoy Treasures NowThe first vintage item that I hauled out of the attic…and repurposed. This is my grandfather’s WWII Army trunk, enjoying a second life as a vignette holder.

I am more relaxed now with my treasures, allowing them second lives or renewed purpose in my home. From my experience, I offer 5 reasons to enjoy treasures now…rather than keep them in storage.

Tucked Away Treasures Don’t Bring Joy

This is a Marie Kondo teaching. A champion organizer, Marie loves to tidy up. One of her guiding principles involves holding an object to see if it sparks joy. If it does, keep it and if it doesn’t, give it away, sell it or throw it away.

If a treasure is tucked away, how do we know if it brings joy? In fact, thinking of the old adage, “Out of sight, out of mind”, how do we even know what we have?

This thought led me to uncover all my treasures, several years ago, and find ways to use them again. Otherwise, I kept forgetting what I had, until I came across it again.

I began with my grandfather’s trunk and kept going, one or two items at a time. These pieces bring me great joy. And it’s not just vintage pieces that I am now using. I have comfy shirts, fun socks, favorite pens and dinnerware that I regularly use, simply because I enjoy them.

The fear of wearing something out is as great as the fear of loss. However, never wearing my single pair of bright yellow plaid socks is not only a shame, but a waste. I bought them because they spark joy and make me smile. I may wear them out. However, what joy do they bring, folded in a drawer? None!

5 Reasons to Enjoy Treasurs NowWearing the greatest socks ever!

Treasures Tell Stories

This is one of my favorite reasons for keeping my treasures around me. With vintage items, there is the fear of breakage.  Packing an item away appears to keep it safe. I know first hand that is not always the case.

My neighborhood lay in the path of the 2011 EF5 tornado that devastated Joplin. I lost a vintage globed table lamp that fell casualty to debris bursting through a window. All in all, my house fared better than most around me. Half a block away, uprooted houses rested in the middle of the street or resembled nothing more than a pile of rubble. Safekeeping treasures did nothing to protect them in that storm.

The experience renewed my determination to enjoy treasures now, because I don’t know what tomorrow brings. Scattered throughout my home, these old pieces whisper their stories to me, every time I glance at them.

My mother’s wooden shoes, from her childhood, tell a story of love. My father’s Harley Davidson woven throw recounts his courageous battle against cancer. Grandpa Moore’s 119 year old china doll reminds me that he cherished that special toy, as a small boy. Leta Moore’s vintage curling irons speak of her connection with her mother, as a young girl.

I want these stories told. I want to hear them. Tucked away in closets and drawers, the stories become muffled and eventually lost to me.

5 Reasons to Enjoy Treasures NowBill Moore’s china doll, happily gracing my dining table.

Repurpose Treasures in Fresh Ways

This fun way of displaying treasures brings enjoyment and a sense of satisfaction. Inspired by using Pop’s trunk to hold quilts or holiday décor, I turned many pieces into vignette holders. The vintage suitcase, Aunt Roxie’s old footstool, Aunt Annie’s red box and an old wooden sieve (pictured above holding the china doll) all serve now as backdrops for arrangements containing other keepsakes.

My backyard garden features old rusty buckets and big metal washtubs that hold colorful flowers and aromatic herbs during the summer. An old red toolbox protects succulents and an old wheelbarrow transforms into a fairy garden while vintage minnow buckets allow candlelight to spill out into the twilight.

Bringing new life to an old, worn out item, extends the usefulness of that piece. Decorating with and using these pieces in fresh ways sparks joy, yes, and also ramps up my creativity. Study a treasure that no longer works well in its original form or purpose, and let it speak to you.

I set out an item and look at it multiple times the day until I get a creative idea or a visual download that guides me in repurposing it. Pinterest provides amazing ideas as well.

5 Reasons to Enjoy Treasures NowEvery treasure in this vintage suitcase, repurposed to hold vignettes, tells a story.

Continued Usefulness

Not all treasure are beyond their intended purpose. These items still serve in useful ways, once fear of loss is replaced with enjoyment.

Many of my vintage kitchen pieces came from the old shed in Grandma and Grandpa Moore’s backyard . Packed away because something new replaced them, I found delight in rescuing these treasures and bringing them home. That was 40 plus years ago…and I still use some of these items daily.

Concerns about wearing out those beauties proved futile.

Heavy glass pitchers hold lemon water or home made almond milk. The enamelware colander still cradles freshly washed veggies. My aunt’s glass juicer makes me smile when I twist half a lime on it. I decorate with old glassware, drink from vintage teacups and decorative  bowls perfectly display fruit.

Do I fear breaking something that is irreplaceable? I think about that possibility and use care when washing an item or displaying it. I recently broke a treasure, unpacking it from a box. The 1940s cookie jar belonged to Greg’s parents. My heart sank as it slipped from its protective bubble wrap and hit the floor with a cracking sound. Fortunately, it broke into only two pieces. Repaired it can still serve as a container or simply grace a shelf. I am grateful.

However, if something breaks beyond repair, I’d rather know that the treasure brought me great joy while I used it instead of sitting forgotten in a closet. I can live with the risk. It’s helped me too to discover previous repairs in some of the treasures. They’ve been broken before! Somehow I feel better knowing that.

It’s a choice one must make. If losing an item breaks a heart, keep it safe. Or display it with care. For many years the china doll remained safely in a closet. Now, she delights me from various places around the house. She’s not for playing with. And I handle her carefully and mindfully. She’s too precious, however, to hide away.

5 Reasons to Enjoy Treasures NowThis vintage glass pitcher gets used weekly.

The Next Generation May Have No Interest in Treasures

While not intended as a judgment, the truth is that children and grandchildren reaching adulthood may have no interest in family treasures. Carefully preserving heirlooms and keepsakes may come to naught, when the next generation doesn’t feel the same way about them.

I love the current trend among many young adults to live with less and travel more. Additionally, the tiny house movement and the minimalist lifestyle encourage a life lived with less stuff. There’s nothing wrong with those trends at all.

All it means is…don’t save treasures to hand down, when there may be no one willing to take them. Use those keepsakes, repurpose them, let them bring joy. And if a child or grandchild wants to keep that story alive, by owning the treasure, wonderful. And if no one wants those treasures, at least they were enjoyed for a time. Truly, that is enough.

Don’t Save Anything for a Special Occasion

Madeline Engelbreit says,

“Don’t ever save anything for a special occasion. Being alive is the special occasion.”

I love that quote! It’s at the heart of what I desire, with the treasures in my keeping. Don’t save them for a special occasion. Use them. Wear them. Repurpose them. Repair them if necessary…but don’t hide them away and forget about them.

Enjoy treasures now.

5 Reasons to Enjoy Treasures Now

 

 

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