Movie Review: Rocketman

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While still enjoying the film Bohemian Rhapsody at the theater, the preview of an upcoming movie intrigued me as well.

Another music biopic, Rocketman tells singer Elton John’s story. Every time I saw the preview, I felt drawn to this powerful film.

Movie Review Rocketman

 Rocketman Cast

Rocketman stars Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell, Richard Madden, Bryce Dallas Howard, Gemma Jones, Steven Mackintosh, Matthew Illesley and Kit Connor. Directed by Dexter Fletcher, Rocketman carries an R rating for moderate language, the portrayal of drug and alcohol use and moderate sexuality. It has a run time of 2 hours and 1 minute.

The Early Years

The film alternates between the present day, where Elton John (Egerton) appears to be in a group counseling session, and the past. The story is woven together as the present day singer recounts his childhood and rise to stardom.

Born Reginald Dwight, Reggie (Illesley) is a quiet child raised by troubled parents. His mostly absent father, Stanley (Mackintosh), passes his appreciation of music on to his young son. However, he cannot connect with Reggie emotionally. In fact, he refuses to hug his son or express love in any way.

Reggie’s mother Sheila (Howard) is cold, distant and as hungry as her son, for love. She seeks affection outside her home, which ultimately destroys the marriage. The real champion in the lonely boy’s life is his grandmother (Jones). When Reggie shows musical talent, she encourages him to play the piano and to pursue his passion.

Reggie’s desire to play and sing leads him to the Royal Academy of Music. As he enters his teen years (Connor), he begins performing in local pubs and forms a band called Bluesology.

Movie Review Rocketman

Movie Review Rocketman

Elton John is Born

As a young adult, Reggie and Bluesology are hired as a backup band for an American jazz band touring England. One of the singers gives the serious young man advice, to become famous: change his name, write his own songs, “kill” the old Reggie and become the person he is meant to be.

Inspired, Reggie adopts the name Elton John. He shares a few early songs with a studio, receiving moderate praise and interest. He acquires a manager who partners him with songwriter Bernie Taupin (Bell). The two become best friends and collaborators. Bernie writes song lyrics while Elton produces the melodies.

Their song, Your Song, lands them a performance at the Troubadour in Los Angeles. Elton overcomes a major case of the nerves to give an exceptional performance that ignites the audience and captures the attention of manager John Reid (Madden).

Movie Review Rocketman

Movie Review Rocketman

The Rise and Fall of a Rocketman

As Elton attempts to shed his old persona, and become a showman, his manager John shifts from showing romantic interest in the performer to openly manipulating him.

Once again denied the love that he craves, Elton throws himself into his performances. His costumes become more and more outlandish, to the delight of his audiences. In front of a crowd Elton is all smiles and brilliant show. Behind the scenes, his pain and loneliness drive him to drugs, alcohol and anger.

His long time friend and musical partner leaves. Elton truly finds himself alone and depressed, in the midst of incredible fame, and fortune, and people who want from him but have nothing to offer in return.

The past and the present day at last align, as Elton concludes his story. Realizing his life is spiraling downward, he walks away from a sold out concert and seeks help.

Can his career survive, he wonders, if he is sober and clean and more…ordinary?

Movie Review Rocketman

My Thoughts on Rocketman

Rocketman is a beautiful, clever musical, skillfully weaving Elton’s songs throughout the movie. They tell his story in illuminating ways, showing snapshots of who he was at different times in his life.

I’ve long been a fan of Elton John. His songs are an integral part of my storyline. Hearing them I can recount the events in my own life as his tunes topped the charts. I know his songs. However, the film taught me a great deal that I did not know about the man.

Elton’s story is overshadowed with sadness. It’s difficult for me to understand how love can be withheld from a child. In my heart it feels so wrong. And yet, it is possible that Elton’s early years birthed more than an extraordinary performer who wowed audiences. His pain gave incredible depth to his music. He truly is a musical genius. And although I teared up many times during this film, I experienced a deep appreciation for the way that he endured as he sought to be who he is.

The end credits are worth staying for. Actual photos and text tell the rest of Elton’s story, bringing us to the actual present day.

The tagline for Rocketman is an apt one.

“The only way to tell his story is to live his fantasy.”

What a moving way to get to know the heart of this man.

Movie Review Rocketman

 

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A Healing Journey Leads to Woman’s Day Magazine

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Three years ago next month, my mother and I embarked on a healing journey together. I actually headed down that new path first, desperate to heal chronic sciatica that severely limited my mobility. Seeing improvement in my health, my mom, who struggled with a host of ailments herself, joined me in this trek toward better health.

