Tag Archive | family

Care a Whole Awful Lot

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,

nothing is going to get better. It’s not. ~Dr. Seuss

Your acts of kindness are iridescent wings of divine love,

which linger and continue to uplift others long after your sharing. ~Rumi

 

We Are All Shades of Pantone

“Christian, Jew, Muslim, Shaman, Zoroastrian, stone, ground, mountain, river… each has a secret way of being with the mystery, unique and not to be judged.” ~ Rumi

pantone-skin-color-angelica-dass
In an ongoing portrait series, artist Angelica Dass photographs people with backgrounds that are tinted with Pantone colors to match the subjects’ skin colors. You can see many more at her Tumblr.

Love is the Great Attractor

Love is not a sentimental emotion. Love is a state of being, a force of the Universe. Love is the binding energy at the core of all Creation. Love pulls and holds all things together. Atoms are drawn to one another to create themselves into molecules. Molecules unite into cell, cells into matter, muscle, blood and bones. Love holds the moon to the earth, the earth to the sun, the sun to the galaxy. We exist because of Love. Love is the Great Attractor, the permanent, binding energetic fusion that holds all Creation together, uniting us into One. ~ Ann Mortifee, In Love With The Mystery

Neil deGrasse Tyson WeAreAll Connected copy
If you’re not following Neil deGrasse Tyson’s COSMOS, I encourage you to check it out.
Be prepared to be inspired and amazed! [click to visit website CosmosOnTV.com]

You Are The Gold

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when

our hearts are conscious of our treasures. ~Thornton Wilder

“You are the pot of gold at the end of my rainbow.” This darling expression is a favorite of mine, especially when making crafts with children around Saint Patrick’s Day.

when good people get togetherI feel that way about my readers too. Yes, you! I am deeply grateful for the friends I have made through this blog. There are so many good people in the world, and many of you wonderful people have found your way here. Your visits encourage me to do something I love: share things that I find inspiring. Every post is created with the hopes that it may brighten another’s face with a smile, lift a weary heart, inspire someone’s faith, or help spark a person’s creativity.

mirror old friendIt is amidst the process of sharing these topics that I myself am elevated. So thank you. My gratitude goes out to each and every one of you who travel with me on this fascinating and expansive blogging experience. Along with your own inspirational blogs, it is through your presence reading what I share and offering your Likes, Comments, and Follows that you add lovely blessings to my life.

My treasure for you at the end of this rainbow is actually a mirror, because I’d like you to look into it. You are the gold. You are a treasure. Thank you for being here. Namaste. Gina

Copyright © 2014 Gina ~ Professions for PEACE

 

Loving Trees

tree_canopy smAll my life, as far back as I can remember, I have felt a connection with trees. I’ve grasped trunks and branches during youthful climbs and wondered how my hands felt to them. I felt their surface as rough, crumbly, sticky in places with sap, and I wondered if they felt me climbing them as warm, human, fleeting, soft.

One of my earliest memories regarding my family involved a tree. A very tall tree. We lived near the end of a long country road and our yard had a row of tall spruce running along the property line, separating our house and yard from the road. I loved those huge spruce trees and would often climb up to sit, swing and bounce on those sprawling lower branches. For my tiny body of six years those branches made a perfect ladder all the way to the top, and one day I just kept going.

I can still remember the sticky sap that clung to my palms as I reached up to another and then another branch-rung in this ladder to the clouds. That is until the branches were so close together that all I could do was perch on the sturdiest one and hold onto the trunk. It was exhilarating. My heart was happy and excited and I felt so intimately close to that old tree. I felt safe. Cocooned. I even noticed how the breeze made that old tree sway. In my mind it was as if I was nestled in the clouds and I loved it.

spruce_tree 300Then I looked down through the branches and saw my family in the yard: mother gardening, father working on one of his cars, and much older sister preparing to head out in her own car. I could hear them easily and they were starting to ask each other, “Have you seen Gina?” so I unveiled my hiding spot and cheerily called out to them, “Hi Mom! Hi Dad! Hi Sis!” Unfortunately (but predictably) they didn’t think my being 50 feet up in a narrow evergreen quite as enchanting as I did. My Mom went into a screaming state of panic and her fear was palatable. I suddenly gripped that trunk and felt the rush of a powerful fear.

I climbed down with a much more unhappy energy than I’d climbed up with, but I still give thanks for that memory. The trauma from my mother’s fear helped imprint that day, that moment, into my brain to be permanently stored. I loved that tree, that day, the clouds, the breeze, even the sticky and prickly branches, and my mother’s introduction of fear helped sear that day into me so that I would never forget.

Once I became a mother it was easy to forgive and understand my mom’s frantic, scolding behaviour. While I never experienced looking up a 50-foot tree to see my six-year old child near the top, I can still easily understand her behaviour (although I don’t recommend letting your child SEE your level of panic, if at all possible). Obviously I made it down safely, although the coming down was vastly worse than the going up. I was harshly scolded and forbidden from ever climbing trees again. (Not that it lasted. I discovered an ancient walnut tree as well as a prolific cherry tree at our next home. I figured moving made that ‘No Climbing Trees’ agreement void)

tree roots 350Now mid-life has snuck up on me and those memories are decades old. In my world I now have 50-foot spruce trees on my own property. While I do not feel the urge to push my much-larger body through the branches in an attempt to reach the heights, I feel their roots. I offer love to their roots.

