Robust Gratitudes

Today my thankfulness grouped in a cluster, around the topic of health. I called these my robust gratitudes. Health is, sadly, one of those things we take for granted until a crises occurs or a chronic problem develops.

I’ve learned much in the last 2 1/2 years about living as the healthiest version of myself. Without deliberate intention today, I was reminded how very crucial wellbeing is.

Robust Gratitudes

Natural Grocers

This grocery store emphasizes robust health with 100% organic produce, a wide assortment of supplements, and products made from superior ingredients. Here I can find gluten free flour and pasta. Loose, dried herbs, spices and teas are available. Canned goods are non-GMO.

Without fail, I walk into this bright, cheerful store and inhale deeply as I cross the threshold. It smells so good in Natural Grocers. I feel so good, shopping here. I’m grateful that I have this store as an option.

This morning I got to share with another shopper about the benefits of fresh aloe vera gel. And I assisted a woman when she asked me if I knew anything about vitamin C.

Robust Gratitudes

Plant Based Products

As I continue to improve my health, I’ve learned that what I put on my skin, or clothes, affects my wellbeing. Chemicals, additives, dyes and toxins all end up in the liver, creating health issues. I’ve been intentionally swapping out bath, laundry and cleaning products full of chemicals, for plant based chemical-free versions.

Natural Grocers carries a better version of everything I once used. My hand soap, shower soap, shampoo and conditioner are all plant based, infused with essential oils. I wash my clothes with laundry soap free from chemicals and dyes. They are dried with plant based softener sheets scented with lavender. My dishes and my hands benefit from the dish soap I use.

I am so grateful for these alternatives. My liver and skin are grateful too!

Robust Gratitudes

Dragon Fruit

I’m excited to try a new-to-me fruit, for the first time tomorrow. Dragon fruit looks exotic in its strangeness. I selected a fruit that has bold color and gives slightly when I press in with my thumb.

Dragon fruit, also called pitaya, is so good for the liver. It slows down and stops liver aging, which helps to prevent disease. I’m looking forward to adding this beauty to my fruit smoothie in the morning. Watch for more info about dragon fruit on Friday’s Journey With Healthy Me blog post.

Robust Gratitudes

Robust Apple Cider

When the weather turns cold it’s time for one of my favorite hot drinks. This apple cider is full of flavor and healing properties.

In a large pan combine 8 cups of organic unsweetened apple juice, 4 whole cloves, 2 cinnamon sticks, 1 star anise, 1/3 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon ginger (or 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated), 1 orange cut into slices and 1/4 cup fresh or frozen cranberries. Simmer for 20 – 30 minutes. Strain cider and enjoy. Makes 8 servings.

Try the cider as a first line of defense, when dealing with cold or allergy symptoms, or enjoy as a warming drink on chilly evenings. I’m grateful for the healing power of food.

Robust Gratitudes

Healthy at Every Age

I visited a friend late this afternoon, at a local assisted care facility. What I am about to share is not meant as a complaint against such places. It is a heart cry for people to take better care of themselves now, so that health and vitality can be enjoyed throughout the twilight years.

I am disturbed by the quality of food served at the facility. The meals are nutrient poor, and feed viruses and inflammation rather than support health. What a difference more fresh fruits and veggies could make.

After leaving my friend’s room, I wandered down the hall, greeting people in wheelchairs, saddened by what I saw. So many men and women there, ravaged by disease and mysterious illnesses and mental confusion. It broke my heart.

I left the care facility with fresh determination to continue my healing journey..,and to walk alongside others so that they can heal too. It’s never too late to make changes that contribute to a healthier life. It’s never too soon either!

Robust Gratitudes

I’m grateful for the emphasis on health today. My intention is to live a vibrant life no matter my age. I’m ensuring my future by consuming life giving nutrient dense foods and eliminating those that create disease and inflammation in my body.

I want to be that old lady, living without regrets, that everyone wonders, “What is she up to now?”

I’m well on my way!

Robust Gratitudes

Nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award

What an honor to be nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award. This award is given by bloggers to fellow bloggers, as a way to recognize and encourage one another.

My nomination came from Sara at healthyandhygge.com. Thank you Sara!

Please check out her blog for insights about being healthy on all levels, and for cozy hygge activities.

Nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award

What is the Sunshine Blogger Award?

The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to those who show creativity, positivity and inspiration.  Once you have been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award, you are required to:

• Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to his or her blog.

• Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.

• Nominate 11 other blogs and give them 11 new questions to answer.

• Notify your nominees and display the Sunshine Blogger Award in your post.

Below are my responses to Sara’s 11 questions as well as 11 questions for 11 of my fellow bloggers!

1. What does self-care look like to you?

Self-care is very important to me. Practicing it requires me to slow down, detach from regular activities, and focus inward to see what my heart/body/mind/emotions/soul needs in the way of nurturing and refreshment. A good day of self-care might include solitary time, reading, being creative, writing, resting, walks in nature, wholesome healthy foods, tea time, cooking, gardening, daydreaming, watching a film or coloring.

2. What is one interesting thing about you people do not know?

I like snakes, non-poisonous ones anyway. As a child I had several pet garter snakes. And once I ran into a burning field near my home to scoop up and rescue snakes that were wriggling away from the approaching flames.

