Movie Review – “Hello, My Name is Doris”

MyNameisDorisMoviePoster

Quirky…Heartfelt…Flawed…Hilarious….

These four words describe the main character in, “Hello, My Name is Doris.”

This laugh out loud comedy with dramatic moments engages you from the start when you meet the vintage loving, clutter collecting, slightly clueless, romantic Doris, (spectacularly played by Sally Fields).  It is an adventure from the start, as you get inside the head of the character; and her various fixations and daydreams after she meets the new art director where she works.  That Doris, with her mismatched, crazy wardrobe, actually works in this hip company environment provides laughs and more than a few jabs at the perceived millennial mindset.

Like all misperceptions, this movie reminds you that what you see isn’t always what you think. The handsome, but old soul Art Director (played by Max Greenfield), sees beyond the outward appearance of “Doris” and befriends her after a series of well-played Doris-driven opportunities. He develops an unlikely friendship with her, unaware she is pining for him romantically.

The movie pokes fun at the generational divide: aging versus younger, tech-savvy women. Interactions among lifelong friends of Doris and others create hysterical scenes. Doris puts herself “out there,” much to the chagrin of her judgmental brother and sister in law. She relies on the knowledge of her friend’s 13 year old granddaughter, with fashion tips, places to go, online activities and more. This opens the doors to another series of unforgettable moments.

Despite the humor, the movie delivers many layers of this main character, including the darker side of losing yourself to the in-home care of a loved one, and how clutter and objects with memories overwhelm the psyche.

Along her “I’m possible” journey, Doris encounters a slightly cheesy motivational speaker (played by Peter Gallagher) a concerned shrink, and a series of alternative, holistic, organic characters who accept Doris and graciously welcome her into their circles.

Sally Fields soars with this character, making all of her quirks and daydreams so endearing you will laugh until you cry!

Bottom line… “My Name is Doris” is a must see movie and “Best Actress – Oscar worthy” in my movie goer book. Need I say more? See for yourself.

Behind the Curtain….

We all have things we are afraid of, so we hide behind our own curtains. Every so often we may peek out for a view…but how many times do we just sit and wait. Sometimes we let others perform, even open the curtain for others. But, what’s behind your “curtain” in life?

Behind the Curtain....

“Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net”

Why are you hiding?

Every stage has a curtain, either actual or imaginary. Some use curtains that raise or open. Others simply need a spotlight turned on. Either way it is the beginning, the show is about to start! So you step out onto that stage with nervous, yet joyful anticipation. An audience is there waiting….will you entertain from your heart, or your head? Will you listen to your critics and hide again? Or will you rise up above to earn and then hear the cheers from the audience?

Find YOUR meaning in your LIFE performance.

Standing in the SPOTLIGHT with a down pool of light washing over you, you are exposed in a sense, yet the audience is hidden from your sight. Everyone sees YOU, yet you can’t see THEM.  Will you freeze in that moment or will you embrace the light and express that person that has been hiding behind the curtain. You can feel the heat of the lights on your face and then the music starts. It’s time to “DANCE.” Yes, that curtain may eventually close at times. The curtain in your life will rise up and down; it will open and close; but if you hold on tight to your courage, your confidence, YOU can take charge.

What a glorious moment that will be!!!

Step out from behind that curtain and take YOUR spot on the STAGE of LIFE.

Your audience awaits….

BROKEN (Five Minute – Free Write)

IMG_7497 (Edited)

Shine On

 

A fragile vase sits upon a pedestal, enjoying the warmth of the sunlight through
the window, when all of sudden BAM! The window breaks, as a ball propels it forward
onto the hardwood floor. It is broken. Pieces seem to be strewn all over.

The vase will never be the same.

Is there strong enough glue to keep it together?

Will it retain the water to feed the flowers that are placed inside of the vase?