I wonder, is this a part of aging? In my youth I longed for the tip-top branches, swaying in the breeze, and now I respect and appreciate roots where I add compost, occasional fertilizer and water during times of drought.

I myself have put deeper roots down as I cherish these years of my forties. If I may be so lucky this is the halfway point… the true mid-life stage and I intend to show up and put on a good show.

Offering my love and appreciation for the two huge spruce I share this property with is one way I celebrate life. They are old trees, older than I am, and their sprawling shallow roots reach much farther than the drip-line. Their roots might even be under me now as I type in the den facing the street, beside the nearest of the two giant trees as I watch the pattern of the wind in its branches.

If this is the case and the roots are under my feet, may it receive this prayer I offer. May this tree feel my appreciation for the birds it shelters and the shade it offers. May it know those fertilizer spikes I pound in at the drip-line during spring rains are one way I show my love as I attempt to replenish the soil nourishment our city lifestyles rob from urban trees. May it, on some unknown level, feel my loving eyes as I watch its branches from my window and attempt to capture poetic words to describe the beauty I behold. May these old trees, and all the trees in my neighbourhood and the wilderness walks I enjoy, feel my deep appreciation for them and continue to flourish and share their oxygenating, healing energy with us all.

Thank You God for all the Trees.

forest-old-growth

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now.

~ Chinese Proverb

I willingly confess to so great a partiality for trees as tempts me to respect a man in exact proportion to his respect for them. 

~ James Russell Lowell

I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live
than other things do.
 ~ Willa Cather

See additional quotes on TREES and more on my Quotes Page.
Related reading at my older post: A Forest Sprite

[With genuine gratitude for these randomly-sourced royalty-free photos off Google images]

You Are Wanted

A few days ago I was at last in a cleaning spurt. That’s always a good sign that I’m feeling better. On a whim I decided to turn to the Spirit Channel with uplifting Christian rock as my choice of ‘background noise’ while I scrubbed my kitchen, instead of a nature documentary or cooking show.

It wasn’t long before I heard this song (shared below thanks to YouTube) and found myself singing along… and then going to YouTube to hear it again… and again.

As I was singing along I thought of my son’s friend, a lovely young man who left too soon. I thought about my darling and still-young dog who has lost her sight. And I thought of myself. Deserving of love exactly where I am right now, in this moment. “You are wanted!” I sang along.

The lovely songstress Dana Maclean co-wrote and sings these incredible lyrics, helping remind us of how important each and every one of us is. I encourage you to listen. I hope you enjoy. Namaste. Gina

WANTED

Written by JUSTIN EBACH, PAUL MABURY, and DARA MACLEAN

From the day you were born

And took your first breath

You opened your eyes and in came the light

He was watching you

But all of your life you couldn’t shake the lies in your head

Saying you’re a mistake

Oh but you were made

By a God who knows your name

He doesn’t make mistakes

 

You are wanted

To every broken heart, He stands with open arms

You are wanted

To every searching soul, look to the rising sun

If you’re lonely, hurting, gone too far

To the outcast you come as you are

For you, you are wanted, you, you are wanted

You, you are wanted, you, you are wanted

 

Let this be the day that joy takes the place

Of all of the years that shame tried to steal away

He is calling you

Lift your eyes to see His face

Come run into the arms of grace

 

You are wanted

To every broken heart, He stands with open arms

You are wanted

To every searching soul, look to the rising sun

If you’re lonely, hurting, gone too far

To the outcast you come as you are

For you, you are wanted, you, you are wanted

You, you are wanted, you, you are wanted

 

You, you have been marked

You’re set apart

And He calls you His

So you don’t have to search

Don’t have to look for where you belong

You are wanted.

Pet Smiles

You may have seen some or all of these images before but I feel it’s time for some funnies! Here are a few humorous images of dogs and cats. They make me smile and I hope they bring a smile to your face as well. Hang in there! xo Hugs, Gina

alluneedislove-and a dog

cat-Group-Hug

Funny-dog-story
funny_animal_pictures_8

funny_animal_pictures_2-9

awkward_moments_4

We-will-be-friends

IKEA cat

funny_animal_pictures_10-3

funny_animal_pictures_10

funny_animal_pictures_13

funny_animal_pictures_19

2hugyourdogorkitty

[with gratitude for these randomly sourced images off Google]

Teach Peace

teach your children well Peace Flash

Wayne-Dyer_children erichuber.com

Each and every one of us has the ability to help teach peace in the world, whether we are parents or educators, or not.

We can be an example of how to behave peacefully with friends, family, co-workers, and even strangers we cross paths with.

By offering compassion, kindness, and acceptance with all other beings at all times, we are leading the way for others.