3. What is the best vacation you have ever been on and why?

I enjoy any trip I get to take. My favorites were the two overseas trips I took last year. Italy was special because it was a trip my grandson and I had set the intention for, five years before. I loved realizing our dream and exploring that beautiful country with him and my daughter.

I also enjoyed the girls’ trip to Ireland, Scotland and England with my mom, sisters and niece. We had a blast visiting those ancestral countries together.

Nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award

4. What did you want to be as child?

I wanted to be many things, including a writer, a teacher and a veterinarian. Most of all, I wanted to be a mom. Gratefully, I have three amazing children and five gorgeous grandchildren. It feels like I’ve circled back around to one of my earliest desires…writing.

5. Do you have any pets? If so, what are they and what are their names?

I have three spoiled cats, siblings that I rescued as feral kittens: Shy Boy, Angel and Rilynn. Two of them are curled up with me right now.

6. What is your favorite morning beverage?

In place of breakfast, I drink celery juice and a regular or detox fruit smoothie. These two powerful drinks contribute to my health and wellbeing.

Nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award

7. What motivates you?

Right now, the desire for freedom to work remotely, from anywhere in the world, so I can travel more.

8. Who inspires you?

My children and grandchild inspire me. Also, anyone who lives as his or her quirky, outrageous, authentic self…no apologies, no regrets. That’s who I want to be…my best self living my best life.

9. Where would you like to visit and why?

I am and will always be drawn to Scotland, and Edinburgh especially. For a never-been-there-before experience, New Zealand tops my list. I’ve wanted to see New Zealand’s breathtaking countryside since watching The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, which were filmed there.

Nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award

10. If you could interview anyone for your blog, who would it be and why?

I would love to sit with author and speaker Elizabeth Gilbert and ask questions. Liz inspires me to live a fun and creative life and to pursue the things I am most passionate about.

11. Why did you decide to become a blogger?

My original intention for writing a blog was to create the habit of writing daily. My first year of writing Cindy Goes Beyond grew into daily exercises that pushed me out of my comfort zone and encouraged me to experience new things.

My desire now is to encourage others to see life in fresh, imaginative ways and to experience the journey with openness, joy and playfulness.

Nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award

My 11 Questions

I am nominating 11 bloggers for the Sunshine Bloggers Award, tagging them on Twitter and Instagram.

Here are my 11 questions:

1. What drew you to blogging?

2. How did you come up with your blog’s name?

3. What has most impacted your life in the last two years?

4. What one word best describes 2018?

5. What was your favorite game to play, as a child?

6. Where in your life could you be more courageous?

7. If you could spend one day with anyone, living or already passed on, who would you choose, and why?

8. What is your favorite city in the world?

9. If you could be in any movie, which one would you choose?

10. What song do you listen to, when you need an energy boost?

11. What new experience would you like to try, that you’ve never done before?

I’m grateful for Sara and healthyandhygge.com. And I am thankful to be nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award. I look forward to encouraging other bloggers and reading their responses.

Nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award

Meet the Campbells, Who Are #findingUSinMS

Arriving home late this evening, well after dark, I was thrilled to discover that a package had arrived for me. I wondered if I had ordered something and forgotten about it, until I spied the Canadian address.

I knew exactly what was within the envelope…a t-shirt from people I’ve never met who have nonetheless become dear to me.

Meet the Campbells, who are #findingusinms

Meet the Campbells Who are #findingusinms

What is MS?

MS, multiple sclerosis, is a chronic neurological condition that affects the central nervous system (CNS), which is comprised of the brain and spinal cord. In the CNS, nerve fibers are protected by a fatty layer called myelin. Myelin allows nerve signals to travel properly.

In MS, inflammation damages the myelin. This results in a loss of myelin, and wherever the myelin is destroyed, a damaged area of white matter known as a lesion occurs. Over time, hardened scar tissue develops at the lesion site. This hardened scar tissue, or sclerosis, may develop at multiple sites throughout the CNS, hence the name multiple sclerosis. This scarring disrupts the transmission of nerve signals that communicate a desired action from the brain, through the spinal cord, to various parts of the body.

MS is considered an autoimmune disease. There is evidence that suggests the Epstein Barr Virus may trigger the inflammatory response in the body. Currently there is no cure.

Multiple sclerosis is most commonly diagnosed in people between the ages of 20 and 40, although it can develop in young children, teens and older adults. It’s more common in women than men.

In the United States, about 200,000 people a year are diagnosed. Canada, where the Campbells live, has one of the highest rates of MS in the world, with 1 in 385 people living with the disease.

Meet the Campbells Who are #findingusinmsDan Campbell

The Campbells

I “met” Dan and Casey Campbell through Instagram. On that social media site the couple candidly shares their journey…the good days and occasionally the not so good ones. Dan was diagnosed two years ago, with progressive multiple sclerosis.

This lovely couple chooses to focus on nutrition, primarily fruits and veggies, as a way through this diagnosis. They believe in the healing benefits of plants, the support of friends and family, faith, and the transformative power of love.

Every step, or misstep, every triumph or setback, brings with it a lesson to learn. Dan and Casey embrace them all, make adjustments, and keep learning and growing and sharing with others.

I deeply appreciate their commitment to living the truth, Let food be thy medicine, and their love and support for each other. They are beacons of hope for others living with MS.