You can hear the crunch of the glass, as the ball rolls to a stop and the final pieces fall…clink, clink, and crunch. Then there is a mysterious…Silence. The parts are brushed together into a small pile… sharp edges, flawed, and imperfect. Waiting… Wondering…

Suddenly a warm healing light appears that will help restore its splendor. This light of strength sees the magnificent beauty of the pieces. With the strength of a father and heart of a mother, this Shining Light gets to work. The pieces are glued one, by one in a unique and beautiful pattern. No, it will never be the same fragile vase it was before, the initial core is the same, but this vase has even MORE strength and beauty from within.

There is LIFE to it again. It will no longer be placed up high on a pedestal. It will sit at the family table and breathe in the miracles around it. Flowers can again be placed inside to be nurtured and cared for. That “vase” which was once broken and lost has been now been found and RESTORED with eternal love.

Celebrate Under a Celtic Rainbow.

IMG_1170

Aye… ‘Tis time to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day! Travel with me “Under the Rainbow” to discover some of our family’s St. Patrick’s Day traditions that you can also enjoy. It doesn’t matter if you are Irish; the activities are fun for families, children, grandchildren, even couples. (Just think ‘unique’ and adapt accordingly)

1.Create a “Leprechaun Trap.” Using the imaginations of the minds of toddler to teen, we recycle and use household items to construct the perfect trap. Each year we try new things, or let the youngest add her touch. We have never “caught” a leprechaun (yet) but the time we share creating the trap is a family favorite. And yes, “leprechauns” do drop in from time to time on or near St. Patrick’s Day. They leave items such as books, and gold tokens (Amazingly, the tokens work at local arcades). Sometimes they leave candy or goodies, but most of the time they create a bit of a mess. We have been awakened to chairs tipped over, and things out of place as the leprechauns scurry about the house…

DSC073552. Gold Coin Hunt. Think of this as an “egg hunt” but using gold coins. They are hidden throughout the house or whatever location we might be at around St. Patrick’s Day. (One spot looked a lot like a Disney hotel.) At the toddler stage, it was fun just to “find” and drop them in a small pot, but as the kids have grown we use the coins to “buy” time or adventures, not “stuff.” Examples: 5 gold coins for a movie and popcorn with mom and dad (Yes, they still want to do that.); 5 gold coins for a game night choice (you get the idea). To make it fair, each child is supposed to find a certain amount of coins. Once they have reached the limit, they help their siblings.

IMG_1459

3. Rainbow Art. The projects change from year to year, but the idea remains. We use colors from the spectrum to create our own individual rainbows (paint, paper, yarn, fruit, candy — the options are endless) and then select a favorite Irish Blessing to accompany it. These simple art projects have become family “treasures.” The creativity and quality time improve each year

IMG_1456

4. Dance, Sing or Play Music. Whether it’s using our own instruments, or air guitar, we play favorite tunes, and dance…together…on our kitchen “dance floor.” “DJ Daddy” spins tunes on holidays and/or family fun nights as he takes requests from a wide range of ages.

5. “March Madness.” Technically it has nothing to do with St. Patrick’s Day. However, it is a March Tradition that falls just after the holiday. Create your own household “March Madness” friendly competition. Incorporate board games, maybe an indoor basketball hoop contest, snowman building (depending on YOUR weather), or anything your household enjoys together.

I will leave you with an Irish Blessing from the McCormick family to yours…

IMG_1156

May the raindrops fall lightly on your brow.

May the soft winds freshen your spirit.

May the sunshine brighten your heart.

May the burdens of the day rest lightly upon you,

and may God enfold you in the mantle of His love.

 

Don’t Doubt…DANCE it OUT!!!

DanceItOutWhen in Doubt… DANCE it out!

Can you hear it? No, not the “voice in your head”silly. The Music!!
It’s always there within your reach. Everyone has a song or tune that speaks to them, touches their souls and inspires their inner well-being.

So… what’s your “signature tune?”

You know the one, the song that — no matter what — you will sing out loud in your car or shower; the one to which you will always get up and DANCE!

