A Gift for Black History Month!

black panther

Black Panther is a movie that captures the times of today.  Though it encompasses much, its powerful message circles around what happens to families when they break apart due to deeply buried truths.  Warring relatives both vie for power and rightful positions as this tale unfolds.  It is based on a Marvel Comics series written by a variety of writers.

T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) has been newly installed as King of Wakanda after his father’s death and after successfully battling  a neighboring contender. He rules and protects his kingdom as his father did while remaining quite oblivious to the woes of the outside world.

That is until an angry and long, lost cousin Erik (Michael B. Jordan) shows up on the African land to take the throne.  He is filled with hate and rage because his father had been executed by the T’Challa’s father, though they were brothers.  He is stronger than T’Challa and takes the throne for a while after they fight a ferocious battle.  He plans on destroying many factions of the world to get revenge for his many years of suffering because of the world’s injustices.

There is so much to this star-studded cast and the best thing to do is just go and see it. Here are a few major actors:  Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Lupita Nyong’o and Sterling K. Brown along with some great, new talent.  The acting is top-notched; the costumes are unforgettable and it is extremely high-tech.  What a fun experience!

When it ended, I turned around and everybody was basically still in their seats. No one wanted it to end. So I also lingered and sure enough, after the credits rolled there were two or three more sneak peaks and additions to the script.  One woman said, “I am going to see it again.”  As I think about it, I will too.  What a gift!

Lynn M.                                                                              February 18, 2018

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The Greatest Love!

 

rose single

It’s February, the month of love. Immediately the colors of pink and red along with the shapes of hearts are reminders that Valentine’s Day is near.

A barrage of thoughts may fill your mind as you think about your wishes, expectations or precious memories.
But what about the greatest love of all?

Whitney Houston succinctly reminds you in her song that the greatest love of all is “the love inside of me.”  Let’s face it, you live in a selfie world and the younger generations have few problems with putting themselves at the center of it all.

But you older ones who are strapped with responsibility need to follow suit and take more time to love and adorn yourselves. If you are feeling out of balance, harried or generally just not ‘up to snuff’ as the Southerners say, then simply STOP.

Here is a new acronym:
S- Stop
T- Taking on
OOthers’
P- Problems

You are enough. You have enough to do as you manage your own life and realign yourself with the universe and the natural order of things. You may have become broken down, so to speak, from operating as a people-pleaser who has become depleted and out of tune.

As a remedy, push aside all but the absolute necessities. Become your own center and focal point and the greatest concern of all. Let everybody else wait or take a proverbial hike. Then, put on some soft music, take long bath soaks, light a candle and listen to healing and soothing meditation tapes to regain your central peace.

Ask yourself: What am I striving for? What do I want to accomplish? What is my timeline? What is my plan of action? What is urgent and what can wait?

Slow down and put as many things on hold as possible until your strength resurges to a comfortable level. Center, align and reawaken to your own voice. Listen to what your heart is telling you to do.

Give yourself all of the attention that you have been doling out to others. Acknowledge the fact that you cannot help others until you first help yourself. Take small steps as you move towards realizing that the greatest love of all is indeed inside of you.

Agree with Tanaaz.  “If  you have been neglecting yourself by doing things to please others, you may find that this lunar energy forces you to take a fewer steps back and relax. Say, ‘I deserve to love myself. I deserve to be happy.’

Lynn M.                                                          February 11, 2018

Unfinished Business: Two Books

I happened to be reading two books simultaneously – one on my Kindle and the other an actual library book.   As I was reading Down the Hidden Path by Heather Burch and No Place I’d Rather Be by Cathy Lamb, I thought, “Hmmm.  So many similarities.

In both novels, Gray, a physical therapist and Olivia, a head chef are returning to their hometowns and both move into their grandparents’ vacant homes. They each run into their former flames and both want to avoid them at all costs for different reasons.  But it is clear that there is obviously still some unfinished business.

