Tagged with "books"
4 Jan
2018
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The Greatest Showman and Big Dreams

Christopher Reeve dream quote

We were 30 seconds into the motion picture, The Greatest Showman, when I knew this movie was not like all the other movie dates I’ve been on with my children. I stole a look at my children during the opening song. They were leaning forward in their seats completely engrossed with whatever was about to happen on that screen and their faces reflected the magic of what would become one of our favorite films. It was exactly what the movies should be and feel like they fall short of more often than not: original. It was pageantry, fantastic cinematography, choreography, music and magic.

The movie is about a period in the life of P.T. Barnum of Barnum & Bailey Circus fame. I’m not interested in him necessarily (although I do plan on reading more about his life) as much as the message that came through with the movie.

Theater, whether live or film, has always held a special place in my heart. I’m a dreamer with my head a little in the clouds — ideas and adventures constantly tugging at my sensible side. Sometimes I follow through, but mostly they stay in dream form with the risks outweighing the need to jump into an idea. Books and theater have always fed that dreamer in me and nothing grabs my imagination quite like a musical. How I wish life included breakout scenes of choreography and singing instead of talking.

We attempt to show our children that this world is so much bigger than our little nook in it. All the books piled around the house and our traveling are geared toward that lesson. There is so much you can do and be that you can’t see from where we live. The faces that stared at that movie screen were the same ones several years ago who stood awestruck watching street performers in Key West, Florida. They were doing seemingly unreal things, just like P.T. Barnum. I’m not looking to raise anyone with a tilt toward scoundrel, but I do want big dreamers. I remember our oldest telling us he was going to be one of those street performers and “thinking over my dead body.” But that’s not what I told him. This is your one life. Choose well for you, but be prepared for the road to be full of obstacles whether you’re literally jumping through hoops during sunset celebrations for tourists or working a corporate desk job. Nothing changes if no one is willing to look outside the box and take a chance. Be the chance-taker.

I worry about these children like it’s my career. I don’t want them to be hurt, be sad, be in trouble, or make bad choices which has happened and will again and again. I don’t want them to face criticism or money problems. I also don’t want them to regret not doing something simply because there were risks. I’m not saying take unreasonable risk to endanger their lives, but don’t be afraid to love big, dream big and possibly fail big.

I left that theater with chatty children who got the message so beautifully conveyed. It doesn’t matter how or where you start from. You can have a dream and bring it to fruition, even if the world tells you you’re crazy. Dream. Imagine. Change the way people see the world. You won’t get anywhere just sitting there. Believe in yourself. There is nothing like a musical when all the parts and pieces click together. We’ve been listening to the soundtrack for The Greatest Showman for days now on repeat. It’s stuck with us, proving the film cast made something special.

I didn’t even really want to see the movie, even with my love of musicals. I hadn’t heard much about it, but my musically athletic dancer children saw parts of themselves in the trailer they watched. Their imagination was already captured after less than two minutes of a teaser. I asked one of my boys what they enjoyed about The Greatest Showman, and he said, “That they were all so different, and it didn’t matter to the ones that truly loved them.” Find your people because you won’t be for everyone, but there are people waiting for you who will love you for who you are, quirks and all. Just be uniquely you and believe in the possibility of those dreams.

It’s odd how this specific movie affected me. We watch a lot of movies, but this was refreshingly different. The lyrics for the songs speak to me at my mothering roots. I think of those actors, the director, producers and everyone that worked to put that film together. Could they even imagine that in a small theater in the middle of the least populated state in the United States a mother watched her children watch that big screen and saw their imaginations on fire? Did they know how grateful that mother would be for all the time and energy that went into making her hopes for them into an anthem on a big screen? Probably not.


 
Out of the Busy Race
By     |    Oct 12, 2017
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Out of the Busy Race

I’ve officially dropped out of the race for most busy mother. Someone else can take the title. There are people in my vast circle who bring out the worst in me. You have them too. They want you to see all the balls they’re juggling at any given time. They are constantly on their phones. They want you to know what they’ve had to do without any help from anyone. I’ll find myself spouting off my own to-do list and... [Read More]

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For the Love of Humanities
By     |    Apr 27, 2017
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For the Love of Humanities

