Sevrin’s Musical Dream

This week seems to have an ongoing theme that revolves around manifesting dreams into reality. I’ve addressed fears and I’ve been reminded that my dream is valid and doable.

Today an ordinary shopping trip to a local electronics store to price laptops resulted in another realization: it’s important to help others achieve their dreams. I met a young man working in the store named Sevrin. This post recognizes Sevrin’s musical dream. It’s my small way of helping him as he takes steps to create the life he longs for.

Sevrin’s Musical Dream

Sharing a Dream

This bright and helpful employee offered his assistance as Greg and I looked at computers. As he shared about the pros of using a Mac laptop, it was obvious he knew electronics. His information was helpful and that might have been the end of our conversation.

However, Sevrin shared further, explaining how he uses his Mac to create music. His face lit up as he talked enthusiastically about using technology to arrange and produce music. Greg asked Sevrin if he produces music professionally, and his answer struck an empathetic chord in my own heart.

“I wish,” Sevrin said with a smile and a bit of a laugh.

Simple words, full of meaning, full of longing. I wish. Oh, how I understand that answer.

Sevrin’s Musical Dream

Creating the Dream

When Sevrin told us that he had created a CD, I wanted to know more. Titled Serum, Sevrin’s musical dream begins with this first offering, released earlier this year. Classified as Alternative, Serum contains a collection of songs, a blend of instrumental music, percussion and technology.

I asked about availability and promised to listen…not because I had to but because I was genuinely interested in Sevrin’s creation and his dream. As we walked out of the store, thankful for the assistance and the conversation, I was already looking online for Serum.

I found it.

Sevrin’s Musical Dream

Helping Others Achieve Their Dreams

Serum, with its 14 songs, can be found on YouTube, SoundCloud and Spotify, and it is available for purchase through iTunes. I opened the album in Spotify first and listened to the first couple of songs on the drive home.

The songs, which are musical only, are fresh, uplifting and engaging. I appreciate music of all kinds and find many parallels between musical creation and life’s journey. At home I felt inspired to open Serum through the YouTube app on my iPhone and listen as I baked a rustic apple galette. Sevrin’s dream, in musical form, provided the perfect background for my own creative efforts.

Les Brown wrote, “Help others achieve their dreams and you will achieve your own.”

We are all walking each other home. Helping another realize his or her dream brings me one step closer to realizing mine. Creativity flows freely. It is not limited or offered sparingly. Expressing it isn’t a competition, it is collaborative manifestation that contributes to something greater than the individuals creating each part.

This afternoon, I purchased Sevrin’s music. It’s my way of applauding his gift and his determination and acknowledging his dream. I believe in him and I hope he continues on his musical journey.

You can encourage Sevrin too. Check out his music. Listen to Shimmer and know that you too are contributing to another’s dream and birthing it into reality.

Sevrin’s Musical Dream

Inviting Fear to Pull Up a Chair

Every morning, I get an email containing a personalized message, from the Universe. Started by Andy Dooley in 1998, Notes from the Universe grew from a subscriber list of 38 to more than 750,000 in 185 countries. I’ve been receiving these emails for ten years. They often make me smile or stir my heart or resonate with me as deep truth.

Such was the case today. I received this note:

“Sometimes, Cindy, instead of running from something scary in your life, it’s easier to learn not to be scared of it. Let it stay. Pull up a chair. Share some iced tea. 

Besides, Cindy, you’re bigger… and you have wings.”

I immediately identified with this note, in a very personal way.

Inviting Fear to Pull Up a Chair

Overshadowed by Fear

I grew up afraid of the dark. That’s a common fear for kids. Not being able to see in the dark or anxiety about the unknown is the psychological reason given for this childhood phobia.

However, being a child born with the gift of perceiving the spirit world, my fear was rooted in what I could see and hear and feel in the darkness. As the first born child in my family, I usually had a bedroom to myself. The most terrifying situation for me growing up was waking up in the middle of the night, alone in the darkness.

And…I did not outgrow that fear. I slept with a nightlight or stairwell light on until I was well into my 40s.

Inviting Fear to Pull Up a Chair

Facing Fear

I made a decision when I reached my late 40s. Tired of the iron grip terror had on me, I radically shifted. I had never lived alone because of the sense of dread that overcame me each evening as the sun set. To move beyond my fear of the dark, I had to face my fears head on. For the first time in my life, I chose to live on my own and take an inner journey into the very heart of darkness.

