A Thistle in the Sky

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I saw your thistle in the sky today,

cottony white against a fierce blue sky,

Scottish even now, it made me smile.

**

I notice your cardinals fly around me,

in those moments when I need you most,

red and bright, glorious in life.

**

I hear your voice in my dreams,

speaking advice and sage counsel,

reminding me of lessons past and learned.

**

Thank you for thinking of me.

Thank you for loving me.

I love you too,

forever.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Boundaries

The challenge this week is Boundaries my lovelies, so I’ve scrounged up a few delightful images from my grandparents’ trip to Scotland and England a few years ago, as well as a picture from my own hometown. I hope you enjoy 🙂

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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And because I just couldn’t resist…

Platform 9 3/4

Remembering Scotland

The bestie and I went to an awesome Celtic festival yesterday (and met Captain Jack Sparrow, which I’ll post about tomorrow most likely!) and it made me think of this post! Happy Monday my lovelies 😀

moonstonemaiden

Hello my lovelies, I’m in the mood to reminisce and since I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I used to be a Scottish history reenactor when I was younger, (ages 8-14 I think) I thought I’d give you all a glimpse into that magical world where I spent my youth. The early exposure to history left me with a lasting love of times gone by and wonderful memories of that magical time in my life. I hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane, but more importantly I hope it inspires you to take a closer look at the living history that’s all around you! (Note: There won’t be any pictures other than the tartan below because I want you guys to imagine the beauty and magic for yourselves, but  here is a lovely Loreena McKennitt song to listen to while you read to help set the mood!)

Let’s see…

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Monday Movie: Dear Frankie

Hello my lovelies, it’s time again for another installment of Monday Movies and this week I’ve chosen the incredibly moving film Dear Frankie, starring Gerard Butler, Jack McElhone, and Emily Mortimer. Somehow, and I still don’t know quite how, considering the types of movies I generally watch, I was unaware of this film’s existence until a little over a year ago when the bestie and I saw a preview for it on another DVD. Apparently Dear Frankie was released in 2004, but no one I know ever got the memo; I guess it’s a little known treasure that really needs to be seen by the general populace. Needless to say, the bestie and I embarked on a search to find this movie and watch it for ourselves (the trailer was just amazing) and finally last week I discovered it on YouTube.  After she forked over the rental fee, the bestie and I sat back and waited (and hoped) to be amazed…and we were!

Image From Google

Image From Google

Dear Frankie is one of those films where everything is just superbly done, the cinematography, the story, the acting, the EVERYTHING, and it leaves you breathless and perhaps a bit teary at the end. (That last letter…OH  MY GOODNESS…the tears!) Personally I whimpered throughout the entire thing, but like I’ve said before, I’m a notorious crier when it comes to films, I can’t help it – I mean, every time Frankie said “Da” I about lost it. And thankfully, it wasn’t just a one-note film: there was a great deal of complexity and comedy, a dash of romance, suspense, warmth, and just so much more. It truly runs the emotional gambit. Emily Mortimer’s portrayal of a mom trying her hardest to protect her son was emotionally spot-on, I constantly felt her fear, angst, worry, and the all-encompassing love she had for her son.  And being a serious fan of Gerard Butler, I have to say this may be my favorite movie of his now, just the way his character interacted with Frankie touched my heart. Though, I think Jack McElhone’s depiction of Frankie stole the movie from these other great actors; really, he was amazing!

Image From Google

Image From Google

The premise of the movie is this: Frankie, his mother, and his grandmother are almost constantly on the move, they settle into a place for a time and then leave whenever they (the mom and grandmother) feel it’s necessary, (the movie explains why but I’m trying to avoid spoilers, though in all honesty I’m probably going to give something away later…just because I want to give my two cents on the subject). Frankie’s father is noticeably absent, but almost all of the narration is Frankie talking to his father through letters which he faithfully writes and has sent to the ship at sea where his father supposedly works. Frankie, we learn, is deaf, so his narration is the only way the movie-watcher gets to hear his voice and inner thoughts, and incidentally, it’s also the only way his mother gets to hear his voice, as she is the one who receives these letters and she is the one who writes back, pretending to be Frankie’s father. Why the deception, you may ask, well you’ll find out later.

