Spring Garden Tips

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Happy first day of spring! I’m excited. Spring ushers in a time of renewal and birth and heralds the coming of warmer weather and longer days. For once, the fickle Missouri weather matched the approaching season. Sunshine and warm temps filled the days, encouraging me to get outside.

And my favorite outdoor activity this time of year? Tending to the garden.

I love seeing the first stirrings of life in my backyard paradise. It signals the return of colorful flowers, fragrant herbs and tall, waving ornamental grasses.

But first, tidying up is a must in March, after the garden’s long winter nap.

Check out these spring garden tips, to prep for the glory ahead.

Spring Garden Tips

Clear Away Debris

After months of cold, wind, rain and a bit of snow, the garden looks a bit bedraggled. The ornamental grasses droop along the fence row. Last summer’s flower stalks, which look beautiful contrasted against snow on the ground, can at last come down. And somehow, in spite of a six foot privacy fence encircling the yard, trash blows in.

As Greg and I survey the garden area, we pick up trash, cut down dry stalks and mentally take note of stray ornamental grass starts that need to be dug up.

Action step: Clear away garden debris including last year’s dead plants, dry stalks, leaves and any trash carried in by the wind.

Spring Garden TipsThe garden is a mess this time of year.

Trim Back Ornamental Grasses

Even during the winter months, ornamental grasses add interest to the garden. The stalks and tassels turn golden, providing color on gray, dreary days.

As the weather warms, the stalks need to be trimmed back, to six to eight inches above the ground. This allows fresh growth to appear. And trust me, the new stalks will quickly grow and fill back in.

We use an electric hedge trimmer to accomplish this spring garden task quickly and easily. The trimmed stalks go into a large metal barrel, for burning.

Action step: Trim back ornamental grasses. Burn the stalks or dispose of them via a trash dumpster. Don’t use them for mulch, as the seeds from the tassels will germinate.

Spring Garden TipsTrimmed ornamental grass clump. Cut back to 6 – 8  inches above ground.

Spring Garden TipsMetal burning barrel. The cover from the firepit keeps flaming debris from leaving the barrel. We keep a garden hose nearby, just in case.

Get a Head Start on Weeds

Everyone’s least favorite garden task is pulling weeds. It is an absolute necessity however. Not only are weeds unsightly, they crowd flowers, veggies and herbs, stealing their nourishment.

It’s early yet for most weeds. But not for eliminating ornamental grass starts that pop up all over the garden. It’s not difficult to remove these plants while they are tiny. It becomes a much bigger task if they’ve been left to grow.

I had quite a collection of starts, ranging in size from miniscule to large clumps. We noted the larger grasses last fall, and left them until spring clean up. Greg graciously removed the bigger grasses and clumps, while I dug up the smaller ones. After recent heavy rains, the small grass starts came up easily.

At the same time, I removed a couple of small tree starts and tackled clumps of dead crab grass. Greg used the weed eater to knock down dead grasses in the corners of the yard and along the edges of flower borders and beds.

Action step: Walk the garden area and inspect beds and borders for dry weeds and early starts. Spend a few minutes each day, walking the garden and pulling up weeds as they appear.

Spring Garden TipsRemoving a tiny ornamental grass start.

Check Soil

Before the garden begins to fill in, enrich the soil. Organic material like compost or manure adds moisture and much needed nutrients. My garden is six years old. Reworking the soil and adding compost nourishes the plants that are returning and gives new plants a great start.

We have a couple of places in the garden that hold too much water, creating boggy areas. Organic matter and peat moss worked into the soil will help to balance out those areas, creating better drainage.

Action step: Add organic matter to the garden if it is more than a couple of years old, to revitalize it. Balance out dry or boggy areas.

Spring Garden Tips

Spring Garden Tips for Mid Season

As the season progresses, these tasks will complete garden prep:

  • Plan out new beds and borders
  • Plant hardy annuals in containers and beds
  • Plant bulbs
  • Transplant seeds if they were started indoors
  • Plant cool weather veggies such as lettuce, cabbage and peas
  • Prune early flowering bushes, after they flower

Action step: This is the fun part, after days of cleaning up the garden and prepping for new plants. Take time to think about what you want to add to the garden this year. Visit nurseries. Tour other gardens. Check out Pinterest or browse online for ideas.