It was evident early in our parenting journey that our children had an affinity toward sports. They enjoyed playing anything we exposed them to and watching sports was a family activity we rallied around. As a former sports reporter, having children who enjoyed something I loved was an easy way to connect. Early on we decided, as parents, that our children would be exposed to a wide array of experiences. We didn’t want their childhood to solely revolve around fields... [Read More]

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Favorite Books of 2016
By     |    Dec 30, 2016
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Favorite Books of 2016

I’m a bibliophile. I have a rotating stack of books on my bedside table, a never-ending list of books on hold at the public library and keep track of the books I read each year. This year I read 60 books, not including the countless books read to and with children. What follows are my favorite books from 2016: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman This is not only a favorite book from this year but one I’ll be... [Read More]

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Surreal Moments of Mothering
By     |    May 2, 2016
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Surreal Moments of Mothering

Mothering has been a series of surreal moments lately. Last week, I traveled with our oldest and a large group of his 7th grade classmates two hours from our hometown to the University of Wyoming, my alma mater. UW is the only four-year institute in Wyoming. Both Craig and I graduated from there. Much has changed in the decades since we called Laramie and the university home. I was giddy leading up to this field trip. We’ve taken our kids... [Read More]

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Meaning Behind Childhood Heroes
By     |    Feb 3, 2016
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Meaning Behind Childhood Heroes

I was recently verbally slapped for my 8-year-old’s choice of heroes. They are, for the most part, athletes, and another adult expected better from me as the parent. I was told it should bother me he didn’t name a scientist or teacher or former president. It doesn’t. As he matures, his list will change and those larger-than-life people he sees on TV and in the news will no longer dominate his thoughts, but stay firmly planted in memories of his... [Read More]

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Lessons from “The Nightingale”
By     |    Sep 18, 2015
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Lessons from “The Nightingale”

I read the words, “I always thought it was what I wanted: to be loved and admired. Now I think perhaps I’d like to be known.” I slowly inhaled and gently closed the book. To be known, for someone to clearly and completely understand who you are, and love you anyway, this is what I want. I found the words for my feelings on the fourth page of Kristin Hannah’s “The Nightingale.” The story is lovely and sad, but honestly,... [Read More]

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One Thing that Changed Our Travels
By     |    Aug 25, 2015
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One Thing that Changed Our Travels

I remember five years ago standing in a visitor center making the decision to purchase a book titled, Passport To Your National Parks. I thought the book would be a nice way to remember places we visited but had no idea how much it would change the way our family travels. It was meant to be a souvenir but changed the way we travel. The passport is a blue, small, spiral book where tourists can collect stamps from visits to... [Read More]

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The Great Bedroom Swap
By     |    Aug 7, 2015
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The Great Bedroom Swap

I stood in Menards looking down a long aisle of shelving possibilities wondering why I was even at a home improvement store. The day started with the sole intention of moving one bed from the spare bedroom to the tween’s room. I was looking for shelving while the basement at home was filled with multiple dismantled bed frames and a dresser stood smack-dab in the middle of the upstairs hallway waiting to make the journey downstairs. This is exactly why... [Read More]

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Florida: Universal’s Islands of Adventure
By     |    Jun 30, 2015
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Florida: Universal’s Islands of Adventure

The main draw for us to visit Universal Orlando was the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The Harry Potter books captured my imagination in college and now I have my own muggles who wield wands and casts spells like their favorite Hogwarts characters. Universal Orlando consists of two parks: Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. In order to tour both parks, visitors need to purchase park-to-park tickets granting access to both parks. I’m going to discuss the parks separately,... [Read More]

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Percy Jackson Birthday Party
By     |    May 18, 2015
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Percy Jackson Birthday Party

My favorite birthday parties to plan are based on books. Our third son turned eight this weekend and celebrated with a Percy Jackson themed party. Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan is a family favorite. Our son is well-versed in mythology and has a passion for weapons. We knew there would need to be training worthy of demigods. Characters in Riordan’s books train at Camp Half-Blood, so our basement was transformed into camp for the day. At... [Read More]

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Summer Reading with Children
By     |    May 15, 2015
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Summer Reading with Children

The school year is winding down and papers are arriving home with ways to keep children reading over the summer months to avoid the summer slide. Public libraries run reading programs along with publishing companies and book stores. There are quite a few options, more than I remember as a child. Reading is part of our family lifestyle. We have bookshelves, book baskets, book bins and use books for decorating. We’re known to ask our children to put the book... [Read More]

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