Meet the Campbells Who are #findingusinms

#findingusinms

Recently Dan and Casey launched a website, offering menu ideas, info and help to people living with MS. How clever is their hashtag, #findingusinms? It so accurately shows how their perspectives have shifted, viewing Dan’s diagnosis as more than a disease. They see their situation as opportunities to grow in faith, to learn, to heal, to truly discover themselves…the “us” part…in MS.

I love that about them. I want you to know and love and encourage them too, which is why I am sharing their story.

The Campbells very graciously sent me a t-shirt that I will gladly wear to increase awareness of multiple sclerosis. They included a sweet note, thanking me for journeying with them.

That’s what it’s all about, all of us walking together, walking each other home, arms linked literally and figuratively. No one is left behind. If one falters or stumbles, the others gather around to lift and encourage and support.

Walk with me. Walk with the Campbells. Check out their new website The Campbell Farm and look them up on Instagram at findingusinms. We can make a difference in this world, together.

Meet the Campbells Who are #findingusinms

Snow Day Gratitudes

What a surprise, to wake up this morning and discover it was a snow day! We don’t typically get much snow here in the Joplin area, and it’s a rare occurrence before January. As the day progressed we received about 3 1/2 – 4 inches, keeping school aged kids at home and providing me the opportunity for snow day gratitudes.

Snow Day Gratitudes

Autumn Collides with Winter

I’m way past the point where I enjoy playing in the snow. I feel the cold more deeply than I did as a child. However, I appreciate the beauty found in snow covered landscapes.

When I had to get out for a short time, I combined errands and accomplished everything in one trip. Greg drove for me, and although the roads weren’t yet icy, I appreciated the chauffeuring. His generosity freed me to take in the wintry transformation.

The photo below represents the day well…a brightly colored fall leaf lying in fresh snow. It’s beautiful and I’m grateful for the sight.

Snow Day Gratitudes

Thai Food to Warm the Body

My friend Mike surprised me a few days ago, with a gift certificate to my favorite Thai food restaurant in town. While we were out today, Greg and I stopped by Kinnaree to pick up a to-go order.

The little restaurant was packed! When I remarked on how busy they were the waitress paused to say when it’s cold, people warm up with Thai food.

I’m grateful for Kinnaree Thai Restaurant for their veggie meal options and exceptional service. And I’m thankful to Mike for the gift certificate. He made me smile, when I asked Why the gift? His answer: “Because you are being Cindy.”

I love that!

Snow Day Gratitudes

No Two Snowflakes Alike

I learned as a child that no two snowflakes are alike. Each one is wonderfully unique. As the snow gently fell around me, tiny snowflakes landed on my arm and I studied them, fascinated.

It doesn’t matter how old I get. I’m still in awe of nature and the beauty it offers when I have the eyes to see it. The minuscule flakes were perfectly formed, and they were each different from the other. What a marvelous life lesson snowflakes present, reminding me to just be myself, my unique, glorious, quirky self…and allow others the same freedom. I’m grateful for their magic.

Snow Day Gratitudes

Snow Day FaceTime

Another happy surprise came today in the form of a phone call. A snow day meant the grandkids got an extra day off added to the weekend. Aubrey called me, using a feature on our phones known as FaceTime. We could chat, we could see each other as we talked.

It was fun to carry our phones around and show each other what our respective yards looked like, under their blankets of snow.

With a touch of a button, Aubrey’s sweet face transformed into a “drawing”, a living, moving, talking animation. I love that my grandkids are all so techie. She laughed as I tried to duplicate what she did, without success. I’ll have to be shown the next time we are together. I’m grateful for the fun talk and for learning something new about my phone.

Snow Day Gratitudes

Winter Wonderland

As I snapped photos of this early snowfall, I was most drawn to the backyard garden. I’ve learned to appreciate this personal paradise year around. Each season brings its own charm and beauty.

I seldom see the garden cloaked in a layer of snow, even during the winter. It’s so breathtaking. Magical is a better word. Familiar plants and tables and containers change with the snow and I am enthralled with the unfamiliarity of this space that I know so well.

Every time I see snow falling and piling up in the garden, I wish for a working lamppost next to the path, similar to the one in the Narnia stories. Even without that beacon of light, the garden is welcoming and draws me in.

I’m so grateful for every gift this snow day brought to me today. If it’s the only one we receive this winter, it is enough.

Snow Day Gratitudes

Sunday Lullaby

Sunday is my favorite day of the week. Typically I don’t work on this day, other than an occasional open house for a client or a bit of online work. Sunday is devoted to self care, soul care. This overcast, wintry day allowed me to stay indoors and focus inward, finding my gratitudes in a sleepy, unhurried way as the day progressed.

Lull is a verb that means to quiet or soothe. A lullaby is a melody, sung with the intention of quieting the mind and the body. Today has been my Sunday Lullaby, crafted to nurture and refresh.

Sunday Lullaby

Dad Moore’s Socks

One of the things I delight in, on soulful Sundays, is that I remain in comfy clothes throughout the day. A pair of tights, a long sleeved t-shirt, and a well worn hoodie create my ensemble for the day. I don’t bother with makeup, and although I do run a brush over my hair, it stays a bit wild.

It’s too chilly to walk around the house with bare feet. However, I have the perfect solution for keeping my feet warm. While packing up the house in Arkansas, after Greg’s dad passed away, I found several packages of heavy socks. Bob Moore never opened these gifts from well meaning friends. I’m sure he was “saving” them for later.