It wasn’t easy, however this battle was necessary. At stake was my creativity, my freedom and at the core, my identity. I could not accept who I was while expending huge amounts of energy doing everything I could to avoid scary situations. And trust me, I spent a lifetime attempting to control the elements that triggered fear. I was tired of avoiding, tired of being afraid.

Inviting Fear to Pull Up a Chair

Inviting Fear to Stay

These are the steps I took to move past fear:

• I allowed myself to feel it. I’d spent so many years trying to prevent being afraid. It was time to allow fear to be present. As this morning’s note suggested, I invited fear in.

• Journaling daily helped me to uncover deeper issues. My fear stemmed from being different, from seeing and hearing things other people didn’t. Embracing who I am and accepting my unique gifts allowed me to reframe my fears and gave me a fresh perspective. As fearful as I was, nothing ever hurt me. I began to express gratitude for being me.

• Meditation helped me to calm anxieties and slow my heart rate and breathing. I learned about energy and Divine protection. And I learned how to use energy practices to make myself feel safe, even when alone in the dark.

• I recognized that I was never really alone and that I had been protected my whole life. I consciously asked the Divine to surround me with protective white light and I sent that light throughout my dwelling place, cleansing the space of any low, dark or negative energy. Every night I asked for angels to stand guard at each door and window.

• For a few months, I played music every night as I slept. The sound of the group Third Day was comforting to me, and filled the darkness with praise and songs of worship.

Inviting Fear to Pull Up a Chair

Inviting Fear to Pull Up a Chair

The evening arrived, after months of intense inner work, when I felt ready to invite fear in for a long chat. I turned off all the lights in my home, lit a few white candles and sat quietly in a chair. Then I waited, taking long slow deep breaths, sending out energy, and asking for Divine protection.

When fear showed up, I allowed it to stay, figuratively getting cozy with it. I worked through many emotions that night, and again and again, I looked at fear without flinching. Eventually fear bowed and stepped aide. And beyond it doors that had long been barricaded opened wide, revealing the most amazing gifts.

My life shifted that night. Fear’s icy grip around my heart loosened and then fell away. And my inner child came out of hiding. We continue to get to know each other again, my inner playful, artistic child and I.

Does fear ever show up now? Yes. Fear is a bully. Intimidation is its favorite ploy. But I know what to do when I feel the lightest touch of disquiet. I don’t allow the uneasiness to escalate to full blown terror. Instead, I breathe. Meditate. Ask for Divine protection. Express gratitude. Examine my surroundings to see what’s going on, in this world and the spirit world. And I check in with myself, to see what deeper lessons are being offered in the experience. I prevail.

Fear and I have yet to share a glass of iced tea. However, I brew an excellent cup of hot herbal tea. So pull up a chair, Fear. Stay a while. Teach me what I need to learn. And have a cup of tea. I’ll tell you a story…

Inviting Fear to Pull Up a Chair

Series Review Manifest

I appreciate cleverness in a movie or series, so much so that I am currently watching three engrossing and intriguing shows. I’ll be sharing reviews about all of them in upcoming days. The first review is for the new drama mystery, Manifest.

Series Review Manifest

Manifest Series

Manifest stars Josh Dallas, Melissa Roxburgh, Athena Karkanis, J.R. Ramirez, Luna Blaise, Jack Messina, Parveen Kaur and Victoria Cartagena. Episodes, with a run time of 1 hour, air on NBC Mondays at 9:00 pm central time.

When Montego Flight 828 lands safely after a short but turbulent flight, everyone on board is relieved. However, passengers immediately notice that their cell phones can’t get service. And the number of emergency vehicles in attendance seems out of proportion with the rough landing.

The passengers are asked to exit the plane while on the tarmac, instead of being taxied to the terminal gate. Ben Stone (Dallas) disembarks with his sister Michaela (Roxburgh) and young son Cal (Messina). Due to an overbooked airplane earlier, the three volunteered for this later flight. Ben’s wife Grace (Karkanis), daughter Olive (Blaise) and parents left on the original flight as scheduled.

Series Review Manifest

To their surprise, the passengers of Flight 828 learn that in the few hours they were in the air, five years have passed. The plane was declared missing, and its crew and passengers listed as presumed dead.