Anyway, Frankie has a giant map in his room with which he tracks his father’s ship as each new letter explains where the ship is now and what it’s like in this new place and through the letters he bonds with a father he can’t even remember. And after a bet (involving his treasured stamp collection that contains all the stamps his father has sent him from across the world) is made at school involving a bully, Frankie learns that his father’s ship is heading back to Scotland and he hopes to finally see his mysterious father. Frankie’s mother then leaps into frantic action, she can’t let Frankie down, and so she goes about “finding” him a father, sort of like hiring a daddy-for-a-day. Gerard Butler ends up being that man. So Frankie finally gets to meet the father he loves so much and over the course of two days, Gerard realizes just how special Frankie and his mother are.

Image From Google

Image From Google

Now, I don’t want to give away the ending, so I’ll stop my synopsis there (though I will say the ending is more hope-inspiring than the cathartic release I was expecting). I went into this movie hopeful but unsure and left cheering. Frankie completely captured my heart, as did the rest of the characters, and I just couldn’t believe how well done this movie was. It was simply superb! And although elements of the story were a little fantastical, it didn’t feel that way, everything came across as really realistic, especially the scenes we see of Frankie’s real father.

*Spoiler Alert* These scenes chilled me to the bone and I was incredibly glad they were few and very brief. Having personally experienced mental abuse, I could completely relate to the grandmother’s near constant panic and the mother’s reluctance to let her guard down with such a man as her ex. The scene where the father is so apologetic and charming and then completely lashes out the moment he is denied something he wants, wow…trust me, it’s very realistic and it left me clutching my chair with quite a bit of force.

So if you’re one for semi-heartwarming tales of family, love, and the unpredictability of life, I’d say definitely give this movie a try! I also advise bringing some tissues, just in case you’re anything life me (seriously, I whimpered/sniffled the entire length of the movie)! If you have seen Dear Frankie, what did you think? Did you tear up a bit, or were you stoic on the outside but a complete emotional wreck on the inside? Let me know what you think!

Image From Google

Image From Google

(Next on the must find and watch list is: Adam, starring Hugh Dancy. Sooner or later, I’ll find this film and I have high hopes for it!)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Forward

FORWARD is…

Seeing the beauty amid the fear:

FSU

Finding a new home:

FSU

Discovering new treasures:

FSU

Pausing mid-step to appreciate a bounty of unexpected color:

It’s also having faith:

Risking the unfamiliar path:

Having the wisdom to know that, only by looking back at our past, can we truly move ahead:

And finally, it’s being brave enough to reclaim yourself:

Me

And know that everything will be as it was meant to be.

 

Remembering Scotland

Hello my lovelies, I’m in the mood to reminisce and since I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I used to be a Scottish history reenactor when I was younger, (ages 8-14 I think) I thought I’d give you all a glimpse into that magical world where I spent my youth. The early exposure to history left me with a lasting love of times gone by and wonderful memories of that magical time in my life. I hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane, but more importantly I hope it inspires you to take a closer look at the living history that’s all around you! (Note: There won’t be any pictures other than the tartan below because I want you guys to imagine the beauty and magic for yourselves, but  here is a lovely Loreena McKennitt song to listen to while you read to help set the mood!)