Initially in the “donate” pile, I rescued those seven pairs of thick socks and brought them home. I think Dad Moore must laugh when he sees me wearing his socks, and feel pleased that he contributes in some way to my cozy comfort. I’m grateful for these sturdy socks that surround my feet with warmth.

Sunday Lullaby

A Father’s Sunday Lullaby

Dad Moore contributes to keeping my feet snug. My father, who has also crossed over in Spirit, has a role in keeping me comfortable as well.

When my dad left to undergo experimental treatment for pancreatic cancer in Texas, I sent a special blanket with him. My father loved motorcycles all his life, favoring Harley Davidsons. To keep him warm while he endured treatments that chilled him, I gifted him with a large Harley Davidson woven throw. It gave me a small measure of peace to imagine him snuggled beneath that black and gold blanket.

After his death, my stepmom allowed me to bring the throw home as a keepsake. I think of my sweet dad every time I cover up with this blanket that once covered him. It comforts me in ways that go beyond keeping me toasty. I’m grateful for this simple throw, and for the memories connected to it. Wrapped in the blanket is the closest thing to having my father’s arms around me. It was Dad’s Sunday lullaby to me today, cocooning me in his love.

Sunday Lullaby

Vegan Under Pressure

A pressure pot is one of those kitchen appliances that I didn’t know I needed. I’m so thankful that my daughter Adriel and son-in-law Nate gave me one for Christmas a couple of years ago!

I can create healthy, flavorful, plant based meals quickly. It perfectly steams veggies too, in minutes. Evolved way beyond the old style pressure cookers from my childhood, these pots are safe and extremely easy to use.

Sunday Lullaby

Chunky Red Lentil Stew

The kids gifted me with a couple of vegan pressure pot cookbooks as well. I created a warm and soothing midday meal using a favorite recipe from one of the books.

First I prepared brown rice in the pressure pot. In half the time it would take using a rice cooker, I have perfectly cooked brown rice. After moving the rice to a bowl and covering it to keep warm, I prepare the stew, hearty with carrots, onions, garlic, tomatoes and red lentils, and fragrant with curry and garam masala spices.

A few minutes of prep time and six minutes cooking in the pressure pot, and the stew is ready. I’m grateful for wholesome meals such as this one that nourish my body and soothe me on a gray day. Check out the recipe HERE.

Sunday Lullaby

A Time to Read

After everything else was completed today, in a leisurely fashion, I practiced the ultimate self care activity. I curled up with a cup of hot tea and a book…a stack of books actually.

Browsing through The Karma Chow Cookbook inspired future culinary creations. I’m learning how crucial my liver is to my health, in Liver Rescue. And I began a second read through The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life.

This Thomas Moore book is destined to lead the way for me, into 2019. I thought of the book, when it was confirmed to me that enchantment is my word and theme for next year. A quote from the book came into my awareness earlier in the week, serving as an invitation to pick up Re-Enchantment again.

Enchantment

I’ve already used a pen to mark up the introduction. I’m never quite sure where my adventures are going to take me…however, deep things, soulful things, are stirring. This book will be my initial guide into the unknown, and I am grateful for it.

Tonight it inspired the title for this post, as it created anticipation for what’s to come.

“Deep in enchantment is the experience of being lured into reverie, dreamland, by the musical charms of the enchanter. The world is a lullaby, giving us a lull in our daily activity so that the soul can come out and find its refreshment.” Thomas Moore

That’s what this day of rest is, a Sunday lullaby that creates a lull in my normal daily activities…so my soul can come out and find refreshment. I am quieted by the day’s lullaby, and wonderfully restored.

Sunday Lullaby

Movie Review: Outlaw King

The Scotsman Robert the Bruce, also known as the Outlaw King, began his reign in 1306 as a fugitive. This historical man is the subject of a new Netflix film, which released Friday on the network.

As one with Scottish ancestry, and a deep love for the country, I couldn’t wait to watch this biographical drama.

Movie Review Outlaw King

Outlaw King

Outlaw King stars Chris Pine, Stephen Dillane, Billy Howle, Tony Curran, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Florence Pugh and Josie O’Brien. David Mackenzie directed the film, which carries an R rating, for violence, language and brief nudity. Outlaw King has a run time of 2 hours and 1 minute.

Movie Review Outlaw King

Oppression and Civil Skirmishes

This story takes place immediately after William Wallace’s efforts to thwart the English by uniting the Scottish nobles against them. King Edward I (Dillane) of England seeks to control the Scots, and any desire to place a king of their own on the throne, by demanding taxation, pressing men into armed service, and creating alliances with nobility.

During this time of unrest and uncertainty, Wallace is killed by the English, inciting rage throughout Scotland.

Robert the Bruce (Pine), a descendant of Scotland’s King David, decides to challenge Edward I. First he eliminates a powerful rival for the throne, then he has himself declared king, becoming Robert I.

Robert the Bruce and his wife Elizabeth de Burgh (Pugh) are inaugurated King and Queen of Scots at Scone on March 25, 1306.

Movie Review Outlaw King

Fugitive King

The news immediately sends a ripple through Scotland and England. King Edward sends his son, Edward (Howle), Prince of Wales, to handle the upstart. Most of the Scottish nobility don’t recognize Bruce as king and fail to support him.