Cal’s twin sister Olive is a teenager, while he remains a child. The leukemia that threatens the boy’s life is now treatable, because medical researcher Saanvi (Kaur), who was also on the mysterious flight, sent in her findings as she boarded the plane.

As excited as people are to see their family members alive, much has changed in five years. Ben and Michaela’s mother died. Michaela’s fiancé Jared (Ramirez) married her best friend Lourdes (Cartagena). Relationships feel awkward and strained. People who mourned their supposed losses moved on and created new lives.

As the passengers of Flight 828 adjust to a time leap, they discover that they too have changed. They are more than they were previously, with heightened awareness and new abilities that trouble them. Deeper mysteries are unfolding.

Series Review Manifest

What is Manifesting?

Like many who watched episode one of Manifest, I saw a strong resemblance to another series from the early 2000s, Lost. In both shows there’s an airplane involved and passengers who end up in an unusual situation. Coincidences are abundant, with numbers playing a key role in the whole Lost series and in the first episode of Manifest.

I appreciated Lost, so any similarities were fine with me. Although, I do hope for a different type of ending for this new drama, if it runs for six years. That’s a long time to invest in a series and Lost fell short in its series finale for many viewers including me.

I am intrigued by Manifest. By episode two I wasn’t thinking of Lost any longer. I was trying to think ahead of the show and grasp where the story is heading and what is happening. There are mysteries to unravel for sure. And a creepy, menacing element appeared in the second episode that unnerved me.

I like that the characters’ lives are messy and disjointed, as they would be if five years passed for some and only hours for others. Shows and films about growth, transformation and acceptance are among my favorites to watch and Manifest has caught my attention and my interest.

Episode three airs Monday, October 8 on NBC. I’ll be watching.

Series Review Manifest

Leaving a Footprint

This morning began as “one of those days”. Seemingly out of nowhere, fear popped up and assaulted me. The enormity of my dreams seemed overwhelming, especially when contrasted with my current reality.

Oh, I can look back and see how far I’ve come in the last few years. I can track each step, see each faint footprint of my journey. Looking ahead, however, into new and unknown terrain can both excite me and intimidate me.

When faced with uncertainty, I am aware of the danger of closing off my heart, as a protective measure. I refuse to close. To stay open I asked for Divine help. Dream Giver, can you show me today that my dreams are not impossible?”

Leaving a Footprint

Signs Throughout the Day

When I ask a question, I receive an answer. It’s vital that I remain in a state of openness and high awareness, because the answers can come from a variety of sources.

Leaving a Footprint

I Am

This large photographic mural covers the side of a building in downtown Joplin. My daughter happens to work in this building, which is why my eyes were drawn to it this morning as I passed by.

Titled I Am Joplin, the mural is made up of black and white photos of people holding signs that state…I Am. The subjects of the photos completed the signs with words such as Hopeful, Grateful, Silly and A Dreamer.

Seeing the mural reminded me of the power contained in the words I Am. Whatever we add after those two words reveals what we think and more importantly, what we believe is true. I received this message and immediately applied it, whispering I am a Dreamer. I am Capable. I am Creative. And, I am creating the life of my dreams.

Leaving a Footprint

I Can Go the Distance

Another answer that I received this afternoon came unexpectedly through a song from the Disney film, Hercules. I suddenly, out of the blue, thought of the singer Michael Bolton. Well known in the 80s and 90s for ballads and soulful tunes, I still appreciate Michael’s rich, distinctive voice.

Curious after he came to mind, I looked him up on Instagram. His newest release from 2017 is titled Songs of Cinema. I opened the album in the music app Spotify, where songs can be listened to on shuffle. When I clicked shuffle, Go the Distance played first. I love this song, although I had forgotten about it. The words moved me, and became a balm to my heart even as they answered my question.

Listen to Go the Distance.

Leaving a Footprint

The most powerful answer to my question was actually the first one that I received, almost immediately after I asked. I had to ponder it all day.

I asked my question as I showered this morning. Many of my deeper thoughts and great questions and greater answers arrive while I shower. After toweling dry, I stepped onto the floor, and as I took another step, my attention was directed to the tile. The perfect outline of my foot remained there.

My first thought was, I definitely have an arch. Something held my gaze as I studied my own footprint. Because of the hollow of my arch, there appeared to be a yin yang design on the floor, with five distinct toe prints above it. As I watched, the footprint slowly dried and faded away, until it was gone.