Spring Garden TipsLemon balm showing up in the garden. I’m excited to have my first cup of  freshly brewed lemon balm tea.

Spring Garden Tips for Late Season

Beyond the threat of frost, typically mid April to early May in most of the US, complete these tasks:

  • Cut back stems after bulbs bloom
  • Check garden for empty spots
  • Fill in with annuals and perennials
  • Plant herbs
  • Plant vegetables. Try out a raised bed garden.
  • Mulch with 2 – 3 inches of organic material such as cedar. Mulch helps to hold in moisture and prevents weeds and disease.

Action step: This is the time to bring winter dreams into reality. What do you want to add to your garden? Now is the time to do so. My garden changes every year, as I add to it. This year my intention is to rework the Apothecary Garden and add more herbs.

Spring Fever

I love this season and being outdoors. The garden is slowing awakening. New growth is appearing. Right now, it looks rather bleak. But I know. I know that just beneath the surface, life is stirring and soon my garden will fill with colors and scents.

In a couple of months, the garden transforms from this…

Spring Garden Tips

…to this! What a remarkable change.

Spring Garden Tips

Every task, every weed pulled, every plant tucked into the ground, is worth the effort. This backyard garden is, indeed, my paradise.

 

Try out these essential gardening supplies and tools! Just click on the picture to view product.

 

 

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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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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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91st Academy Awards

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It’s Oscar time, with the 91st Academy Awards.

In spite of hiccups leading up to tonight’s award show, I am so excited. There are many firsts that will take place tonight, and I am right here, watching, cheering and blogging as it all unfolds.

91st Academy Awards

Incredible Opening

One of the controversies shadowing the 91st Academy Awards is the lack of a host, for the first time in 30 plus years. Instead of a 20 minute opening monologue, the ceremony began with a  musical bang.

Although I’ve teared up before during moving speeches or when the Memoriam is played, I’ve never cried during the beginning of the Oscars. Tonight, I do. Queen opens the show, with Brian Lambert singing lead. To see Brian May and Roger Taylor on stage, playing their hearts out, moves me deeply. After a couple of songs, Freddie Mercury appears on the big screen behind them. What a start to a great night. Alone, in the intimacy of my bedroom, I stand along with the audience and applaud.

In lieu of a host, presenters are making the most of their time, handing out awards and having a bit of fun while doing so.

91st Academy Awards

91st Academy Awards

Melissa McCarthy and Brian Tyree Henry present, with a hilarious nod to The Favourite.

Oscar Highlights

Lots of firsts tonight, among presenters, and among the winners.

Black Panther, the first superhero film ever nominated for Best Picture, garners early Oscars in Costume Design and Production Design. It also wins for Original Score.

Roma, to no one’s surprise, picks up Best Foreign Film, along with a well deserved Achievement in Cinematography.

Bohemian Rhapsody, dear to my heart, picks up 3 Oscars so far, for Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Film Editing. “Good thoughts, good words, good deeds,” as Freddie’s father says.

Best Animated Feature Oscar goes to Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse.

“Shallow”, from A Star is Born, picks up the Oscar for Best Original Song. Bradley Cooper, who feels nervous about singing at the Oscars, gives a magnificent performance with Lady Gaga

Best Original Screenplay award goes to Nick Vallelonga, for Green Book. For Best Adapted Screenplay, the Oscar goes to Spike Lee for BlacKkKlansman.

91st Academy Awards

91st Academy Awards

The Biggies

As the 91st Academy Awards finishes up, and a delightful show it has been, the top Oscars are handed out.

Best Supporting Actress – Regina King for If Beale Street Could Talk. This movie goes on my “must watch” list, so I can check out Regina’s winning performance.

91st Academy Awards

Best Supporting Actor – Mahershala Ali for Green Book. He’s won every award he’s been nominated for this season, and deservedly so.