Robert the Bruce narrowly escapes capture when an English army attacks during the Battle of Methven. He sends his wife and daughter Marjorie (O’Brien) to safety while he becomes a fugitive. Not only is Robert trying to establish an independent Scotland, he’s also facing a civil war.

Surrounded by a small group of men led by his friend Angus Macdonald (Curran) and wild man James Douglas (Taylor-Johnson), the outlaw king strategizes. As they seek to draw more men to their side, for the battles that will come, the group seizes one castle after another. The Bruce makes the decision that every castle he takes is to be destroyed because for King Edward to win Scotland, he must garrison Scotland. And he can’t do that unless he has castles to seize.

Movie Review Outlaw King

Fight With Me

As more of Scotland’s people rally to the new king, England’s Prince of Wales closes in. King Edward I dies en route to battle the usurper. His son, whom many see as a weaker man, assumes leadership of the troops.

Robert I uses ingenious tactics to overthrow the superior military force that approaches. He arms hundreds of men with 20-foot-long spears that they hold, straight out in front of them. And he takes advantage of the boggy, marshy land that will become the battlefield. The Bruce deliberately chooses an area where the strength of the English troops can’t be brought into play. The English are knights in armor on horses, and the Scots are men on foot. They lead the unsuspecting English into the mire of the marshes where they become trapped.

Robert’s first victory as king comes in that place, on May 1307, at what is known as the Battle of Loudoun Hill.

Movie Review Outlaw King

My Thoughts on Outlaw King

I appreciate the attention to detail and the authenticity in this gritty action packed film. Fact checking is one of the things I do with historical movies and this one is extremely accurate in the telling of Bruce’s story.

I watched the unfolding of Outlaw King with teary eyes. This was a difficult time in Scotland’s history. Robert the Bruce sacrificed much to keep his country independent. The Scottish people suffered. As the English searched for the fugitive king, they ransacked and burned villages as they went, killing the men, sending the women and children to England.

Bruce’s wife and daughter were taken captive as well and sent out of the country. Fortunately they were recovered, unharmed, later. The King and Queen of Scotland raised a family together. Their descendant, James VI, later became king over both Scotland and England.

Movie Review Outlaw KingThe actor portraying James Douglas, who would become known as Black Douglas.

My Gratitudes

It’s easy to come up with five gratitudes, in connection with Outlaw King.

I’m grateful for this movie, which is in my favorite genre, historical drama. I especially appreciate its accuracy. My Scottish blood thrills to the fierceness of the people, and their desire to live in freedom. My own fierce independence is surely a result of my Scottish ancestry. And finally, seeing the mountains and rivers and lochs of Scotland pierces my heart and creates such a desire to “go home”.

Outlaw King drew from me hearty cheers for battles won, and a sigh of longing for Scotland. I’ll be there again soon. And when I next stand on Scottish soil I will pause to express gratitude for Robert the Bruce, who did so much to unite this beautiful country.

Movie Review Outlaw King

The Art of Snuggling

This cold day, with hints of winter’s impending arrival, encouraged me greatly to stay indoors. Not only did I spend the majority of my time in my creative studio, I practiced the art of coziness, the fine art of snuggling. What I love about practicing gratitude is that I can be aware of what I am thankful for, no matter where I am and what I am doing.

The Art of Snuggling

Snuggling Myself

Although snuggling would seem to imply it is not a solitary experience, I see it as a form of self care. The word can mean “cuddle up”, however, its primary definition is “to settle or move into a warm, comfortable position, protected from the cold.” Originally, the word was a nautical term used for preparing for bad weather. Even though I spent the entire day in my studio, except for a brief excursion into the garden, I did indeed practice snuggling and protecting myself from the cold.

Star Trek Short – Calypso

While I alternated back and forth today, between real estate work and blogging tasks, I paused and snuggled in to watch a Star Trek related short on my computer. I am a life time Trekkie, and I appreciate all things connected to this franchise. The new Star Trek Discovery series, streaming on CBS All Access, is marvelously good. Since the new season doesn’t begin until January 2019, the writers and creators are keeping us in anticipation by offering a monthly Short Trek. With a run time of about 20 minutes, they are easy to watch and oh…so…good.

The second short released last night. Titled Calypso, the story is set 1000 years into the future. An injured man, who calls himself Craft, is picked up in his damaged ship and transported aboard the Discovery. He wakes up in sickbay, alone on the ship. The crew left a millennia ago and never returned. Eager to find his way home, after fighting in a war for a decade, Craft nonetheless gets to know the ship’s AI, Zora.

Stay With Me

She is nothing like other artificial intelligences, that evolve and become a menace. Left alone for so many years, she has become self aware, humorous, kind and eager to please. She has also discovered what it means to be lonely. Zora is delighted to have a companion on board Discovery. She charms her guest with foods such as waffles, and a Taco Tuesday meal, even though Craft doesn’t know what a taco or a Tuesday is.

Zora shares her favorite thing in all the universe with her new friend…a 1957 film Funny Face, starring Fred Astaire and Audrey Hepburn. Craft and Zora discover they can share a dance together…and perhaps even share feelings.

In Greek mythology, Calypso lived on the island of Ogygia, and kept Odysseus there for seven years, to ease her loneliness. There are definitely Calypso elements in this short. Overall, it surprised with its depth of emotion, from lighthearted and funny to sweet and poignant. Calypso represents why I am so grateful for this boundary breaking sci-fi show.  I can’t wait for the next two shorts…and the return of Discovery.