Little did we know then, that incredible healing would transform our lives. And we could not imagine the opportunities that would come, to share our stories.

This is the timeline, of a healing journey that leads to Woman’s Day Magazine.

A Jealing Journey Leads to Womans Day Magazine

Finding Hope

Four years ago, my sciatica worsened, after 22 years of daily chronic pain, to the point where I required a cane to walk. A car accident set off a series of reactions in my body that I could not seem to recover from. I faced the prospect of being in a wheelchair. (Read more about my story here.)

Through a Divine twist, I came across a post on Facebook by Anthony William, also known as the Medical Medium. He shared that often chronic pain after an accident has the Epstein Barr Virus as its source. The virus can attack organs or in my case, nerves. In the past I’d tried so many things to relieve my pain: physical therapy, pain meds, massage, energy work, exercise, electrical stimulation, injections, steroids and chiropractic manipulation. Nothing helped enough.

Anthony advocated a change in diet, something that had never been suggested to me before. Willing to try anything, I  began drinking celery juice. After reading Anthony’s first book, Medical Medium, I began a 28 Day Cleanse and ultimately switched to a plant based diet.

During the cleanse I parked the cane in a corner and there it remains. Mom noticed my improving health and decided to join me on the cleanse.

A Healing Journey Leads to Womans Day MagazineThis “before” photo, taken in October 2015, captures the cane resting against my right thigh. I was on pain meds so that I could participate in a fun evening with family. Mom and I both were at our heaviest, due to decreasing mobility and inactivity as a result of pain.

Inspiration for Change

Mom and I had reasons for changing our health, beyond the desire to feel better. I had a trip scheduled to Italy in May 2017, with my grandson and daughter. And mom and I had a trip to the UK with my sisters and niece planned for September of the same year. We wanted to feel like traveling and needed the energy and stamina to keep up.

In the span of a week, I accompanied my mom to all of her doctor appointments. I spoke with each doctor, explaining the plant based diet and the cleanse, and received their hearty approvals. It also gave Mom a baseline to measure improvement against.

We had one year before the trip, to take charge of our health and create change. With a great deal of determination and commitment, our healing journey began.

A Healing Journey Leads to Womans Day MagazineWe made it to the UK, enjoying Ireland, Scotland and England. Photo taken in Dublin, Ireland. No cane! And no pain meds.

To the UK…and Beyond

One year later, mom and I boarded that plane with my sisters and niece and experienced twelve wonderful days in the UK.

What incredible changes we experienced, health wise. My sciatica cleared up. And I healed from so many minor ailments such as severe acid reflux, hives and rashes, irritable bowel syndrome, seasonal allergies and headaches. Mom’s improvements were more dramatic. She experienced a huge decrease in the inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis, improvements in her entire digestive system and the healing of issues with her lungs and heart.

We both lost weight, easily, as a result of embracing a plant based diet, while our energy increased.

We felt so much better that we agreed to continue with the plant based lifestyle. As I share with others, nothing tastes as good as healthy feels. There was no going back for either of us. Three years along this path we’ve chosen, our health continues to improve. Mom’s heart doctor recently told her she didn’t need to come back for a year. “I wish all my patients would eat a plant based diet,” he told mom.

And precancerous spots in Mom’s stomach have completely disappeared. Her liver is free from fat and disease, which is remarkable for her age. I am thrilled with her level of health.

A Healing Journey Leads to Woman's World MagazineAn “after” photo for the magazine, with shirt possibilities.

The Healing Journey Leads to Woman’s Day Magazine

Being a blogger, I regularly share posts and updates on social media, about my healing journey, and mom’s, as they are so connected. About a month ago, I received an email from an editor with the national publication, Woman’s World Magazine. She found me on Instagram, through my connection there with Anthony. After reading about the health journey Mom and I share, she asked if she could send us questions to answer, for an upcoming feature on Anthony William and celery juice.

“Of course”, I replied. I’m always happy to offer hope to others who are suffering and share about our healing experiences. The editor requested before and after photos as well, when she learned that both of us lost weight as a result of the changes in our diet. Again, we happily complied.

Imagine our surprise when the editor contacted me a couple of days later, saying they intended to use the info we supplied in the article…and next up was a professional photo shoot!

What?!

The healing journey took an unexpected and wildly fun turn. I asked Mom if she was game for an adventure. Bless this woman. I often end up in crazy adventures. And she never says “no” to joining me!