Tears just as slowly filled my eyes, signifying an important moment. What message was being given to me?

By definition, a footprint is an impression left behind by a person. A trackway is a set of footprints that can be followed. Although the footprint from my damp foot quickly disappeared, I realized the impression I am leaving as I journey remains, for those who would follow.

My dream, my intention, is to be very aware of the footprints I am leaving behind, literally and figuratively. I am looking ahead, as I journey onward and upward, however I needed this reminder today that I can be an example that anything is possible, any dream achievable, no matter our age, circumstances or past. I am called, by the Dream Giver, and I must respond to that invitation.

Answers Received

In beautiful, soul stirring ways, my question was answered today. I am…a Powerful Dreamer. I can go the distance. I received a confirmation letter this afternoon that my next trip is booked, which was a bonus, a playful wink from the Divine. And I was reminded that what I am doing matters. I am leaving my footprint, my impression, on this earth.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote:

“Lives of great men all remind us we can make our lives sublime. And, departing, leave behind footprints on the sands of time.”

Daring to pursue the life of my dreams, I can dare as well to leave my footprint on the sands of time.

Leaving a Footprint

The Golden Light of Autumn

The day was gray and overcast. However, far from being depressing, the grayness provided an effective contrast for the burgeoning colors and golden light of autumn.

I felt inspired to capture those golden tones by lighting candles throughout the house and on the deck. Not only did the glow from candles warm my home and welcome in autumn, they created their own pools of gold, reminding me of the importance of being Light in the darkness.

The Golden Light of Autumn

Golden Autumn Throughout the House

This Sunday Short is captured through the power of photos, accompanied by some of my favorite quotes about this season.

The Golden Light of Autumn

“Turn your face to the Light, and the shadows fall behind you.” Unknown

The Golden Light of Autumn

“Know what sparks the light in you. Then use that light to illuminate the world.” Oprah

The Golden Light of Autumn

“There will always be a spiritual light that beckons to us, giving us the hope of rescue and relief.” L. Whitney Clayton

The Golden Light of Autumn

“I am struck by the simplicity of light in the atmosphere of autumn, as if the earth absorbed none, and out of this profusion of dazzling light came the autumnal tints.” Henry David Thoreau

The Golden Light of Autumn

“Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” Roald Dahl

Golden Light

Before the light faded from the autumn sky, I slipped outside. The rust and gold colored tassels adorning the ornamental grasses in the garden stirred in the breeze. There was a ripple of energy in the garden, born by the wind but independent from it.

The energy carried the stories of plants nodding off to sleep, after a time of great growth, and falling leaves, and the promise of long nights of rest and contemplation. Autumn marks the beginning of a time of harvesting what we have created and of nourishing and replenishing ourselves.

How appropriate are the colors of fall, to warm our souls and our nights. How necessary the golden light of autumn to illuminate our way through winter’s darkness, until spring makes all things new.

The Golden Light of Autumn

Movie Review Juliet, Naked

My daughter Elissa and I met this afternoon at Bookhouse Cinema, Joplin’s wonderful indie theater. The newly released film, Juliet, Naked, was playing and both of us wanted to see it.

Movie Review Juliet Naked

Juliet, Naked

This romantic comedy stars Chris O’Dowd, Rose Byrne, Ethan Hawke and Lily Brazier. Juliet, Naked, directed by Jesse Peretz, is based on the Nick Hornby novel by the same name. It carries an R rating, for language and adult themes, and has a run time of 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Annie (Byrne) lives a careful life in a small English sea side town. She runs the local historical museum, a job she inherited from her father, interacts with her spirited sister Ros (Brazier), and feels more and more confined in her relationship with her boyfriend.

Annie and Duncan (O’Dowd) have lived together for 15 years. He teaches classic literature and American films at a nearby college. However his passion, which borders on obsession, is with an obscure US singer and song writer, Tucker Crowe (Hawke). It matters not that Crowe hasn’t performed in years or released new albums. Duncan collects facts, posters and demos and hosts an online site devoted to the elusive singer and his die hard fans.

Movie Review Juliet Naked

Movie Review Juliet Naked

Too Small a Story

Duncan’s obsession over the rocker is too small a story for Annie to live and thrive in. Chafing within the confinement she’s helped to create, Annie considers having children as a way to expand her life. And then life itself intervenes. An acoustical demo arrives, of Crowe’s early hit Juliet, Naked. Annie attempts to dampen Duncan’s over-the-top enthusiasm for the demo by writing a less than complimentary review of the song, which she posts to his website.