We are demonstrating what kindness is about. That’s what it means to role model. We are being the way-showers. We are teaching peace.

close ears but open eyes example

teach peace - PeaceFlash

teach peace

peace banner bloggers4peace

Kids Are Worth It!

nothing you do for children is wasted 450This post’s title is inspired by the wonderful works of Barbara Coloroso, an inspirational educator on the importance of informed and loving parenting. She has written many acclaimed books on how to become a better parent or educator.

In my on-going celebration of doing all we can to gain skills in becoming better childcare givers, here’s some information, a short video, and books I’ve found helpful in raising happy, kind, well adjusted children. Whether you’re a parent or not, let’s all gain knowledge on how to encourage and support children and teens as they grow into adulthood. This is for us all!

It really does take a village to raise a child and it takes all of us to help build a loving community and a peaceful world. Every single effort is worth it!

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Barbara Coloroso is a bestselling author and for the past 38 years an internationally recognized speaker and consultant on parenting, teaching, school discipline, positive school climate, bullying, grieving, nonviolent conflict resolution and restorative justice. She has appeared on Oprah, CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN and NPR and has been featured in the New York Times, Time, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, and other national and international publications. Her uniquely effective parenting and teaching strategies were developed through her years of training in sociology, special education, and philosophy, as well as field-tested through her experiences as a classroom teacher, laboratory school instructor, university instructor, seminar leader, volunteer in Rwanda, and mother of three grown children. Visit KidsAreWorthIt.com
She is the author of four international bestsellers:
“Kids Are Worth It! Raising Resilient, Responsible, Compassionate Kids”
“Parenting Through Crisis: Helping Kids in Times of Loss, Grief and Change”
“The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander: From Pre-School to High School, How Parents and Teachers Can Help Break the Cycle of Violence”
“Just Because It’s Not Wrong Doesn’t Make It Right: From Toddlers to Teens, Teaching Kids to Think and Act Ethically”

Parenting With Passion: Barbara Coloroso talks about the importance of listening to kids.

Here are parenting books I’ve enjoyed and encourage checking out:

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kids laughingKids Are Worth It! Raising Resilient, Responsible, Compassionate Kids ~By Barbara Coloroso
This parenting classic is set to teach a new generation of parents the importance of treating kids with dignity and respect. Rejecting the “quick fix” solutions of punishment and reward, Barbara uses everyday family situations ~ from sibling rivalry to teenage rebellion ~ to demonstrate sound strategies for giving children the inner discipline and self-confidence that will help them become responsible, resourceful, resilient, and compassionate adults. Amazon.ca Amazon.com

Raise Your Kids Without Raising Your Voice ~By Sarah Radcliffe
This book has become a favourite guide for parents. Radcliffe understands the challenges that parents face in the big and small tasks of raising kids. She offers stress-reduced strategies for gaining children’s cooperation, eliminating the need for anger and criticism. Gentle on both parent and child, these strategies can be easily learned and used by anyone. Her communication tools foster love, acceptance and healthy boundaries. And she helps parents cope with the most challenging aspect of childrearing: their own feelings of helplessness and stress. Simple and effective, this is a great book for any parent. View book on Amazon.ca and Amazon.com

How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk
~By Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlich
Internationally acclaimed experts on communication between parents and children, Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish offer this bestselling classic with fresh insights and suggestions as well as the authors’ time-tested methods to solve common problems and build foundations for lasting relationships. Enthusiastically praised by parents and professionals around the world, the down-to-earth, respectful approach of Faber and Mazlish makes relationships with children of all ages less stressful and more rewarding. Click to view this book on Amazon.ca and Amazon.com

children teach what-life-is-all-aboutWhat Do You Really Want For Your Children?
~By Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
If you have children, then you have dreams for them. You want to see them growing up happy, healthy, self-reliant, and confident in themselves and their abilities. But if you’re a typical parent, you’ve wondered if you’ll be able to give them all this. There’s good news: you can. Wayne Dyer shares the wisdom and guidance that have already helped millions of readers take charge of their lives ~ showing how to make all your hopes for your children come true. View on Amazon.ca and Amazon.com
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[Randomly sourced images off Google]

Precious Resource

Mother and Daughter Reading TogetherWhen I became a mother I was completely in the dark about being a parent. I was the first person I knew to go through the process of a pregnancy, giving birth and becoming a new parent so I had no role models. I had no idea of what to expect. Therefore I did what I’ve done all my life in such situations: I researched. Whenever I feel unsure of something I look more into it and read all I can about it. I want to see it being done, I want to be around others who are doing it and watch how they do it right. Research has always offered me reassurance.

playing for change imageLuckily there are many role models who adore children and know they’re our precious gift and hope for the future. These wise teachers share their knowledge in books, websites, workshops and courses. There is a wealth of information available to help anyone learn how to understand the importance of parenting and how do give our very best to this life-changing endeavour.