A Healing Journey Leads to Womans Day MagazineAsenath works her magic! She was so fun to be around. We appreciated all that she did.

Prepping for Photos

We literally had three days to prep for a photo shoot. A photographer from Los Angeles contacted me and began the process of securing a professional here to take the photos. He found Patty Jessee, with Patty Jessee Photography, and what a fun and kind woman she was to work with.

I was tasked with finding a hair and make up person. Her job included creating a natural look with make up and styling our hair. Due for a trim at Dr. Fly’s Salon, I met with stylist Asenath there. She graciously agreed to give up her Sunday afternoon to meet us at Mom’s house.

And Mom and I received detailed instructions on what to wear, including shirt colors and shoe styles. Every step in the process included photos taken and sent to the photographer in LA and to the editor. Shirts and slacks and shoes were approved…or not. I swapped out the light green shirt in the after photo above for a pink one. We purchased extra celery so that we could make juice to feature in the photos and have bunches of celery to hold.

After three whirlwind days, everyone met at Mom’s on Sunday afternoon, to get ready for the photo shoot.

A Healing Journey Leads to Womans World MagazineTaking a test photo.

The Photo Shoot

Patty arrived just as Asenath finished our hair and make up. After scouting out my mom’s backyard, she made the decision to move to a nearby location, where sunlight could filter through trees. I learned that there is so much to a professional photo shoot! We began about 4:00 PM and finished at a little after 8:00 PM.

Lighting is critical, as is the background for the shoot. Patty is immensely patient. She used great care setting up equipment, directing our poses, and keeping track of all of the details. We smiled until our cheeks ached, and changed clothes in the back of my car so that the magazine had different options.

And we laughed. Patty made the process fun and she knew exactly what to do. With everything going on, I totally failed to get a photo of her, as she snapped pics of my mom. We appreciated Patty’s skills, her great sense of humor and her endurance. She took about three hundred photos.

A Healing Journey Leads to Womans Day MagazineThe magazine is on sale. Articles are deliberately covered up. Purchase a magazine to read the article and our stories!

The Healing Journey Continues

Yesterday the Woman’s Day Magazine, featuring the story about Anthony William and celery juice, hit the news stands. The magazine is on sale through June 12, at Walmart, Target and other stores that carry magazines.

And there on the cover, in the lower right corner, is my cute little mama. She’s holding a glass of celery juice. Inside the publication are two more photos, one of me, one of Mom, and our healing stories.

I’m so proud of my mom, for many reasons, not least of which is that she is so willing to jump on board with me on these adventures. She’s such a good sport.

I’m proud of my mom too for her accomplishments in turning her health around. The magazine deal was fun….and a wonderful experience. I’m so glad I got to share it with Mom. And I am beyond grateful for the healing experience we’ve shared. That journey continues on.

Our great desire is that the magazine article and our stories give hope to those who are hurting, feeling sick and looking for answers. Healing can take place. Health can be restored. There is hope.

We know. Health and vibrancy have returned to us. We are healed.

A Healing Journey Leads to Womans World Magazine

Order Celery Juice, by Anthony William, by clicking on the photo below:


 

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Back in Thyme Gardens & Culinary Center

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Saturday my mother and I enjoyed a rain free morning by exploring the Back in Thyme Gardens & Culinary Center. This gem of a garden is located south of Joplin, between Seneca and Neosho. The address is 18284 Gazelle Drive, Neosho, but use your phone’s GPS. This farmette , nestled in a gorgeous valley in Newton County, is in the middle of nowhere.

However, that’s part of it’s charm.

We successfully navigated the country roads, locating Back in Thyme Gardens in about half an hour, driving from Joplin. I’m so glad that we decided to follow curiosity and check it out. Truthfully, my mom had me at the word “garden”. It’s so much more than that though.

Back in Thyme Gardens & Culinary Center

Creating Back in Thyme Gardens & Culinary Center

Owners John and Brenda Coleman created the gardens four years ago, in an empty field across the road from their home. It could properly be called a hobby farm. However, I know from working in my own backyard garden that this hobby requires a great deal of work and maintenance.

A hobby farm is defined as a small farm operated for pleasure or for supplemental income, rather than being a source of primary income.

I don’t know if this is true for John and Brenda. It’s evident that Back in Thyme thrives under their continual care and they do take pleasure in their gardens. This place is truly a work of art and a labor of love, with emphasis on the labor part.