The Art of Snuggling

Heading Off a Cold

There is more than one way to ward of the cold. I awoke this morning feeling a bit sniffly, a bit congested in the chest. When I don’t feel my best, I’ve learned exactly what to do. I shift into the deepest of self care modes.

My first line of defense, against a sniffle or an out and out cold, is to up my supplements. I added an extra dose of elderberry sugar free syrup, took a big spoonful of raw organic honey and added more ester C, a powerful form of the vitamin. Read about how these supplements support the immune system HERE. I’m grateful that I am aware of how my body works, and how to best support it when I need a little extra care.

Art of Snuggling

A Pot of Tea

My next line of defense against a cold is to brew not a cup of tea, but a pot of herbal goodness. I added two teaspoons of fennel seed, two teaspoons of lemon balm and two teaspoons of nettle to a large mesh tea ball, and steeped the tea for 15 minutes.

My tea cup was never empty, as it sat within reach on my writing table. That combination of herbs is particularly potent in dealing with allergies or the onset of a cold. Nettle is my go to remedy for the sniffles or a scratchy throat and it works every time. After a day of sipping on hot tea, I feel so much better. The sniffles are gone and so is the congestion in my chest. I’m thankful for nature’s bounty and its healing properties. I feel snuggled and cared for.

Art of Snuggling

Bringing the Outdoors In

With temperatures dipping into the teens tonight, I am not the only one in need of snuggling. I stopped working long enough, during the warmest part of the day, to bring in several plants that would not survive the night’s frosty bite.

Most of my annuals will show the effects of the cold tomorrow, signaling the end of the growing season. However, I moved a leggy houseplant in from the front porch, relocating it to the living room. My cat Rilynn sat and studied it for a long time, working out I suppose why I brought this plant inside. Also moving in from the front deck is a jasmine plant in a large ceramic container.

In the backyard garden, I deconstructed my Fairy Garden, with a bit of sadness, moving the resin pieces indoors and transplanting the miniature spruce tree into a container. The little tree, the jasmine plant and a copper pitcher housing an oregano plant all now occupy my creative studio. I’ve turned to look at the little arrangement several times, lured by the faint scent of oregano and spruce. I have to admit, I’ve smiled every time I look at those plants. My fairy garden pieces are grouped in a new way with these growing living reminders of summer. That corner of my studio feels very cozy and inviting. I will be extremely thankful for these lovely additions in the deep of winter.

Art of Snuggling

Snuggling Buddy

To remind me of the advantages of snuggling together, two of my three cats joined me in the studio, taking turns curling up on my lap. Cats are famous for seeking out the warmest place in a home, and making it their napping spot.

The cold today has kept the felines indoors as well. They snuggled on beds and draped themselves over heater vents and found brief patches of sunshine streaming in this afternoon. Although they make it more difficult to type…insisting on having their ears scratched while I work…their unconditional love and snuggles are welcomed.

I am finally about to leave my studio, after hours and hours creating and working and learning within it. There is a Netflix movie tonight, about Scotland’s Robert the Bruce calling my name. It’s time to take snuggling up a notch and cuddle up in bed with a cat or two…and immerse myself in Scotland’s colorful history.

Art of Snuggling

An Enchanted World

I currently dwell in that overlapping space created by the remaining weeks of 2018…and the alluring possibilities of 2019. It’s an enchanted world, which serendipitously, aligns perfectly with my new word for next year. Most of my gratitudes today flowed from this sense of enchantment.

An Enchanted World

An Enchanted World

I’m grateful for memories that pop up on Facebook. A quote from Thomas Moore appeared, one that I saved several years ago. Moore’s book, The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life, is the source of the words and a must read as I enter the new year. I was charmed by the book when I first read it, long before I knew that “enchanted” would be my word for 2019.

The queen chess piece, next’s year symbol, has appeared daily since I received that image. However, the words “enchanted” or “enchantment” have appeared less frequently, albeit often enough to capture my attention and warm my heart with anticipation. Seeing Thomas Moore’s beautiful words set the tone for the day, and promised so much for the months ahead.

An Enchanted World

Creating a Mood Board

One of my assignments in a 30 day blog challenge is to create a mood board on Pinterest. The purpose is to select images and colors that draw me and inspire me, and connect to my desires for the blog. I have two blogs, so I started with this one, pinning photos to a private board that I named Mood Board for Cindy Goes Beyond.

As I thought about what Going Beyond means to me, and what I want to offer to others, I realized I was drawn to the colors turquoise, green and blue. Suddenly vintage Volkswagen vans began popping up in my searches. I love the idea of creating a new logo featuring a vintage…think hippie…VW van. That imagery works for me on so many levels!

An Enchanted World

Living Life Beyond the Edges

I’m grateful for the exercise and I’ll be developing this idea further. For now, I played around with the colors and concept, using Canva to try out various fonts with VW vans.

The van represents adventure to me, going beyond my boundaries, exploring the world, and freedom. I’m excited to see where this simple exercise ultimately leads me.

An Enchanted World

Cranberry Vanilla Tea

I carried a mug of hot tea into the creative studio, to sip on as I completed computer work. I know it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but a display at Natural Grocers appealed to me on this cold, overcast day. I couldn’t resist purchasing a holiday blend tea.