If we want to become a better chef, we make an effort to learn from others. Same with gardening, playing a musical instrument, or any other endeavour. We have to make an effort to learn the best way to do it. So let’s make an effort to learn how to excel at child care rather than just doing what we think works, or the way our parents raised us. Let’s see what new information resonates and works for our lives and our children. Even a few tips we acquire that can help calm quarrels and rivalries, build loving relationships, regain household order and foster mutual respect is worth every effort it takes to obtain the information and the time it takes to do some reading.

children laughingNo one is born with the knowledge of how to be an excellent parent, and becoming a parent does not automatically make one a good parent. Like stand up comics have sarcastically observed, we have to get a license to drive a motorcycle or car, or to even have a dog, but any fool can have a kid!

Let’s not be foolish with this precious role we’ve been granted as parents (or anyone who spends quality time with youngsters such as teachers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, nannies and babysitters) and get wise by picking up a book filled with the generous assistance of those who want to help. Libraries are filled with books on the subject of raising children into well adjusted and happy adults who will lead our world into the peaceful future we know we all deserve. Let’s make the effort to learn how to raise happy kids because it’s priceless!

children - Alice Walker[Randomly sourced images]

Kahlil Gibran “On Children”

kahlil gibran novel the-prophetLebanese artist, writer and poet Kahlil Gibran‘s novel from 1923 “The Prophet” has been translated to over forty languages, has sold over 100 million copies, and has never been out of print. Click here to view it on Amazon. According to Wikipedia, Kahlil Gibran is the third best-selling poet of all time, only behind William Shakespeare and Lao-Tzu.

While the entire novel is a beloved masterpiece, a favorite section will forever remain ‘On Children‘. Please visit my post from last Mother’s Day that was inspired by these wise words. Also inspired were the group Sweet Honey In The Rock (see post) who’ve recorded a lovely rendition in celebration of this incredible writing by Gibran. I’ve included the words to Gibran’s original work here as well as the slightly altered lyrics by the performers. May we be inspired to sing along to the uplifting beat and raise the upcoming generation remembering these truths.

Let us also remember the wise words from Mahatma Gandhi, “If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children.”

Kahlil Gibran’s On Children

Sweet Honey In The Rock performing Kahlil Gibran’s “On Children”

Your children are not your children
They are the sons and the daughters of Life’s longing for itself
They come through you but they are not from you
And though they are with you, they belong not to you
You can give them your love but not your thoughts
Sweet-Honey-in-the-Rock logo 200They have their own thoughts
They have their own thoughts
You can house their bodies but not their souls
For their souls dwell in the place of tomorrow
Which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams
You can strive to be like them
But you cannot make them just like you
Strive to be like them
But you cannot make them just like you
Your children are not your children
sweet honey in the rock - small photoThey are the sons and the daughters of Life’s longing for itself
They come through you but they are not from you
And though they are with you, they belong not to you
You can give them your love but not your thoughts
They have their own thoughts
They have their own thoughts
You can house their bodies but not their souls
For their souls dwell in the place of tomorrow
Which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams
You can strive to be like them
But you cannot make them just like you
Strive to be like them
But you cannot make them just like you.
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peace banner bloggers4peace

Year of the Snake

~ Happy Chinese New Year ~ Gong Xi Fa Cai ~

I was born into a family that, while not of Asian ancestry, celebrated the Chinese New Year. My nearest and dearest are such Signs as Rabbit, Monkey, Ox, Dog, Horse, Dragon, and Snake! My mother prepared homemade Chinese food that was so good I still dream about it. I keep her memory alive by doing my best to replicate (and add to) her dishes.

Now my own family eagerly anticipates my feast of Chinese delicacies such as fried dumplings with rice vinegar and fresh ginger for dipping, a bountiful vegetable stirfry with oyster sauce, beef satay skewers with spicy peanut sauce, steamed noodles and sticky jasmine rice. That’s on my menu for this year anyways (it evolves).

Our house and front door have festive decorations that have been up for days. Tomorrow for our special supper we will wear something new and bright (preferably red!) and after dinner we’ll enjoy hot green tea with our fortune cookies as we laugh and ponder what they say. Then we joyfully enter a new year with a new Sign, embracing a positive expectancy of the very best.

May you and yours enjoy good fortune, vibrant health, abundant prosperity, and genuinely nourishing and loving relationships, this year and always.

chinese new year 2013

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The most common Chinese ways of saying Happy New Year are Gong Xi Fa Cai (Mandarin) and Gong Hey Fat Choy (Cantonese).

Even though the pronunciations are slightly different, both are written the same way: 恭禧發財

Welcome to Year of the Water Snake!

While last year’s Dragon was Yang energy, this year of the Snake is the balancing Yin.
We’ll probably see substantial developments in the area of science and technology this year.
This is a Water year as well, the element most closely associated with education and research,
which helps make 2013 an excellent year for scientists, educators, and academics.
Snake is a positive sign with lots of good energy that can help us face the challenges ahead.
Let’s take advantage of this vibrant influence to help improve our lives ~ and our whole world!

year of the snake and personality

Sweet Honey In The Rock

Sweet-Honey-in-the-Rock logo 200Sweet Honey in the Rock captured my heart decades ago when I’d enjoy their music and performances on episodes of PBS programs Reading Rainbow and Sesame Street with my young children. The more I learned about them and the more music of theirs I collected, the deeper my love for them blossomed.