A playback button pushed or keyboard clicked will start the music that may be the one thing needed to create new ideas and chase those troubles away. So turn it up! Crank the volume and DANCE.
Okay, full disclosure. I am Dance Teacher, so music is an important part of the job, but I’m also a Wife, Mom, Writer and Editor so I’m tossing an eclectic mix of “personalities” into the world. It can get a little stressful at times, but I have always been one for multitasking. Music & Dance have been and always will be my default solutions to my challenges.

Thus my motto: “When in Doubt…Dance it out!”

To me, MUSIC and DANCE combined is actually the solution to nearly anything.
– Let’s say you have a PowerPoint of important graphics/sales forecasting, or photos from your recent vacation. Watch it for one minute. Now add MUSIC and watch it again; any difference?
– You are on a road trip to your next sales meeting, in a convertible (because it sounds fun), top down. Yes, the sound of the wind whipping through your hair is nice, but turn up a favorite tune? It is SO much better.
– You have been wracking your brain with an overwhelming problem to solve. Play a little music, and you may just find the answer. It’s the standard ‘walk away from a challenge; take a breath to get a fresh view’ technique with a little zing to make you sing.

Consider a myriad of everyday events made better by music and dance:
-The movie trailer with the voice overs, but without dramatic music? No Way!
-The sports event without the musical interludes, or cheers…Not even…
– The climactic scene in a thriller video without drums beating or ominous music… I don’t think so.
-A bride walking down the aisle in total silence… weird.
-The world famous university marching band entering the field quietly… can’t even imagine!
Dance is all about steps. Heck so is life, family and business. So listen to a favorite singer or band and begin moving forward, one step at a time. If you are the more adventurous type, you could even add a leap or spin… oooooh!
Make some noise! Get some ideas! Build your business! Have fun with your family!

Don’t Doubt.

Dance. It. Out.
Ps: Animals love music too! –> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3bwpBuHgTU&sns=em

TREE of LIFE… (Five Minute Free Write)

 

©2013 Dancinmoma

©2013 Dancinmoma

I watch as you bend in the wind, gently, with a calming rocking motion. You are my PEACE. You are my breath. You are my pillar of STRENGTH.

With you in my world, within my view…I can reflect on my life.

I can LEARN. I can PRAY. I can GROW.

Your leaves change to beautiful colors, creating a canvas of painted beauty. I see your leaves float down – from your branches, like wings from an angel.

You stand strong in the cold, winter chill, painting another piece of nature’s artwork with the glistening snow that sits on your branches.

As the ice melts and drips from your branches, a bud emerges again. Leaves fill your branches, enduring the weather that you storm. Branches may fall, but your inner roots remain intact. You are my HOPE and RENEWAL. You, like all of us, are rooted in LOVE; as you thrive through seasons of change.

You are GOD’S BEAUTY; right outside my kitchen window. You are always there. I can count on you. You are a BLESSING. As the sun sets and rises behind you; I am surrounded in GRATITUDE.

 

You show me GRACE as I rock along with you in the wind, or sit beneath you and look up to your magnificent glory.

You are my HOPE for the future. You are never-ending, unconditional, and pure LOVE rooted with unequivocal FAITH…

The Dance…

The music starts.

Your heart starts beating nearly uncontrollably as the countdown signals your entrance.

You take a deep breath, toss shoulders back and swing aside the curtain.

You’re on stage.

Focused… you sense applause as you head toward the spotlight greet to your dance partner. You catch each other’s eyes, smile and off you go… to entertain the audience and raise money for charity. It’s “Swingshift and the Stars.”

DANCING from your hearts.

One year ago today I experienced that joy and fear. I stepped out of my comfort zone into a world of “ballroom” dancing for a charity dance-off.

Photo by Record Eagle

Photo by Record Eagle 2014

What an adventure! Through hours of rehearsal and perspiration, my partner and I developed a mutual trust. We agreed to attempt  “lifts” I swore I could never accomplish. See that girl on the man’s shoulder? It’s me! I call that the “Peter Pam,” as it was the closest I ever felt to flying.😉

Photo by Windborne Photographic

Photo by Windborne Photographic

Yes, I have taught dancers how to safely perform lifts, and I have done too many to count as a young dancer. But 20 years and three children later… this was a big, nerve-wracking decision!