Creating my own enchanted world means I bring in the magical elements that are crucial for me. Hot herbal tea is my drink of choice, and one I indulge in every afternoon. The cranberry vanilla tea was delicious, fragrant and the perfect antidote to a gray day.

An Enchanted World

Do You Like What You See?

As I “woke up” my laptop, Microsoft randomly selected a background photo for the screen’s wallpaper. I was immediately transported back to Italy, as an image of Venice appeared.

How perfect. I’m thinking today about creating, living in and engaging with an enchanted world…and Venice appears, with its gorgeous canals and bridges. This city has to be one of the most enchanted places in the world.

Across the top of my computer screen, the words appeared: Like what you see?

Tears filled my eyes and I got goosebumps. The Divine might as well have posed the question, and may indeed have done so.

Yes…yes I like what I see, and not just the lovely photo on my screen. I like what I see in this enchanted world, and I love this big, bold, enchanted life.

“Starting from the premise that we can no longer afford to live in a disenchanted world, The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life shows that a profound, enchanted engagement with life is not a childish thing to be put away with adulthood, but a necessity for one’s personal and collective survival.”

It’s necessary for my survival. Bring on the enchantment.

An Enchanted World

Order Thomas Moore’s book below. And enjoy it with a cup of hot Cranberry Vanilla tea!

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Movie Review: Bohemian Rhapsody

I’m taking a slight departure from the 5 Daily Gratitudes. Today I’m at last sharing the movie review for Bohemian Rhapsody, the musical biopic of Queen lead singer, Freddie Mercury. I’ll combine all five of today’s gratitudes with appreciation for this film.

Movie Review Bohemian Rhapsody

Bohemian Rhapsody

This film stars Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joseph Mazzello, Tom Hollander and Mike Myers. Directed by Byran Singer initially and later by Dexter Fletcher, Bohemian Rhapsody carries a PG-13 rating, for adult themes and language. It has a run time of 2 hours and 14 minutes.

Movie Review Bohemian Rhapsody

From Smile to Queen

Bohemian Rhapsody is based on the true story of the rise of the legendary musical group Queen. Initially called Smile, the band has just lost its lead vocalist when a young unknown singer, with the self-given name of Freddie Mercury (Malek), boldly asks to step in as the replacement. The other band members, Brian May (Lee), Roger Taylor (Hardy) and John Deacon (Mazzello), reluctantly agree to let Freddie join the group.

It’s a good decision. Freddie’s gifted voice, high energy dance moves on stage and unwavering sense of self, launches the band onto the road of success. Freddie’s girlfriend at the time, Mary Austin (Boynton), encourages him to find his own sense of style, which he does, outlandishly.

“I love the way you move on stage. The whole room belongs to you. Don’t you see what you can be?” Mary Austin

As they rise in popularity, the band changes their name to Queen, at Freddie’s insistence. They acquire a team of managers, a label deal overseen by Ray Foster (Myers) and a legal advisor, Jim Beach (Hollander), who later assumes the role of sole manager.

Movie Review Bohemian Rhapsody

Meteoric Rise

Freddie shatters stereotypes as the band gains an extraordinary following. With his showmanship and ability to connect with audiences, and the group’s unconventional and revolutionary sound and lyrics, Queen garners recognition and incredible success. Feeling the need to continually create fresh songs and sounds, the band presents the song “Bohemian Rhapsody” to Foster, eager to release it as a single from their newest album, A Night at the Opera. The six minute long song, with its mix of hard rock, ballad and opera, is deemed too strange and too long by Foster.

The band decides to go out on their own and promote their song…and the rest, as they say, is history.

Live Aid Concert

At the height of their rise to stardom, influenced by people with darker motives,  Freddie strikes out on his own for a time. But in trying to launch a solo career, he suffers greatly.  Cut off from the band members he considers family, and from Mary, whom he declares is the love of his life, Freddie flounders. He becomes caught in a cycle of drugs, alcohol and outrageous parties that last for days. Ultimately, Freddie returns to Queen and to the friendship with Mary, who has been his anchor throughout his adult life.

The band reunites in time to perform at the Live Aid Concert in July of 1985. Even though he has just received an AIDS diagnosis, Freddie leads Queen onto the stage and through one of the greatest performances in the history of rock music.

Movie Review Bohemian RhapsodyRami Malek as Freddie on the left, and Freddie at the real Live Aid Concert, on the right.

My Thoughts on Bohemian Rhapsody

I’ve appreciated the band Queen since my late teens. I have not really understood why, other than I loved their quirky lyrics on some of their songs. They performed a wide range of music, however, from songs with operatic overtones to classic rock to ballads. I’ve turned to their songs over and over again, during my life, and thrilled to movie soundtracks that included “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions”. When I learned there would be a movie depicting Freddie Mercury and Queen, I was excited.

And I was not disappointed. It’s fun to see how the band came together and hear the beginnings of songs that later inspired the whole world. Those “behind the curtain” type of scenes made me smile.

One of the taglines of the film, however, is what drew me.

“The only thing more extraordinary then their music, is his story. The music you know, the story you don’t.”

Learning about Freddie’s story, I finally discovered why I have always been drawn to Queen.