To her surprise, her comments draw a response from the artist himself, who agrees with her statements. Annie and Tucker begin a transatlantic correspondence that deepens day by day. They share openly and honestly about the disappointments and challenges each has experienced the past twenty years.

When Tucker seizes an opportunity to fly to London, he and Annie arrange to meet. Communicating via email and text was easy. In person, life is messier and people and relationships are more complicated. There is much to discover and sort out as new connections are created.

Movie Review Juliet Naked

Movie Review Juliet Naked

Familiar Story with a Fresh Feel

Juliet, Naked is most definitely a romantic comedy, with an emphasis on the comedic element. Chris O’Dowd, with his strange and singular focus on another man’s life, caused me to laugh out loud numerous times.

This film manages to go beyond the rom com label however. It offers a sincere glimpse at what a stuck life can look like and feel like. All of the characters are caught in small stories of their own making, and challenged to free themselves.

As the film’s storyline unfolds, with strong performances by Byrne and Hawke that balance O’Dowd’s humor, the characters grow in awareness and depth. They figure their crap out…or at least, they begin to. And they realize that past decisions shaped their lives, but new choices shift the future. Bigger stories to live in are possible. It’s up to each person to create them.

This movie can be summed up well by a quote from an older character in the film, Edna. During a museum exhibition, she looks at an old photo of herself with friends and shares, “[This] was George. He was a fast worker. He wanted a bit of fun. I wish I did too, but I fought him off. I thought, ‘Edna, you can never go wrong not doing something. It’s the things that you do that get you into trouble.’ Here I am 84 years old and I’ve never been in trouble in my whole bloody life. Goddammit!”

It’s the things you do that you remember and the things you don’t do that you regret.

Juliet, Naked is the kind of movie that I deeply enjoy…funny, sweet, and insightful with characters that open up, explore who they are, and grow as they learn. I left the theater appreciating this indie film and it’s message of creating a bigger life.

Movie Review Juliet Naked

The Unique Sound of My Ancestry

Late last year, I spit into a test tube and submitted my DNA to Ancestry.com, curious to discover the origins of my ancestors. A few weeks later, I got the results back. As more and more people have tracked their ancestry this past year, by submitting their own DNA, the better the company has been able to refine the results.

The Unique Sound of My Ancestry

Updated Ancestry

Recently I received updated results that better define the regions of the world that my ancestors came from. England, Wales and Northwestern Europe comprise my greatest ethnicity, followed by Ireland and Scotland. These regions appeared on my first set of results. However my updated report listed several new regions while eliminating low confidence areas. The newly added regions included Germanic Europe, Sweden and areas in Central Africa that include Cameroon, Congo and the Southern Bantu Peoples.

I am in the process of exploring my heritage through the Ancestry website, creating a detailed family tree. I’m back seven generations and excited to learn more about my diverse background and the many unique individuals that contributed to me being the person I am.

The Unique Sound of My Ancestry

The Sound of Ancestry

Just this past week, a marvelous opportunity was presented, through a partnership between Ancestry and the online music streaming service, Spotify. They create, for free, an eclectic playlist of songs inspired by each participant’s origins.

I could choose up to five regions, which is precisely the number I have, and Spotify selected four representative songs per area. This is such a clever idea…and I adore cleverness.

I immediately accepted this gracious invitation and submitted my regions to Spotify, who then created a playlist that uniquely captures who I am.

The Unique Sound of My Ancestry

Inspired by My Ancestry

I spend quite a lot of time in the car. The last few days I’ve been listening to the Unique Sound of My Ancestry as I drive. From African chants to the English group Duran Duran to German jazz, my car is filled with a blend of music that is indeed as unique as I am.

I am enchanted. My heart beats faster and my eyes fill with tears. I am beyond grateful for such a beautiful gift.

And I am inspired. I’m inspired and moved by music that represents my heritage, and I am inspired and motivated to not only learn all I can about each of my regions, but to visit them as well.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote, “Music is the universal language of mankind.”

The world is speaking to me through music as well, and it is a siren call, an invitation. My heart and soul are responding.