Photo by Windborne Photographic

Photo by Windborne Photographic

“The Dance.”

For me, it’s what life is all about. Dance is a gift of art and self-expression that must be shared. Because I live that philosophy, I know that dance on the highest levels requires balance, grace, coordination, and athleticism. To me the most important elements are your emotional commitment and the passion behind the movements. I believe this applies not only to DANCING but everyday life. We need more passion in our actions!

Through these performances I learned that facing fears directly can be exhilarating and intensely satisfying when you achieve what you never thought possible, or had been afraid to try. And that is what my run on the charity dance-off “Swingshift and the Stars” accomplished for me. I competed as a dance professional in the four-month-long  charity dance-off. I was paired with a local celebrity. We invested over 5 months of rehearsals. It allowed me time to learn new steps and then teach them to my celebrity partner, a self-proclaimed non-dancer. We mastered intricate routines for the four separate competitive events in which we were to compete.

Photo by Windborne Photographic

Photo by Windborne Photographic

Photo By Windborne Photographic

Photo By Windborne Photographic

I personally learned four different dances; each with its own rhythms, footwork, arm holds, turns, emotion, character and styles. First was a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers-inspired Foxtrot, followed by a John Travolta-inspired hustle. For the country-themed event we performed a West Coast Swing. The finale was a spicy, very spicy Latin Bolero (waaaaay out of my territory) but I DID it!!

With the support of fans and sponsors, and the votes of judges, our hard work brought in over $130,000 for Leelanau Christian Neighbors!! I believe when you put your heart into something (whether its dance or something else) you will be rewarded for your effort. For this event, our community joined together, for an all-time record. Over $300,000 was raised for the 2014 season.

Swingshift award

We did it! I did! The community did it! And what we achieved for the charities fills my soul to the core.

Overflowing with gratitude a year later, my heart continues to fuel my daily life with family, friends and teaching. Returning to the event for this season as a judge has already touched my heart in ways I didn’t expect. I know how hard these couples are working (along with everyone else behind the scenes). I get a little choked up thinking about the impact they will make for their charities and the precious folks they will help.

YOU can make a difference too…in those tiny moments, in those big moments and just by offering a smile to someone.

The music is starting…

Join me as we all grab each other’s hands, listen to our hearts, find that passion to drive our action… and DANCE!!!

School Bell Blues, Woos and Shoes…

©2015 dancinmoma.com

©2015 dancinmoma.com

Hear the faint sounds of school bells and buzzers?!  Yep. The free-spirited beach days of summer are wrapping. Kick off the flip flops and sandals. Another school year begins for our kids, who seem to be growing far too rapidly.

Are you ready? Good. Not sure I am!

New worries; “what class am I in? Do have any friends in class. Who is my teacher?” Each demands an answer. Then there are the infamous school supply lists and clothes to prepare for the first day. (I’m all about pre-planning but seeing beach merchandise pushed back in early July and replaced by school supplies is too early for me. What happened to living in the moment?! I didn’t want a #2 pencil I just needed an extra pair of goggles!

I will miss the “quality time” spent with the little ones in the summer, mornings especially. There is nothing like a cup of coffee with a little one snuggling next to you as you read a book together, or watch the latest Disney Jr. show. Then there is sneak up behind him big “I love you” bear hug for your teen son as he heads out the door. Yes, we will still have our mornings, but not like the relaxing, summer versions. Life keeps moving. Now, if you are even 5 minutes late out the door during the school year, you miss the bus, be late for school, or mom and dad are late for work. Let’s be honest, yes will have a slightly more organized scheduled, but we may also revert to the sometimes hectic, eat and run days to just….make it out the door!

“Brush your teeth! Get dressed please! Shoes on! Grab your backpack! Please! Is anyone listening?!” are just a few of the instructions and questions that seem to be on repeat (at least in our house). I find that no matter how organized I am each morning…. Something will still happen…a broken zipper perhaps, or the “where is my favorite sweatshirt?” moment.