Gray from Down the Hidden Path returns to Missouri runs into Jeremiah.  She has a secret.  They have a twelve year-old son named David and though another couple adopted him, Gray has always been a part of her son’s life.  How long can she keep the truth from Jeremiah?  He went off to war and he has no idea that he is the father of a tween. How will he handle the truth?

Down the Hidden Path

Olivia from No Place I’d Rather Be, on the other hand, is returning to Montana after losing her job as head chef in Portland.  She almost veers off a cliff while driving in a blizzard, but Jace, her estranged husband, is there to save her and the two small girls she has in tow.  Why are they not together?  Who are the little girls?

No Place

Again, in both novels, Jeremiah and Jace are prominent ranch owners and well- positioned to assist these cash-strapped women. But will fear and pride cause Gray or Olivia to go under?  Can they trust again?

Answers abound as I continued to read along.  Jeremiah is livid when he finds out that he has a 12-year old son and he takes action against Gray which later backfires.  In contrast, Jace understands Olivia’s love for these two little girls because she had lost their three children through miscarriages. But can she convince the courts that she is a better parent than their imprisoned birth mother who is about to be released?

These couples apparently have plenty of unfinished business and it seems that only they can work out the equations.  Children’s lives are at stake. If the flames of the torches can be turned higher and hearts are opened, then maybe they will find grand solutions.  Pick up either or both of these books and see how it all works out!

Lynn M.                                                                                      February 4, 2018

February Love Month

love month

Love is always in the air,
For those who reach out and care.

Extend yourself to others,
With the warm love of mothers.

Draw out the best from people,
As if under a steeple.

The way is narrow and straight,
See each one as sacred bait.

Sharing wisdom, hugs and smiles,
To carry them through many miles!

Lynn M.                                                                            February 3, 2018

The Darkest Hour

Darkest Hour.jpg

Reading Clementine Churchill by Sonia Purnell a couple of years ago sparked an interest in seeing the new movie called Darkest Hour.  Purnell gave a well-researched and intimate look at this loving couple though it focused on Clementine’s role in her famous husband’s life.  It further proved that there is usually a woman behind every great man.  The book offered details of their daily lives so when I viewed the movie, I quietly agreed that Kristin Scott Thomas captured Clemmie’s essence.

But more importantly, this movie showed the inner tickings of Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman) as he wrestled with his new responsibility as Prime Minist height of the German invasions under Hitler.  Churchill’s war cabinet wanted to negotiate with Germany in the face of terror, fear and the loss of many young soldiers.

Most of the movie pinpoints a few days in the month of May when he painstakingly weighed his options.  Will he lead the country into eternal servitude to a greater power?  Will he buckle under the pressure because few believe in him or his rationale?

Clemmie soothes and reassures him and tells him that he has what it takes. King George VI (Ben Mendelsohn) finally lets Churchill know that he has his full support though other key members of Parliament doubt his judgment.  And then, he decides to ask the people.  There is a memorable scene of Churchill getting on the subway and actually talking with the everyday working people.  Though shocked to see him,  he opens up a conversation and they all vow that they should never surrender.

He writes a speech with the help of his dutiful typist Elizabeth Layton (Lily James) and the movie ends with him giving a major speech.  The rest, they say, is history.

I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes by Winston Churchill.  “If you are going through hell, keep going.”  He kept going and I think that Gary Oldman could possibly be taking home a little gold statue called Oscar!

Lynn M.                                                         January 27, 2018

Rolling Forward!

2018 has jolted us to life!  So much seems to be happening on so many different levels.  We do not have time to close our mouths over one shocker before something else comes along that jars us even further awake.

It is comparable to that spank that doctors once gave the newborn child to hear the first cry.  Nowadays, they massage the baby’s bottom to make sure that the child is awake and has indeed crossed over into the land of the living.

I recently read a novel called Ghana Must Go and it spoke on the African belief about the birth of twins.  Author Taiye Selasi said that the first one comes in this new world, looks around and then lets the other one know if it is worth the journey.

