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!

I am an Amazon Affiliate and may earn a commission on purchases, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for considering making a purchase of this product, or any other items, through my Amazon link! 

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

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The Blessings of Grandchildren

Today’s gratitude centered primarily around my grandkids. Other Yayas, Nanas, Mimis and Papas will immediately understand how rich and precious are the blessings of grandchildren. We grandparents store these memories up and treasure them.

Three of my grandchildren were out of school today, providing an opportunity to hang out on this cool and rainy fall day. And I spent a short time with my oldest grandson this morning, before he heads back to the university tomorrow. To the other grandson, who was not out of school, I sent a text this evening, to set up a time to connect. He responded promptly with a sweet reply.

The Blessings of Grandchildren

Discussing Politics

For many people, politics is not a popular topic to discuss right now. However, my college aged grandson loves world and current events, international cultures, geography, and all things political. In our brief time together, we had a wonderful conversation about what’s on the ballot tomorrow.

There weren’t any arguments between us or defensiveness. I enjoyed an informative back and forth conversation and gained insights from Dayan’s perspectives. My gratitude for my grandson and his knowledge and political passion continues to deepen. And I am ready to vote tomorrow in this crucial midterm election.

The Blessings of Grandchildren

Together We Build

Joey, Oliver and Aubrey are fun to spend a day with. They are close enough in age to connect well and relate well to each other, and at the same time they’re utterly unique individuals. The weather encouraged us to stay snug inside. I enjoyed lively conversations, humorous stories and watching the three of them create in the game Minecraft.

The split screen allows each child to monitor their own progress and also interact with each other. I’m impressed by their building skills. And I’m grateful for the way these kids form a family unit that is grounded in love. Sure, they bicker occasionally, as siblings do. But they have each other’s backs, in virtual realities and in real life.

The Blessings of Grandchildren

Spoons Card Game

After Minecraft and game controllers, the kids opted for a good old fashioned card game. I’ve never played Spoons before and my grandchildren were excellent teachers. It’s not a reflection on them at all, that I lost!

Spoons, also known as Pig or Tongue, is a fast-paced game of matching. It is played with an ordinary pack of playing cards and several kitchen spoons or other objects. We used plastic knives.

The game is played in multiple rounds, and each player’s objective is to grab a spoon. No spoon may be grabbed until one player has collected four of a kind, but once the first player to get a four of a kind grabs a spoon, all players may immediately reach out to attempt to grab one. No player may grab more than one spoon at a time.

As in the game musical chairs, there is always one less spoon than there are players, so one player will always be left without a spoon. Depending on the variety of game being played, that player either loses the game and is eliminated, or continues playing but loses a point. When two players are left and one person gets four of a kind, it doesn’t matter who gets the spoon. At that point, whoever gets it the fastest wins.

This was a fun game, easy to learn and yet challenging to quickly get four of a kind as cards are rapidly passed around to the players, and no one knows what set of four the others are trying to collect. I appreciate the kids alternating between their video games (are they even called that anymore?) and group games we could all participate in.

The Blessings of Grandchildren

Who Wants to Make a Logo?

At one point in the afternoon, all four of us were on our phones, sharing photos and info. I introduced the kids to the Canva App, and let them study the logos and graphics I’d made. In a short time they each had Canva downloaded on his or her phone.

We had fun discussing ideas and playing creatively. In a few minutes the kids had mastered techniques that took me multiple sessions to get the hang of. Oh, the power of a young brain! I’m grateful for their sharp minds and also their artistic abilities.

I love their eagerness to try new creative projects. Joey put together a Kansas City Chiefs meme, complete with a short poem he wrote. Oliver, whose nickname is Bear, created a bear themed wallpaper that he edited with special effects. He added his completed project to his phone, as a background graphic. And Aubrey texted her finished work to me as I drove home. She came up with a darling logo.

The Blessings of Grandchildren

Thrive, the Art of Entertaining

This last gratitude has nothing to do with grandchildren. I received a magazine in the mail that I paused to thumb through, after I arrived home this evening.

Thrive is a plant based magazine, full of recipes, articles and gorgeous photos. The Nov/Dec issue features The Art of Entertaining. There are ideas for the holidays and gatherings and sumptuous meals. I’ll read through every page soon, however this evening it was wonderful to preview the magazine with a quick scan. I’m grateful for publications that focus on health and wellness without sacrificing beauty.

The Blessings of Grandchildren

These kids, these smart, funny, clever, creative blessings called grandchildren, certainly brightened my day and enlarged the boundaries of my mind and heart. I treasure each one. I value each child and look forward to seeing all that they accomplish in their lives.