Yet it’s the simple, crazy stuff we will miss most when they are older, because it goes fast, turbo fast. I mean everyone says it, but you don’t “get it” until it happens in front of you.

Each grade is a milestone that you will be sharing with your kids. Each child develops his and her own styles, tastes, personalities, likes, dislikes, and ways to learn. What works for one child isn’t always best for your other children. So we adapt. We learn. As parents, we really do have the best seats to watch these little creatures evolve into young men and women.  Sure, they will make mistakes (we all do) but when you can see them actually “learn” from those mistakes, it is gratifying. I can honestly state that, although challenging at times, being a parent is one of the most soul filling careers in the world.

This year in particular is going to be tough for me with the big transitions for my “babies.” The oldest will be in his second year of high school. High school! This summer I have been driving (no riding) with my learners-permit teen at the wheel. I still can’t get over it. When I make a comment about “getting too close to the mailboxes,” I still see the four-year old sending hot wheel cars down our hilly driveway to “see what would happen” or the toddler in the little car using his feet to propel him as he pretends to drive and honk his horn. “Beep! Beep!” he would exclaim. Now that “beep beep” sound is my heart on the inside, as he maneuvers his way around town. Calm and cool mom on the outside, but on the inside….

The middle one is transitioning to “middle” school. I have him frozen in time somewhere around the 2nd grade talent show (and wondering how we got here!). These pre-teen years can be tough; they are the years they literally grow over night. They pull away even more with their independence; voices and bodies start changing and kids at that age can be downright mean. They start to challenge your words just a little more (frustrating, right?) but they also show the kindness you had a part in molding. They have ideas, lots of them and they can be SO entertaining.

My youngest, my last little miracle, is moving on up to Kindergarten. SIGH. What used to be “firsts” and things to look forward to with her older brothers, has now become….lasts for us….“the last time we will pull off the training wheels, the last time we will ever have a kindergartener….” Not to be too sappy (Okay, totally sappy and sentimental) but watching her breaks my heart while filling my soul. There are days I wish I could go back and just play with the little toddler version of her, because she too is on her way to growing up. I have to pause and remind myself that although they are “lasts” for us as parents they are still “firsts” for her so we enthusiastically cheer as she reaches her next milestone.

So, back to school they will go, back packs filled with supplies. Dedicated teachers will fill their precious minds with knowledge, creativity and independent thinking. They will meet new friends, share stories with one another and learn new things every day. They will build their confidence and learn from their mistakes. As parents, we must be there to help guide them the best that we can.

School is definitely an adventurous ride that moves at warp speed but WE are the lucky ones. We have VIP seats to watch our children grow into strong, knowledgeable, faithful, enthusiastic and caring young adults.

We will hug them through the blues, cheer them with the “wooooos!” and offer our best advice because we have already walked in those school shoes.

Let’s enjoy the journey.

 

(Note: This post was previously published in our local magazine entitled, “Life on Holiday.” )

The Heart of a Princess

©2015 Dancinmoma

©2015 Dancinmoma

Inside the heart of every girl…there is a princess. This princess is the holder of her own strength and faith. For within her, she can find that place where magic happens. She has inner beauty, dreams, hope and plans to make the world a better place (with or without a prince). The sparkles on her tiara are reminders to look for the good in every speck of dust. For even the finest diamond comes from a large, dark piece of coal. When she finds this shimmer, she can send this light out into the world to warm the spirits of others.

This princess works hard; she listens to her friends and celebrates both sorrow and joys with them. She helps others find their inner sparkle. That light can take her through the dark times, but her favorite thing to do to make things better is to….DANCE!! Yes. Dance!!

To dance like a princess is to express oneself and yet be unified with others in the simple JOYS of moving across the floor or just twirling in place.

Spreading happiness…

Listening without judging…

Helping others…

Letting her light shine…

For it only takes one simple gesture of pure kindness to ignite someone else’s light….