The Unique Sound of My Ancestry

Leta’s Curls

Greg’s dear mother, Leta Mae Davidson Moore, passed away in 1999. She was a generous, loving, kind hearted woman who never lost her child like sense of wonder for the world. When I married her son, I became the daughter she had always longed for, and we spent many happy hours together over the years, talking, shopping and simply spending time together. She loved being Mimi to her three grandchildren and my kids carry precious memories of her.

A few years after her death, Greg’s dad allowed me to bring home a set of old curling irons that belonged to Leta when she was a girl. Even though her hair appeared to easily arrange itself into natural curls, Leta must have used these irons often. She kept them into adulthood and although she stopped using them on her hair, she had the irons mounted on a bright pink backing board and framed. I am honored to be the keeper of these vintage curling irons.

Leta’s Curls

Vintage Curls

Curling irons have been used for thousands of years, and not just by women. In Babylonia, Greece, and Egypt men used heated irons to curl their hair and beards. And women have depended on irons to keep up with fashion’s demand for curls for just as long.

In 1866 Hiram Maxim obtained the first patent for a curling iron. These tongs were heated in a fire or atop a stove and hair was wrapped around them, creating curls. By 1890 French inventors Maurice Lentheric and Marcel Grateau used hot-air drying and heated curling tongs to make deep, long-lasting Marcel waves.

Leta’s Curls

Leta’s Curls

Born in 1922, Leta was the youngest of four children and the only daughter in her family. I’m not sure when the curling irons were purchased, however I know Leta used them as a child and teenager. I can imagine her mother heating the irons on the stove and then carefully creating curls in her young daughter’s light brown hair.

From my research I’ve learned one had to be very careful indeed using these old curling irons. Unlike today’s electric curling irons, there was no way to regulate the temperature. The metal irons could become hot enough to scorch the hair, or worse, burn the hair badly enough that it broke off from the scalp. Leta’s mother must have taught her girl how to heat the irons to just the right temperature and how to test the warmth.

Leta’s Curls

Leta’s Curls

Leta’s Curls

Photos of Leta Mae throughout her childhood and youth reveal her beauty and graceful poise, and also her carefully coiffed hair. She apparently mastered the feminine art of styling her hair.

By the time I knew this wonderful woman, she visited a salon weekly, and allowed her favorite stylist to cut and curl her hair. Leta was the only adult female I ever knew who depended on another to wash and style her hair for her. She had the charming custom, however, of adding small pink spongy curlers just around her hairline every night, before bed. To hold those curlers securely in place, she wrapped strips of toilet paper around her head.

My children still giggle over the memory of Mimi Leta in her robe, with her bedtime curlers and toilet paper wrapped head.

Leta’s Curls

Leta’s Curls

Keeper of the Curling Irons

I am happy to have Leta’s curling irons. I stood many times with my mother-in-law, in her bedroom, looking at her childhood keepsakes hanging on the wall. She spoke fondly of them and the long ago days when they were used.

I wish I had asked her more questions about them. Or that I had sat on the bed or the carpeted floor and asked her to tell me stories of her childhood. I heard a few. But now, with her gone almost 20 years, I’d love to hear more, know more.

I think of Leta every time I look at these vintage irons, and I miss her. I hope she knows how precious they are to me. My own daughters have a bit more wave to their hair than I do, and they have certainly spent time before a mirror, coaxing their long hair into curls. Someday I will pass Leta’s curling irons on to her granddaughters, perhaps breaking the set apart and giving one to each girl! I think Mimi Leta will smile about that, and reach up to pat her shining curls into place.

Leta’s Curls

Wandering Traveler

With some other things requiring my time and attention this evening, I’m posting tonight under a new category: Wee Wednesday Thoughts! Similar to a Sunday Short, I’m offering a couple of thoughts around a favorite meme. In this case, there are two quotes that inspired me. Bringing them together, in my mind and in print, in turn inspired the title…Wandering Traveler.

Wandering Traveler

Becoming New Again

The first quote that snagged my attention and my heart is posted below in a fresh meme that I created.

Wandering Traveler

Those words resonate deeply with me. I travel for those very reasons…to expand my perspectives and my soul, and to experience routine things in new ways. The “eating vegetables” appealed to me especially, as one who embraces a plant based lifestyle. The meme above features a plate of veggies that I enjoyed in Italy last year.

As a wandering traveler, having new experiences tops my list of why I seek out other cities in far away lands.

Making New Things Familiar

The second quote that filled me with joy became my second meme tonight.