sweet honey in the rock performance photoThey are an all-woman, African-American a’cappella ensemble. A Grammy Award-winning troupe, they express their history as women of color through song, dance, and sign language. They have worked together from four singers to the difficult five-part harmony with a sixth member translating with sign language. Although the members have changed over 4 decades, they continue to sing and have helped produce children’s albums as well as those aimed at adults.

sweet honey in the rock photo 350The group was founded in 1973 by Bernice Johnson Reagon, who was teaching a vocal workshop with the Washington, D.C. Black Repertory Company. She retired from the group in 2004. The name of the group was derived from a song based on Psalm 81:16 which tells of a land so rich that when rocks were cracked open honey flowed from them. Bernice said that the first song in which four women blended their voices was so powerful there was no question what the name of the group would be. Their music combines contemporary rhythms and narratives with a musical style rooted in the Gospel music, spirituals and hymns of the African-American Church. The ensemble tackles five-part harmonies and composes much of their own music. They address topics such as motherhood, spirituality, freedom, civil rights, domestic violence, immigration issues, and racism. Reference details: Wikipedia ~ Official site: SweetHoney.com

I celebrate these dynamic performers along with their outstanding music! These women sing for peace. I applaud their excellent efforts and want to share the inspiration they offer right here on my blog. Watch for more to come! Let’s clap and sing along as they help us raise our voices and stand up for peace. We can pray for peace daily, and we can take action. Let’s get inspired and see what we each can do towards creating peace on earth, right here and right now! Let’s stand up for freedom! Let’s stand up for peace!

Sweet Honey In The Rock at the Carpenter Centre, with commentary by the bwordproject.com

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peace banner bloggers4peace

Non-violent Movies

handfulof popcorn 123rf.com
One of the best parts of weekends is curling up with a movie and a bowl of popcorn to enjoy some laughs or touching moments. This is an excellent time to nourish our spirit and not fill our minds and hearts with images of violence. Let’s make careful and informed choices before we watch ‘whatever‘.

These lists are my effort to offer you ideas of movies that are quite low on the violence scale. While some have action and excitement, they’re mostly comedies and dramas that focus on the plights and pleasures of our shared human condition.  No horror here. Animated movies are included because they are some of the best movies ever made and are certainly not just for children.

I have only included movies that rate above average on IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes (nothing below 70% Positive Ratings at time of posting*). I’ve gathered these two lists from my personal experience as well as from online research, so I haven’t seen them all yet. I recommend you check any movie before viewing it, especially with younger people or guests. Some have mild violence and the second list here is for adult audiences and those movies may have mild nudity or strong language.

Here are links to places you can simply type in the name of the movie you’re considering and learn more: IMDb  Wikipedia  RottenTomatoes  and especially Common Sense Media for examining a movie before viewing it with children, or to avoid movies with sexual content. 

May we all find something that is a joy to watch and lifts our hearts!

First List:

Rated “PG-13” “PG” or “General”
50 First Dates (2004 US comedy, PG-13, sexual content)
A Beautiful Mind (2001 US Biographical drama, PG-13)
A League Of Their Own (1992 US Drama, Rated PG)
An American Tale: Fievel Goes West (1991, Animated/Family, Rated G)
As Good As It Gets (1997 US Comedy-Drama, Rated PG-13)
Babe (1995, US Drama/Comedy/Family, Rated G)
Back To The Future (1985 US Comedy-Action, Rated PG)
*batteries not included (1987 US Comedy-Drama, Rated PG)
Benny And Joon (1993 US Drama-Comedy, Rated PG)
Big (1988 US Comedy-Drama, Rated PG)
Big Fish (2003 US Fantasy-Drama, Rated PG-13)
Brave (2012 US Animation-Family, Rated PG)
Calendar Girls (2003 UK Comedy-Drama, Rated PG-13)
Chocolat (2000 US Comedy-Drama, Rated PG-13)
Cinema Paradiso (1988 Italian Comedy-Drama, Rated PG)
City Slickers (1991 US Comedy-Drama, Rated PG-13)
Dave (1998 US Comedy-Drama, Rated PG-13)
Departures (2008 Japanese Drama, Rated PG-13)
Dersu Uzala (1975, Japanese/Russian)
Driving Miss Daisy (1990 US Drama, Rated PG)
Edward Scissorhands (1990 US Drama/Science Fiction, Rated PG-13)
ET: The Extra Terrestrial (1982, Drama/Science Fiction, Rated PG)
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986 US Comedy-Drama, Rated PG-13 for language)
Field Of Dreams (1989 US Drama, Rated PG)
Forrest Gump (1994 US Drama, Rated PG-13)
Ghostbusters (1984 US Comedy, Rated PG)
Groundhog Day (1993 US Comedy-Drama, Rated PG-13)
Harvey (1950 Classic charmer, sweet story about tolerance) RECOMMENDED: Thanks eBL!
Home Alone (1990 US Family-Comedy, Rated PG)
How To Train Your Dragon (2010 Animated Family, Rated PG)
Hugo (2011 US Action-Adventure, Rated PG)
In And Out (1997 US Comedy, Rated PG-13)
(#1) Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981 US Adventure, Rated PG)
(#3) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989 US Action-Adventure, Rated PG-13)
(#4) Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008 US Adventure, PG-13)
It’s A Wonderful Life (1946 US Classic Drama, Not Rated. Engaging, sweet story)
Jean de Florette (1986 French Historical Drama, Rated PG)
Jean de Florette II (Manon des Sources 86 French Drama PG) RECOMMENDED:Thanks Kozo!
Julie And Julia (2009 US Comedy-Drama, Rated PG-13 for some language)
Kinky Boots (2005 UK Comedy-Drama, Rated PG-13)
Mary Poppins (1964 US Family movie, Rated G) Heart warming frolic for all ages
Millions (2005 UK Family film, Rated PG) Good movie for families
Miss Congeniality (2000 US Comedy, Rated PG-13)
Mr. Holland’s Opus (1997 US Drama, Rated PG)
My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002 US Comedy, Rated PG)
Nanny McPhee (2006 US Family movie, rated PG)
Nanny McPhee Returns (2010 US Family movie, Rated PG)
Ratatouille (2007 US Animated Family, Rated G) For kids but adults may enjoy more!
Say Anything (1989 US Drama, Rated PG-13) Great teen coming-of-age film
School Of Rock (2003 US Comedy, rated PG-13) Good positive message
Shrek (2001 US Animated Family film, Rated PG) Some edgy humor directed at adults
Singin’ In The Rain (1952 US Musical) Often considered the finest musical of all time.
Sleepless In Seattle (1993 Comedy, Rated PG) A fairy tale even teens can enjoy
Some Like It Hot (1959 US Classic, Comedy) One of the wildest romantic farces ever
Somewhere In Time (1980 Drama-Fantasy, Rated PG) RECOMMENDED: Thanks GFS & Patty!
Star Trek (2009 US Adventure/Science Fiction, PG-13) Classic franchise gets new life
Tangled (2010 US Animated Family film, Rated PG)
That Thing You Do (1996 US Comedy-Drama, Rated PG)
The Accidental Tourist (1988 US Drama, Rated PG)
The Blind Side (2009 US Drama, Rated PG-13)
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005 Fantasy, Rated PG)
The Magic of Belle Isle (2012 Drama-Comedy, Rated PG) RECOMMENDED (Thanks Russ!)
The Muppets (2011 US Comedy/Family film, Rated PG) Fun and heart warming movie
The Never Ending Story (1984 US Fantasy film, Rated PG) Not for very young viewers
The Odd Life Of Timothy Green (2012 US Drama, Rated PG) For kids and non-jaded adults
The Princess Bride (1987 US Fantasy-Comedy, Rated PG) Enjoyable, sharp-edged fairy tale
The Pursuit Of Happyness (2006 US Drama, Rated PG-13) Best for over 10yr olds
The Rundown (2003 US Action/Adventure, Rated PG-13) Some non-graphic violence
The Secret Garden (1993 US Family movie, Rated G) May bore kids used to action films
The Terminal (2004 US Drama, Rated PG-13 from brief strong language)
The Truman Show (1998 US Drama, Rated PG) thought provoking for 8yrs and up
The Wedding Singer (2004 US Comedy, Rated PG-13)
The Wizard Of Oz (1939 US Classic Family Drama, Not Rated)
Under The Tuscan Sun (2003 US Drama, Rated PG-13) Sweet adult story; not for kids
Up (2009 US Animated Family film, Rated PG) Wonderful family film for all ages
Waking Ned Devine (1998 Irish Comedy-Drama, Rated PG) Some black humor
Wall-E (2008 US Animated Family film, Rated G) Charming eco-friendly adventure
Whip It (2009 US Comedy, Rated PG-13) Mixes girl power and teen angst
Willow (1988 US Fantasy, Rated PG) Magic-filled adventure for tweens and up

Second List – NOTE – Rated R:

For an adult audience, these movies have strong language; some nudity
A Fish Called Wanda (1988 UK/USA Heist-Comedy, Rated R)
Almost Famous (2000 US Drama, Rated R)
Amarcord (1974 Italian Classic Drama, Rated R)
Amelie (2001 French Comedy-Drama, Rated R)
Billy Elliot (2000 UK Drama, Rated R)
Garden State (2004 US Drama, Rated R)
I Heart Huckabees (2004 US Comedy, Rated R)
Jerry Maguire (1996 US Drama, Rated R)
Lost In Translation (2003 US Drama, Rated R)
Nobody’s Fool (1994 US Drama, Rated R)
Our Idiot Brother (2011 US Comedy, Rated R)
Planes Trains And Automobiles (1987 US Comedy, Rated R)
Sideways (2004 US Drama, Rated R)
The Full Monty (1997 UK Comedy-Drama, Rated R)
The Trip (2011 UK Comedy-Drama, Rated R)
Wonder Boys (2000 US Drama-Comedy, Rated R)

May we all enjoy and be enriched by our viewing entertainment!  Namaste. ~Gina

Links for researching movies:
http://www.commonsensemedia.org/
http://www.imdb.com/
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/
http://www.wikipedia.org/

*Note: This post updated March 18, 2014 to improve your reading pleasure!