91st Academy Awards

Best Actress – Olivia Colman for The Favourite. She edges out Glenn Close, which for many will be a surprise. Olivia herself seems shocked. However, a more gifted woman one could not find. Her emotional acceptance speech brings more tears to my eyes. What’s up with me tonight?

91st Academy Awards

Best Actor – Rami Malek for Bohemian Rhapsody. More tears, dang it. This man is one of the most kind and most gracious actors I’ve ever seen. I am beyond thrilled for his much deserved honor.

91st Academy Awards

Best Director – Alfonso Cuaron for Roma. Predicted to win for his touching and beautifully done film, Alfonso has picked up several awards tonight. Will he get Best Picture? I’m about to find out….

91st Academy Awards

Best Picture – Green Book. Of course, I hoped Bohemian Rhapsody would win the Oscar. I predicted Roma or Green Book. Still, as the announcement comes, I feel happy surprise. Of all the nominees, Green Book is my second favorite film, right behind Bohemian Rhapsody. I’m glad it receives recognition.

91st Academy Awards

That’s a Wrap

I thoroughly enjoyed the 91st Academy Awards. I didn’t miss a host. The presenters moved smoothly from award to award and the show finished in a little over three hours. Bohemian Rhapsody took home the most Oscars, with four total.

I jotted down a list of films to check out, including Can You Ever Forgive Me? and First Man. During the Oscars an announcement was made about an Academy Awards Museum that’s being built. That just went on my “must visit” list. Who knows? Perhaps someday I’ll attend a Red Carpet event, as a tribute to a lifetime of appreciating movies.

I’m already looking forward to the 92nd Academy Awards.

91st Academy Awards

For a full list of Oscar Winners, click HERE

Download or rent Green Book at Amazon Prime Video or pre-order HERE

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Movie Review: Vice

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Seeing Vice, the biopic featuring former Vice President Dick Cheney, completed Best Picture nominated films this week. I didn’t purposefully place this movie last. That’s the way it worked out with Regal’s viewing schedule. However, I admit this film appealed to me the least.

I’m not a political person. I say this with apologies to my grandson Dayan, who is a political science major at University of Missouri. There’s nothing wrong with political movies. They just aren’t anywhere near my favorite genre. Nonetheless, when I commit to watching all of the Best Picture films, I keep that intention even though it only matters to me.

As usual, I find that I learn from the movies I would not watch otherwise.

Movie Review Vice

Vice Cast

Vice stars Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, Alison Pill, Lily Rabe, Tyler Perry and Jesse Plemons. Written and directed by Adam McKay, this historical drama carries an R rating, for moderate language and adult situations, and has a run time of 2 hours and 12 minutes.

Vice is nominated for 8 Oscars including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress for Adams, Best Supporting Actor for Rockwell, Best Actor for Bale and Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, both for McKay.

Movie Review Vice

The Cheneys

Spanning four decades, Vice focuses on the life and political career of Dick Cheney (Bale) and his wife Lynne (Adams). As a young couple, Dick struggles to find his purpose in life. He drinks too much. He works menial jobs. After a second DUI charge, resulting in an overnight stay in jail, Lynne gives Dick “the” speech. “Get your life together…or I walk away.”

Fast forward a few years and Dick becomes a congressional intern for Donald Rumsfeld (Carell). The two become very close, working together on a variety of projects. Now a father to two daughters, Liz (Rabe) and Mary (Pill), Dick pursues a career that makes his wife proud.

Rumsfeld gets sent away, becoming an ambassador, due to conflicts with the Nixon administration. And then Watergate happens and Nixon is out. As one of the Republicans not involved in the scandal, Cheney promotes to Secretary of Defense, in the Gerard Ford White House, and then moves up to Chief of Staff.

Cheney researches the legal theory called the Unitary Executive Theory, which states, simply put, that anything the president does is legal because he or she is the president. Carter wins the next election, and Cheney is out of a job.

Movie Review Vice

Running Mate

Back home in Wyoming, Dick runs for Congress. However, during his campaign, he experiences his first heart attack. Lynne campaigns on his behalf, and ultimately, Dick wins.