The blessings of grandchildren are as varied as the kids are, as endless as their possibilities, and as beautiful as their soulful eyes. I am richly blessed indeed. And I am honored to be their Yaya.

The Blessings of Grandchildren

A Smorgasbord of Blessings

Sunday’s are self care days, special times set apart for focusing inward and on things that bring me joy. Occasionally I work on a Sunday afternoon or at the least do a bit of real estate online. And I always write on this day, no matter what else I do to care for my body, emotions, and spirit.

Today was no different, except that I was very mindful of blessings throughout the day. Because a definite food theme came together, I thought of the day’s gratitudes as a smorgasbord of blessings, with so many delightful choices. And then suddenly, an invitation threw in a bit of rhapsody.

A Smorgasbord of Blessings

Aloe Vera

The first gratitude arrived as I stepped through the doors of Joplin’s Natural Grocers. I love this health conscious store. The aroma of fresh herbs and produce greets me and makes me so thankful that I have this shopping option in my city.

I selected an aloe vera leaf and dropped it into my cart. Check out the health benefits and then you too can appreciate why it is a blessing that Natural Grocers carries these huge leaves. I can’t find them anywhere else in town. A two inch section of fresh aloe vera gel goes into my fruit smoothies each morning.

A Smorgasbord of Blessings

Milk Thistle Display

The next gratitude in my smorgasbord of blessings occurred before I got out of the store. I’m reading Liver Rescue by Anthony William. Greg noticed an end cap display featuring the supplement Milk Thistle. This herb benefits the liver by expelling old red blood cells and detoxifying toxins and debris from the hepatic veins.

It makes me smile and feel gratitude to see this healthy grocery store in sync with what I am learning. Plus they have Milk Thistle, in capsules and tinctures, on sale.

A Smorgasbord of Blessings

Comfort Food, Healthy Style

Continuing an emphasis on a plant based lifestyle today, and self care, Sunday lunch featured one of my favorite meals, Broccoli & Peas Macaroni Bake. This easy to prepare one pan meal pairs the satisfaction of a comforting meal with the health boosting nutrition of veggies and gluten free pasta in a yummy cashew based sauce. Find the recipe HERE.

I am truly thankful for healthy pasta options. I buy the Natural Grocers house brand of brown rice macaroni. It cooks up just like regular pasta and tastes the same. And I don’t suffer ill effects from gluten.

A Smorgasbord of Blessings

A New Dark Chocolate Bar

No smorgasbord, blessings or buffet, is complete without a bit of dessert. I don’t indulge in traditional desserts, preferring healthy versions without the refined sugar, eggs and dairy products. I do, however, occasionally enjoy a small amount of dark chocolate.

As we headed to the check out, I spied a new-to-me line of dark chocolate bars, with a twist of unusual flavor combinations. I chose a dark chocolate with blackberry and sage to sample. The Endangered Species Chocolate Company has this mission statement on their website:

“10% of our net profits are donated annually to current 10% GiveBack Partners;  each is guaranteed a minimum annual donation of $10,000 and is free to use the funds on projects they deem most important. With over $1.3 million generated in the past three years alone, each chocolate purchase adds up to big support that helps wildlife thrive.”

I am thankful that my purchase of a treat supports endangered species and other organizations that help wildlife and the planet. For afternoon tea I ate a few small squares of the dark chocolate and sipped on an herbal tea from Yogi. The treat was pure bliss.

A Smorgasbord of Blessings

Bohemian Rhapsody

Lest I get into a rut today, an invitation came this afternoon from my grandson Dayan, who is home from the university this weekend. The film Bohemian Rhapsody released in theaters Friday and Dayan invited me to join his mom and him for an evening viewing.

I am a big Queen fan, having appreciated their incredible music since my late teens. I’ve been excited about this upcoming movie that tells the story of Freddie Mercury and the formation of the band that would shatter stereotypes and expand musical boundaries. I’ll post a review of the film tomorrow.

Tonight I am grateful for Freddie’s willingness to unwaveringly be who he was, and to offer to the world the gifts he was uniquely created to give. He inspires me and I am still experiencing a range of emotions from the movie.

A Smorgasbord of Blessings

What a delightful day, this smorgasbord of blessings. Gratitude flowed for a place to purchase healthy food and supplements, great comfort food and a surprising flavor combo in a treat, and the power of a musical film experienced with my grandson and daughter.

Blessings abound, but they don’t pile up. They flow…to me…through me…and beyond.

A Smorgasbord of Blessings