Let’s Avoid Violent Viewing

I am not sure what can be done to stem the tide of violence that flows out of Hollywood. One thing we can do is use the very real power of our consumer dollars. By foregoing excessively violent films, we can instead choose to see a film without violence that actually tells an enjoyable story along the way!

film reel iStockphoto.com16 NON-VIOLENT MOVIES IN THEATRES NOW (Alphabetically listed)

A ROYAL AFFAIR (Danish Drama, Rated R) With gorgeous cinematography that’s reminiscent of a great master’s paintings, the film is a joy to behold. Unlike other films about royalty, it’s not just a vehicle for ferrying pretty costumes and romantic dialogue across the screen. It’s a heartbreaking, inspiring history brought to life, thanks in large part to its charismatic leads. And so much of what the Enlightenment thinkers espoused is still relevant today: Why allow others to determine your fate? Why give over your freedoms? Forget the run time; it’s rewarding to let it unfold.

BORN TO BE WILD (‘Heart-warming’ Documentary, Rated G) This brief (40 minutes) IMAX documentary narrated by the soothing tones of Morgan Freeman is a safe choice for younger kids because there aren’t any upsetting scenes of predatory violence or deaths, both of which are common in films about the animal kingdom. The two female experts followed in the documentary are wonderful role models because they’ve dedicated their lives to researching and rescuing animals, and preserving their habitats. Despite the sentimental visuals, director David Lickley doesn’t allow the narration to be overwrought or maudlin. Instead, he often hands over the narration to the experts so they can tell us why they’re so passionate about these animals – and why we should care as well.

FLIGHT (Drama, Rated R) Director Robert Zemeckis once again finds the perfect balance between characters and spectacle in Flight, as he did in his best films Back to the Future and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. A less talented director may have focused on the issue of alcoholism, but Zemeckis uses the suspense of the impending hearing, as well as rich characters and performances. Special effects are restricted to the first act. Flight bravely includes many unconventional moments, ranging from passionate speeches by minor characters to amazing moments with no dialogue at all. Flight is a Hollywood film, but it’s Hollywood at its best.

FRANKENWEENIE (Animation Fantasy, Rated PG) This movie was originally a black-and-white short film that Tim Burton directed and released in 1984, and turning it into a feature-length movie was obviously a labor of love. Both homage to classic monster movies and a tender drama about the love between a boy and his dog, this is a film that works on so many levels. For kids and tweens, there’s the basic story of a boy who will stop at nothing to get back his best friend; for young scary-movie buffs and adults there are countless references to the horror genre that are seamlessly woven into the story. It is frightening in parts, particularly when the resurrected animals are unleashed onto the town, but there’s plenty of humor and tenderness as well.

LES MISERABLES (Musical Drama, Rated PG-13) Characters suffer beatings, degrade themselves out of desperation, engage in gun and bayonet fights, claw their way through unspeakable filth, and more. Expect some bawdy lyrics/references, plenty of cleavage, some blood, and a few deaths (including one suicide). But ultimately, Les Miserables is about the redemptive power of love and faith, and there are many moments of hope and beauty amidst the miserable ones.

LIFE OF PI (Adventure Drama, Rated PG) This is an intense, emotional story of survival and triumph against the odds, with themes of faith, friendship, and perseverance. Although it’s rated PG, and there’s virtually no strong language, sexual content, or blood, this adaptation of Yann Martel’s bestselling novel has several harrowing scenes of storms, shipwrecks, and zoo animals killing, and eating each other – all of which are likely to be too much for younger children. Pi is in peril throughout the story (though it’s told as a flashback, so you know survives) and, after losing his whole family, he must negotiate sharing a very small space with a large tiger. Pi remains determined and optimistic, relying on his strong faith to see him through every challenge. While some of the twists and themes will probably have more impact on those who haven’t read the book, there’s no denying that Life of Pi is a powerful movie that’s just as likely to make you think as it is to make you shed a tear or cheer in triumph.

LINCOLN (US Historical Drama, Rated PG-13) Based on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s award-winning book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, LINCOLN is more about the political intrigue of Lincoln’s final months than a “biopic” about his personal life. Day-Lewis’ performance is a brilliant character study of a legendary man. The most sensitive issues in the movie are its depiction of war (severed limbs and bloody battlefields filled with dead soldiers are seen) and occasional strong language, including many era-accurate (but hard to hear today) racial epithets. But overall, the violence is much tamer than in war movies like Saving Private Ryan or Glory, and Lincoln is an educational, entertaining drama that even some mature 5th graders might be ready to handle, if they watch with their parents. (That said, it does move somewhat slowly, so kids hooked on fast-paced entertainment may not be interested.)