After Bush’s presidency, Cheney considers running for president. His numbers are low however. And his younger daughter, Mary, has come out as gay. Rather than risk his supportive relationship with her, Cheney opts out of running. Instead, he becomes the CEO of Halliburton, choosing involvement in the corporate world for many years, until George W. Bush (Rockwell) calls him.

Initially, Dick refuses the role of vice president, to GW Bush’s president. Lynne cautions her husband, calling the vice presidency a “nothing job”. Talking to George later, Dick asks for more than a typical vice president role. He wants to oversee major departments. And he wants his daughter Mary off limits. George agrees.

After a close race in the 2000 election, George Bush and Dick Cheney win the White House.

Movie Review Vice

The White House Years

Once settled in, Dick has total oversight, including receiving intelligence briefings before the President. He gets tax breaks for the wealthy and places key personnel throughout the administration.

Tragedy strikes the United States on 9/11. Cheney makes decisions during that time that no other vice president has ever made. Post 9/11 Cheney and Rumsfeld focus in on Iraq and Sadaam Hussein, even though Colin Powell (Perry) wants to gather information on Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Eventually the American people are convinced Saddam needs to be stopped. The war in Iraq begins.

Throughout these years, Cheney quietly moves forward, with the tenacity of a bull. The war doesn’t go as expected. ISIS comes into existence. War crimes are uncovered. Donald Rumsfeld takes the heat and is removed from office. And Dick Cheney’s heart gives out, literally, over and over again.

Finally, told there is no hope for recovery, Cheney faces death unless a heart donor can be found. In a bizarre twist in the film, one comes available.

The film concludes with an interview with Dick Cheney, in which the character breaks the fourth wall in the movie and looks directly at the audience. After being asked to defend his practices while in office, Cheney replies that he is fine with judgment and incrimination. He did what needed to be done so that our loved ones could sleep at night. We chose him. He did what we asked.

Movie Review Vice

My Thoughts on Vice

The characterizations of these familiar politicians is amazing in this film. Christian Bale is unrecognizable, after gaining 40 pounds for the role, shaving his head and bleaching his eyebrows. He portrays Cheney so well that I forgot, frequently, that the man on the screen was not the former vice president. I’m reminded of Gary Oldham’s turn as Winston Churchill last year in Darkest Hour.

Amy Adams is marvelous as Lynne Cheney, who is a powerful person as well. All of the actors were carefully chosen for the roles they stepped into, and that care is very evident.

In a unique role, Jesse Plemons serves as narrator. The camera cuts to him between scenes as he explains what’s going on. His connection to Cheney is revealed, in a surprising way, near the end of the movie.

Movie Review VicePerry and Carell as Colin Powell and Donald Rumsfeld, respectively.

My take aways from Vice are these:

It’s not just the one who holds power that influences events. It’s who has control. And sometimes the quietest among us are doing the most to create major shifts.

Vice is another film that is difficult to classify. Is it humor or drama, satire or smear? Perhaps it’s a character study of Dick Cheney. Or perhaps it’s more a commentary on the American people. I wrote at the beginning of this post that I am not a political person. At the end of Vice, I recognized the detriment in holding that belief. If these events in Vice happened, and fact checking shows that some of the scenes are creditable and some are not, then it is on me to be more aware, more involved.

It’s on all of us.

Vice opens up my awareness. It makes me want to study who people say they are and what their actions show about them, in the political arena. Vice possesses the potential to sharply divide people. But what if its true intention is to wake us up?

Working for Donald Rumsfeld, young Dick Cheney asks him, sincerely,

“What do we believe in?”

It’s a great question for Vice to leave me with. What do I believe in?

Movie Review Vice

It’s Oscar Time!

I’m minutes away from the 91st Academy Awards. Curried lentils are bubbling in the slow cooker. Vegan snickerdoodle cookies and a hot cup of herbal tea await. I’ll be blogging through the awards show and post a second late post tonight.