Let’s see, where to begin…

Image From Google

Image From Google

Once upon a time…my family traveled the vast southern states, going were we could and where we were wanted – be it Highland Games or just simple re-enactments. I delight in seeing all the lovely new places, taking in the sights, breathing in the smells, learning the secrets, but in my heart, every new place was always deemed “Scotland”, it was always home. During the week I was a normal girl living a normal life in the modern world (we weren’t crazies who shunned technology or anything I assure you!), but on the weekends I was more often than not, transported to a world that most think was lost long ago. I wore beautiful costumes that were handmade by my grandparents using only materials that were present in the time we were representing. I had an entire outfit: a soft white blouse, a long fluid forest-green skirt and matching vest, leather hair adornments, a creamy-colored bead necklace, and simple little slipper/shoe things, all of which was made to allow for me to continue to wear it as I grew over the years. I spent my weekends happily running through enormous green fields lined with white traveling tents, winding my way through labyrinthine corridors of once-grand forts, and learning the tricks of the secret pathways and tunnels underneath them – where most weren’t allowed to venture.

Everywhere I looked were men in their colorful, distinctive kilts wearing the traditional animal skin sporrans around their waist and half-concealed sgian-dubh (small knives) tucked discreetly, but noticeably, in their knee-length socks. They looked so menacing or jolly (depending on what they were doing I suppose) as they prowled around the grounds, doing whatever it was the men did, from sword-fighting to leather-working to wood carving. My grandfather was one of the jolly ones, he was a walking-stick carver – among myriad other things – and he crafted some of the most intricate, beautiful walking-sticks that have ever been crafted by human hands (in my humble, completely unbiased opinion). He was an amazing man, it was because of him that we all fell in love with our Scottish culture. He loved to teach and pass on his knowledge  and it is only now that I realize how much more I could have learned from him if I had only spent more time listening and less time thinking I had all the answers…

Meanwhile, the women gossiped good-naturedly as they went about their own work, clothed in beautiful gem-colored skirts or gowns with coronets of fresh flowers or skillfully worked precious metal crowning their brows. A stripe of plaid was usually draped over their shoulders, or around their waists, telling the world what family claimed them, whose ancient blood ran through their veins. I wanted to be one of these women when I grew up, wanted to be admitted into their world as an equal, though I was loved by them all anyway and thought of them all as family. They spoke warmly and laughed prettily as they cared for their makeshift homes and watched over the children as we ran wild through a secret world we knew to be our own.

This world we visited was magical, it was beautiful, and above all it felt wrapped in a sense of warmth and safety. It was here that I learned to ask questions, listen carefully (when I had the patience to), and learn about the wondrous things around me. Here I laughed freely and knew  all of nature rejoiced in my good humor. And it was here where I was given my first taste of independence, I was permitted to ramble anywhere my heart took me, so long as one of my cousins went with me (at least when I was younger anyway). For an eight year old, this independence, this trust, was empowering and it emboldened me to know that I was free to conduct myself as I chose. I ran, played, laughed, danced with abandon, and sought knowledge from those who knew more than I did. I dressed the part, acted the part, and was the part. I was a young girl excited and enthralled by the beauty and the secret magic of the world around me. And as I grew, I became a young woman who still felt the thrill of power and joy knowing that there was a world out there where I could be free, where I felt powerful, special, and welcome.

To say I miss that time of my youth would be a gross understatement, but I know that none of what I experienced then has been lost, it’s everywhere I am and in everything that I do especially when I write. When I want to describe a world long ago and a place lost to time, I just close my eyes and remember my youth. I know what it feels like to slip into a beautiful dress and put flowers in my hair, excited at the prospect of going to a festival; the smell of the air tinged with ash and smoke, and the way fire dances in people’s eyes. I understand the feel of muscles straining when pulling back the string of a bow, or lifting a sword, heaving an ax  or whittling wood into something usable because there was a time when I did those things myself. I remember the feeling of family, of safety, trust, and of freedom, but perhaps most importantly, I know the feeling of magic and of having the entire natural world listen when I laugh, because laughter is a sacred thing. I hold these precious memories close to my heart and let them live again when I write. And through this writing, I have discovered a new place to call home, to be everything that “Scotland” was for me in my youth. And again I feel safe, protected, powerful, and loved. I close my eyes and I am free…I am home.

*Note: Click here to see a list of the 2013 Scottish Highland Games, it lists the dates and locations (though I advise checking to make sure the info is accurate!) I hope you guys check one out and let me know what you think!