Wandering Traveler

These words capture why I write and why I share my thoughts. My great desire is to inspire others to see the world in different, bigger ways. I do that by making familiar every day experiences fresh…I’ve been told I can create a story around the most ordinary routines and offer a different way of seeing them…and by making new adventures feel familiar, in an invitational, you-can-do-this-too way.

In the space between those two ways of viewing reality, a magical life unfolds and reveals itself.

My being thrives best where those two memes overlap…leaving the familiar to create new experiences, and writing about them. That’s the life that calls to me and where the Divine is leading me.

I am becoming…a wandering, traveling, grab life by the horns…writer. I’m creating the life I want, one adventure at a time.

Wandering Traveler

Queen of Katwe

Although I watched Queen of Katwe last week, I saved the review until after the Hygge Challenge, for a reason. I needed time to unpack the truths. This film, based on a true story, found its way to me in an unusual fashion. Not only did the story inspire me, it underscored that something magical is occurring in my life.

This trek down the rabbit hole began when my daughter Elissa sent me a quote:

“Sometimes the place you are used to is not the place where you belong.” From the film Queen of Katwe

She had not heard of the movie, nor did she look it up. Elissa loved the quote and thought I would appreciate it. Plus, there was the intriguing word queen listed in the source of the quote. The queen chess piece is my symbol for 2019 and the word and image continue to show up daily in my life.

I loved the quote too. And being unfamiliar with the film, I looked it up. This is what I read, as a summary of the storyline:

A Ugandan girl sees her world rapidly change after being introduced to the game of chess.

Amazed, once again, I had to watch the movie.

Move Review Queen of Katwe

Queen of a Film

Queen of Katwe stars Madina Nalwanga, David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o, Martin Kabanza and Hope Katende. This biographical drama, directed by Mira Nair, is based on the book by the same title written by Tim Crothers. The movie carries a PG rating, for adult themes, and has a run time of 2 hours and 4 minutes.

A young Ugandan girl, Phiona Mutesi (Nalwanga), lives in the slum town of Katwe with her mother and siblings. After the death of her husband, Phiona’s mother Harriet (Nyong’o) struggles to feed and provide for her four children. She moves them from house to dilapidated house, barely able to survive.

The children are removed from school and help their mother by selling maize on the litter strewn streets.

Movie Review Queen of Katwe

Changing Her Life

Life is difficult and the future bleak, until Phiona follows her younger brother Brian (Kabanza) one day to a neighborhood mission. There she meets Coach Robert Katende (Oyelowo) and watches as children from Katwe play chess. The boards are hand painted and the chess pieces rough, however Phiona and several of the other children discover that they have a knack for the game of strategy.

In fact, Coach Katende quickly realizes that Phiona is a chess prodigy, able to visualize eight moves ahead. He and his wife Hope (played in the film by the real life Hope Katende) alter their plans and make choices that allow them to help Phiona and the children of Katwe have a chance at a better life.

From the poorest of the poor families struggling in the slums, Phiona learns to read, studies books about chess and yearns to become a master of the game. This brilliant and amazing girl moves step by step, from a mission house to competitions to international tournaments, her life shifting to parallel the game she is mastering.

Movie Review Queen of Katwe

Movie Review Queen of Katwe

From Pawn to Queen

I was so deeply moved by this film, which is available on DVD and Netflix. What an incredible impact chess had on Phiona and the other children of Katwe. And how life changing was the love of Coach Katende and his wife Hope, for families whose lives appeared hopeless. Coach showed great respect for Phiona’s mother, honoring her as he recognized the difficult sacrifices she made for her children.

This feel good movie is cheer worthy. I was in tears by the end and literally applauding. As I usually do after watching a film based on a true story, I fact checked and found the events and portrayals in Queen of Katwe to be accurate. To my delight, an added bonus during the end credits brings together the actors and the people that they played.

Movie Review Queen of Katwe

I don’t yet fully understand what is going on in my own life, however it revolves around this idea of moving, step by step, from being a pawn to becoming a queen. It’s more than an idea. It’s a Divine invitation to learn, to grow, to leave some things behind and enter into new territory. Queen of Katwe inspired me and challenged me to step up my game, so to speak.

The rest of the quote that Elissa sent me is this:

“Sometimes the place you are used to is not the place where you belong. You belong where you believe you belong.” Queen of Katwe

Yes.

Movie Review Queen of Katwe