Here are all my reviews, for the eight Best Picture Nominated films:

Download or rent Vice on Amazon Prime Video HERE or purchase the DVD

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Movie Review: The Favourite

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One look at the title of this film, The Favourite, and you know by the spelling of the second word that this story is connected to England. This Best Picture nominated movie is based upon the brief and somewhat obscure reign of Queen Anne, of England.

My mother, an avid history buff, accompanied me to this second to the last movie, during Oscar week.

Movie Review The Favourite

The Favourite Cast

This biographical drama, with comedic overtones, stars Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz, Nicolas Hoult, James Smith and Mark Gatiss. Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite carries an R rating, for language and sexuality, and has a run time of 1 hour and 59 minutes.

The Favourite is nominated for 10 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actress for Colman, Best Supporting Actress for Stone and Weisz and Best Director for Lanthimos.

Movie Review The Favourite

Queen Anne of England

It’s early in the 18th century, and England nears the end of a war with France. The reigning monarch, Queen Anne (Colman) is frail in body and mind and fraught with anxieties.

The government is divided, with Robert Harley (Hoult) and Sidney Godolphin (Smith) leading the opposing parties. Their grappling for control wearies the Queen, who relies on her companion for support and guidance. Sarah (Weisz) and Anne grew up as childhood friends. As the queen’s health declines, she depends more and more on Sarah to attend crucial meetings and carry out royal duties.

Sarah Churchill is intelligent, in a cunning way, and very much in alignment with Godolphin, who supports continued war with France. Her husband, John, Duke of Marlborough (Gatiss), leads the troops as the war winds down.

Movie Review The Favourite

Abigail Arrives

Sarah’s status with the Queen shifts when Abigail (Stone) arrives. Abigail is Sarah’s cousin. Her life took a downturn years ago, leaving her destitute, fallen in society, and seeking employment. Although she begins as a scullery maid in the castle, Abigail quickly works her way into the Queen’s favour. Anne suffers horribly from gout. When inflammation creates swelling, sores and tremendous pain, Abigail applies a soothing herbal poultice.

Abigail’s new position as the Queen’s personal assistant alarms Sarah, and the competition between the women begins. Sneaking into Queen Anne’s bedchamber one night, Abigail makes a shocking discovery. Sarah and the Queen are clandestine lovers.

Movie Review The Favourite

Who is the Favourite?

As political strife heats up, Queen Anne finds herself caught between opposing parties, and between equally opposing women. Sarah continues to urge the Queen toward war. Abigail, who aligns with Harley and peace with France, appears more sympathetic and helpful toward the Queen.

Both women know that being Queen Anne’s favourite brings power and prestige and wealth. For Abigail, it even brings an arranged marriage that will restore her place in society.

As the Queen’s health continues to deteriorate, and her mood plummets, Abigail and Sarah vie for the coveted title of Favourite. And there can only be one.

Movie Review The Favourite

My Thoughts on The Favourite

I attend the Best Picture nominated films with as little foreknowledge as possible. That way, I experience the movie and the story with a fresh perspective and no expectations. I’ve seen many historical films about England’s queens and kings, however, I knew very little about this particular monarch.

The Favourite is unique, in that it includes rich complex characters, an abundance of humor, and modern elements including clever camera work and music that is often jarring. Perhaps the best classification for this movie is dark comedy with historical overtones!

Queen Anne is the central figure and the movie revolves around her. She alternates between being reasonable and competent, and lost and child-like, wailing with despair. Her despondency and fragility is better understood when it is revealed that the 17 rabbits she keeps as pets in her bedchamber represent the children she lost. Losing one child fractures the soul. Imagine what losing 17 does.

And although he is not mentioned in the movie, the Queen had recently lost her spouse as well. With no surviving children, Anne is the last monarch of the House of Stuart.

Olivia Colman deserves her Oscar nomination. Her portrayal is nuanced and compelling to watch. Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz are equally captivating in their roles. I’m grateful for the opportunity to see The Favourite, before tomorrow night’s Academy Awards.

Movie Review The Favourite

One More Best Picture Movie to Review

I watched Vice tonight, completing the list of films. Watch for that review tomorrow.

Here are the nominees. Click the links for the reviews.

Rent The Favourite on Amazon Prime Video HERE.

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.