I could not believe it when I read it because I had already written about the birth of twins in my last novella called Gardens of Green.  Similarly, a set of twins is born and one makes it but the other does not survive.  I was spiritually attuned and did not know it at the time. This world would have been too much for the weaker twin, so he opted out.

Gardens of Green cover

But  we are  already here in the midst of this jolting January so we have to lean in as these many things roll across the screens of our television sets.  We cannot afford to take our eyes off of the ball. We should cleave to hope in an effort to keep it alive and paddle on through. Hopefully, things will ease up and settle down as we propel ourselves forward!

Lynn M.                                                                    January 20, 2018

Persevere!

Hang in there

Justice rides a slow horse but it always overtakes.This was one of my mother’s favorite quotes and it is perfect during this MLK, Jr. weekend.

What is justice?  Who gets it? Justice comes for those who can wait it out and see things through.  Winston Churchill reminds us, If you are going through hell, keep on going.”

So as we wait for the tide to change, here are a host of reminders and affirmations that we can read or write to help us stay filled with expectancy.

  • Persevere!
  • Hang in there!
  • Hold on!
  • Grab ahold and don’t let go!
  • Don’t give up!
  • Don’t give in!
  • Hang tight!
  • Change is coming!
  • Only believe!
  • Keep the faith!
  • Be encouraged!
  • Cling to hope!
  • Justice prevails!

We can use some of these as we swim through our challenges and struggle to remain buoyant and stay afloat until we reach sturdier and safer shores.  When we feel weary or disconcerted, we can remember those who marched, cried and toiled before our time.  They too questioned whether things would ever change.

As we enjoy this longer weekend and pay homage to the life of Dr. King, we can feel quite certain that justice will be served. Though the horse may travel slowly in our lives, if we prevail, we will see him overtaking all of the mishaps. He will then appear in all of his glory saddled with that good news!

Lynn M.                                                                          January 13, 2018

An Unbeatable Combination!

The post

When I entered the theatre to see the premiere showing of The Post, it was almost filled to capacity.  I had to sit closer to the screen than I like, but I knew that I was in for a real treat.  With Steven Spielberg at the helm and Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks as the lead actors, I knew that this was an unbeatable combination; yet I was unsure of the exact story line.

This movie takes place in 1971, at the height of the Vietnam War.  Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep) has to decide whether to publish parts of the Pentagon Papers  which revealed  classified information about past presidential involvement.  Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) is  the executive editor and they have to see if they want to face a possible legal battle with the courts.  Their competitor, The New York Times, has already faced a court injunction for a similar story and The Post has to carefully weigh its options.

Katharine Graham has been left in charge of the paper after her husband’s demise and many on the Board are afraid that they could possibly face jail time. So much is at stake for all of the staff workers along with their families and The Post’s investors. What will she decide to do?

The actual production of the news story has started.  Writers have written copies on antiquated typewriters; copy editors have edited the text for errors; blueprints have been drawn and the intricate task of setting type by the lithographers has taken place.

But then, Mrs. Graham gets a knock on the door after they discover that one of their sources may have also colluded with The New York Times.  Many are sorely afraid of the consequences and they try to change her mind and halt the publication of the story.  Yet, with a short span of hesitation, she reminds them that she is the boss and says it is a go.

The huge newspaper presses are fired up and they roll.  A few key players grab a savored copy while it is hot off of the press with the smell of fresh ink.  Everybody involved had to work to the beat of a ticking clock to meet that deadline.

Then workers are seen bundling the papers, tying them in stacks and loading them onto trucks which will put them into newspaper boxes. Young paperboys will be getting up in the wee hours of the morning to pitch those copies onto the lawns of subscribers.

The Washington Post shared what they had discovered, won in the courts and went on to become a respected and well-known paper that still exists today.  It was a nostalgic look at a marked time in our history that led to even greater ground-breaking reporting!  This is a must-see movie for the baby boomers and those coming behind who want to witness journalism at its best!