Back in Thyme Gardens & Culinary Center is open Thursday through Saturday, from spring until early summer. Along with the gardens to wander through, there are nursery plants for sale, a retail center and a delightful assortment of friendly animals. While there are items for sale, it does not cost anything to explore this magical place. Guests are encouraged to ask questions, smell the flowers and nibble on the edible plants.

Back in Thyme Gardens & Culinary Center

Back in Thyme Gardens & Culinary Center

The Inhabitants of Back in Thyme Gardens

Mom and I arrived at the gardens just as they opened for the day.  I laughed as soon as we stepped out of the car.  Gracie the dog greeted us, along with the cutest trio of animals I’ve ever seen. Two pot belly pigs grunted a welcome to us as they crowded eagerly against the fence.

Of course I had to get closer. What made me laugh, however, was their sidekick friend tagging along. She’s a turkey! These three stayed side by side in their enclosure, obviously best buds.

As we entered the gardens, the trio trotted across their pen to meet us on the interior side. I couldn’t resist. I scratched their snouts, which the pigs seemed to enjoy, and petted the turkey.

Back in Thyme Gardens & Culinary Center

Back in Thyme Gardens & Culinary Center

It was equally fun to visit the chicken enclosure and watch all the chicks come running! These well cared for animals appear to enjoy human interaction. The ducks waddled over to check us out as well and preen a bit. The back of the gardens contains bee hives. We stayed clear of those, so as not to disturb them.

Back in Thyme Gardens & Culinary Center

Exploring Back in Thyme Gardens

I love that one can stand in any spot and see most of the gardens, and yet there are many paths to wander down and alcoves to explore.

We took our time  walking down each pathway.

Colorful flowers spill over huge metal tubs. Herbs share space with veggies and fruits. It was fun to identify each plant we found, or failing to come up with a name, look at the little signs. I like that the gardens are a mix of many plants. It’s how I garden, with a certain amount of riotous chaos. It makes for an interesting and beautiful space.

We spied an Alice in Wonderland themed garden. And alcoves both large and small intrigued us with statues, plants and repurposed items.

Back in Thyme Gardens & Culinary Center

Back in Thyme Gardens & Culinary Center

Wandering the gardens, I felt inspired. I took mental notes of ideas I could incorporate into my own backyard paradise. For example, an old brass headboard painted green serves as a decoration in the garden, as does a vintage metal settee bench. I love using repurposed metal in my garden. I’ll be watching for a headboard at a flea market or yard sale to “plant” in my backyard.

As we left the front gardens, we entered into the nursery section, where low wooden tables held containers of herbs and flowers for sale.

Back in Thyme Gardens & Culinary Center

The Back in Thyme Nursery

The back section of the gardens offers row after row of plants for sale. Mom and I enjoyed walking down each row. We discovered flowers that are new to us. And we exclaimed over the many varieties of peonies, a fragrant spring flower that my grandfather loved.

Butterflies and bees flitted from flower to flower, a sign of a healthy and attractive garden.

As I look around, I’m impressed with this garden center. And I feel so at home here. If I owned a couple of acres, this is what I’d love to create. The Colemans have transformed a field into beautiful gardens and launched a dream.

Back in Thyme Gardens & Culinary Center

Back in Thyme Gardens & Culinary Center

Finally we wandered into the little retail shop. It’s cool interior welcomed us after our exploring outdoors. The shop offers an assortment of gardening books and supplies, seeds, raw organic honey from the onsite bees, windchimes and many other fun items.

Gracie the dog enjoys the shop too. She sprawls on the floor, hoping for a belly rub.

We purchase packets of seeds, to fill the last of our empty containers.

The Search for Eden

In the movie, A Little Chaos, Andre Le Nortre, the master gardener, asks Sabine about her small and wildly beautiful garden.

“This abundance of chaos…is this your Eden?”

“My search for it,” she answers.

Perhaps those of us who enjoy gardening…who love getting our hands into the dirt and think nothing of talking to  plants…perhaps we are instinctively searching for Eden. By creating our own paradises, we find our way back to the garden. We return home.

If you enjoy gardens or herbs or flowers or barnyard animals, you must visit Back in Thyme Gardens & Culinary Center. Future plans expand on the culinary part, with cooking classes and demonstrations offered.

I so look forward to that. And I look forward to returning to this piece of Eden.

Back in Thyme Gardens & Culinary Center

Visit the Back in Thyme Gardens & Culinary Center Facebook page HERE.

Stream A Little Chaos HERE on Amazon Prime.

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.