Movie Review Bohemian Rhapsody

A Bohemian’s Story

I was inspired by Freddie’s story. Yes, there are dark bits, and sad parts, and his crazy, over the top antics….and there is brilliance, and that powerful sense of self, and his desire to make people, especially people who live on the edges, feel connected. Freddie defied labels. If he called himself anything, it was a misfit. And he wanted other misfits to feel that they belonged to him, to Queen. He had a marvelous way of bringing people together and creating a family.

Becoming Freddie

Rami Malek brings Freddie back to life in amazing ways. He wore a mouth piece, to duplicate Freddie’s endearing overbite. And his singing voice, through the power of technology, was merged with Freddie’s and Canadian singer Marc Martel, whose voice is very similar to Mercury’s. Rami had a movement coach who helped him to duplicate every nuance of Freddie’s mannerisms. All that work shows. Rami becomes Freddie.

The man who shows us who Freddie was, has a wonderful quote that sums up what inspires me about the Queen lead singer.

“Freddie was a revolutionary. He was a defiant human being who refused to be segregated and marginalized in any way. You couldn’t put a label on him and what he wanted to do is live his most authentic self. And I think that’s what he preached with his music, and his relationship with his audience…to be exactly what you want to be. I hope people can sing as loudly as Freddie did and own every truth of theirs, and not feel like they have to hide anything…and to enjoy exactly who they were meant to be.”  Rami Malek

Yes, those words, that’s it. He shone brightly, Freddie Mercury did, and for too brief of a time. I wished I’d known more about him while he lived.

And so my gratitudes today are these: I am grateful for movies like Bohemian Rhapsody that give me a deeper glimpse into an extraordinary life. My appreciation for Freddie Mercury has expanded. I’m thankful for his music, for his life and most of all, for his desire to be who he knew he was created to be. He offered himself to the world through his music. And my bohemian spirit connects with this man, this self proclaimed misfit, and joins his rhapsody, his enthusiastic, ecstatic expression of being.

Movie Review Bohemian Rhapsody

 

 

 

Beautiful Gratitudes

It’s been a full day. Beautiful gratitudes swirled around me as I moved from privilege to task to tea time to a special Girls’ Night with my mom and sister. Take a peek.

Beautiful Gratitudes

The Privilege of Voting

After my discussion with my grandson yesterday, I was ready to vote this morning. Rather than seeing my participation as a duty or an obligation, I felt gratitude for the privilege of making choices.

Others appeared to feel the same way. The lines were long at the voting place and yet people were cheerful and patient. I was happy to add a selfie to my grandson’s Facebook post, letting him know, “I voted!”

Beautiful Gratitudes

Create a Video

One of my blog related tasks today was to create a promotional video to add to one of my social media pages. I write two blogs. This video was for Journey With Healthy Me. Using an app called Videoshop, I put together a short video featuring 14 supplements for general health and wellbeing, as recommended by Anthony William in his new book Liver Rescue.

Technology can be a challenge for me. However, one of my character traits is determination. When that determination is coupled with the strong desire to succeed, I most often do. I’m thankful for fun technology and that I am a continual learner. In a short time I had a cool visual aid.

Check it out HERE.

Beautiful Gratitudes

Thai Welcome Tea

The beautiful gratitudes continued, as afternoon teatime approached. My niece Ashley recently gave me a package of dried Butterfly Pea Flowers. When brewed, the flowers create a dark blue tea. I did research as water boiled, and discovered that in Thailand honey and lemon juice are added to create Thai Welcome Tea. Adding lemon or lime juice causes the liquid to change colors. Intrigued, I made the Welcome Tea.

I poured boiling water over 2 teaspoons of dried butterfly pea flowers and covered the mug, allowing the tea to steep for 10 minutes. The water immediately turned cobalt blue. After removing the blossoms, I carefully sipped the hot tea. The earthy flavor is similar to high quality green tea. I stirred in a tablespoon of raw organic honey, with no detectable change in color. However, when I squeezed in a few drops of fresh lemon juice, the color shifted to a rich purple.

I appreciate the gift from my niece and the gorgeous and tasty drink. Read more about Thai Welcome Tea, including its health benefits.

Beautiful Gratitudes

Salad Supper

My sister Linda volunteered to prepare a healthy dinner tonight, at our mom’s house. Of course I said yes!

She combined an assortment of chopped veggies and apples in big bowls, and placed containers of avocado, cucumber, cilantro, black beans, cherry tomatoes, walnuts, salsa, and non-GMO tortilla chips on the dining table. I brought my own salad dressing that I had made at home, and Mom stirred up her own blend. Our stepdad joined us for a satisfying feast. We added additional toppings from the choices on the table while we discussed food and being the healthiest versions of ourselves.

I’m grateful for my sister who blessed us with this great meal.

Beautiful Gratitudes

Girls’ Chat Births a Book Club

After our delicious meal, my stepdad left us girls so we could chat. We covered a wide range of topics, although our conversations primarily centered around family and health. All three of us purchased Liver Rescue, by Anthony William, a truly life changing book about detoxifying and healing the liver and the body.

We’ve decided to get together once a week…perhaps we can take turns providing healthy meals…and discuss the book as we read though it. I’m excited and thankful for the opportunity to learn together and support each other on our healing journeys.

Family and wellbeing are two of my most beautiful gratitudes. I love when blessings flow and when they overlap!

Beautiful Gratitudes

Order your copy of Liver Rescue below.

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