Lynn M.                                                                                      January 6, 2018

Christmas with Christopher Plummer & Carrie Fisher!

All...MoneyI recently saw two movies during this winter holiday season.  First, I saw All the Money in the World.  I was inspired to do so after seeing an interview with Christopher Plummer. He took Kevin Spacey’s place at the midnight hour as J. Paul Getty.   He is now 88 years old and he had only a few days to do the filming so that it could make the Christmas Day deadline.

Of course, we all loved him as Captain Von Trapp in the beloved film The Sound of Music.  Interestingly, he had no love for the movie or the character that he played but it is that part as the family patriarch for which he is most remembered.

Christopher Plummer was superb in his performance as the miserly oil tycoon, J. Paul Getty.  Most of the movie focused on the kidnapping of his grandson in Italy at the age of 16.  Plummer was quite convincing as one who held on very tightly to his purse strings.  He was shown with his laundry hanging in the hotel bathroom that he had washed by hand as opposed to paying the staff.

His grandson was held for several months by his captors before Getty paid the ransom and the teen severely suffered during the ordeal.  Surely, there will be an Oscar buzz for Christopher Plummer’s classic acting and for Michelle Williams, who played Gail, young Getty’s desperate mother. Also, Mark Wahlberg was fantastic as Fletcher Chase, an advisor to both Gail and Getty.

the last jedi

Secondly, I went to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi.  The instant battles jarred me awake during this early morning viewing.  There was constant conflict between the forces and I had a bit of a time keeping up with all of the characters.  There were many in the cast but the sound effects and high-levels of creativity kept me on the edge of my seat as I followed the many twists and turns of the plot.

I felt frustrated at times and I then remembered my real reason for coming to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi.  I had enjoyed other Star Wars movies but this was my personal time to say goodbye to Carrie Fisher.  It would be the last time to see her as Lela- this time as Lela Organa.  She was smooth, reserved and mature in her role and she appeared to have found some inner secret to life’s mysteries. She had evolved from the anxious voice that had written Postcards from the Edge many years ago.

At the end of the movie, it was apparent that the Jedi would survive after being engaged in multiple battles with the forces of darkness.  The children had witnessed it all and some were already emulating Luke Skywalker.  There was hope.

Christopher Plummer and Carrie Fisher were my incentives for seeing both movies.  As a result, I learned about the Getty history while the stage designs and props from Star Wars showcased the power of imaginative minds.

It was a grand opportunity to see the golden-aged Christopher Plummer plunge into a great, impromptu role and a chance to get a final wink from Carrie Fisher who is still speaking to us from the other side. Both actors helped my Christmas break shine even more brightly!

Lynn M.                                                               December 30, 2017

 

Shining the Light!

garland

During the most wonderful time of the year, we should let our lights shine and pierce the darkness.  All of us come into adulthood with many preconceived notions on a variety of topics.  We bring our attitudes and beliefs with us from what we learned from our childhood days.

We have unconsciously formed opinions based on what we heard or overheard in our family homes. We may not realize what has seeped down into our consciousness or psyche until something disturbing appears in our lives.

It has probably manifested itself from our deep-seated, hidden scars that have been tucked away from our sight or public view.  And then, “Pop!”  It shows up and we are forced to deal with it.  We may have to go back through many rooms or take a proverbial time capsule back to an earlier time in our lives.

Then, we must become quiet and still. If we listen very closely, those old negative voices will be re-heard.  Eventually, we might say, ”Aha! There you are. You must go!”  Then, during this sainted time of the year, we should start a deep cleanse.  We can scrub and peel off more layers of darkness.  We realize that we have been roaming around in the dark long enough.

We locate the light switch and turn on the light.  The darkness flees.  The Christ light shines in every corner and we forge ahead.  We can walk on a more lighted path with a thankful heart that we can now see our way!

Lynn M.                                                                     December 23, 2017