MONSTERS INC. 3D (Animation Comedy, Rated G) Parents need to know that Monsters, Inc. is about closet monsters, but from their point of view — scaring kids is their 9-to-5 job. Kids might be scared of the movie’s concept initially, but they’ll soon figure out that the monster Sulley is a softy who takes care of the little girl in the story who isn’t the least bit afraid of him. However there’s one scene where a monster the child does fear straps her to a chair and tries to steel her screams. Kids will find it funny that most monsters fear any contact with kids — when one monster gets a child’s sock on him the whole factory panics and biohazard workers quarantine and shave him. Young kids may need help understanding what the monsters in yellow are doing to him and why.

PITCH PERFECT (Musical Drama-Comedy, Rated PG-13) It’s a joy to watch a comedy like this which wraps you up in belly laughs and catchy songs and makes whatever ails you seem far away. All the a cappella troupes assembled here are awesome. Never mind that they’re kitschy and earnest and seriously competitive about their craft. The beauty of it is they don’t care; they just want to make music. This movie hits lots of the right notes and will leave you singing.

QUARTET (Drama-Comedy, Rated PG-13) A great choice for grandparents, parents, and teens to watch together, Quartet explores mature issues such as aging, fading talent, seeking forgiveness, and the importance of being passionate about the arts.

RISE OF THE GUARDIANS (Animation-Action, Rated PG) Filled with characters such as Santa, the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny and the Sandman, this is a fast-paced romp. Whether they personally believe in these characters or not, kids will root for the Guardians as they fight the forces of chaos and despair. It’s such a refreshing treat to see an animated film so thoughtfully made that didn’t come from Pixar. Director Peter Ramsey has made an impressive, imaginative fantasy where the wonder of childhood reigns supreme.

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (Comedy-Drama, Rated R) After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own. Positive ratings but warnings about a mature theme that includes mental illness, some family violence (yelling and pushing), and very strong language.

THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL (UK Drama-Comedy, Rated PG-13) Leave it to the English to show Hollywood that a dramedy starring a who’s who of seniors can be loads funnier, sweeter, and more romantic than the kind of forgettable fluff that passes for romcoms here in North America. The stellar cast is fabulous, but what else would you expect from such a winning group of British thespians? The plot is admittedly thin, but that doesn’t stop director John Madden from exploring the taboo issues of getting older: depression, sexuality, dissatisfaction, even death. But all of the transformations are captured in a way that’s touching and humorous to witness. Audiences completely unaware or unappreciative of dry British humor may not “get” some of the subtler, genius lines, but the dialogue is full of rich, laugh-aloud lines.

THE IMPOSSIBLE (Historical Drama, PG-13) Movies about a massively destructive event, whether it’s a war or 9/11, can be difficult to watch and even more difficult to make well. By focusing on one family, director Juan Antonio Bayona wisely distills the 2004 tsunami tragedy down to the myopic perspective of one distraught woman and her mature-beyond-his-years son. Watts and Holland’s interactions beautifully capture the bond between mother and child. No longer a little boy but far from a man, Holland’s Lucas is fiercely determined to survive and help his mother secure medical attention. Once they safely land at a Thai hospital, we find out what happened to the father and brothers thought lost. The Impossible isn’t easy viewing, but it reminds us all that even in times of despair, there are moments of hope and miracles.

THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER (Drama, Rated PG-13) Charlie is starting high school, a momentous and joyous occasion, if not for the fact that his best friend killed himself months before, and Charlie himself is recovering from a breakdown. It’s a scary situation, until he befriends Patrick, a charismatic, openly gay senior whose biggest heartache is that his closeted boyfriend refuses to acknowledge their relationship in public. Patrick’s step-sister Sam, a sweet girl saddled with an unfair reputation, also takes to Charlie – and vice versa. Together they navigate the treacherous waters of high school with some success, until Charlie is forced to face his past again. NOTE: Parents need to know this is an edgy film that’s frank about the exploits of teenagers. They push back against parental intervention, drink, and use drugs. One girl blithely jokes about being bulimic. There are couples (both same- and opposite-sex) making out, teens bullying each other, and plenty of swearing.

THE SESSIONS (Drama, Rated R) This movie is transcendent, laying bare (no pun intended) the emotional and sexual needs of the disabled in a way that’s universal. Mark isn’t simply looking for release; he’s searching for a deep and abiding connection beyond his faith. The movie follows his exploration elegantly and without judgment, and in so doing, elicits empathy. Hawkes deserves high praise for his rich, nuanced performance. He’s so believable we forget he’s not actually reliant on an iron lung in real life. His scenes with Hunt, who’s also great here, feel so private, so personal, that we feel both privileged and a bit intrusive watching them. Macy’s addition as Mark’s priest allows viewers a peek into Mark’s mind without bogging down the movie. And how wonderful it is to see a pious man not painted as a sinner for discussing his urges and needs. The Sessions is a powerful, emotional lesson in grace and compassion. NOTE: Parents need to know that The Sessions’ story isn’t appropriate for younger teens, but for mature older teens and adults it’s a film filled with compassion and hope that can provide a lesson about what sex and love mean and what they can bring to anyone’s life when approached in a healthy manner. 

Please research and decide for yourself if any of these are appropriate for you and your viewing companion(s):
http://www.commonsensemedia.org/
http://www.imdb.com/
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/
http://www.wikipedia.org/

I am temporarily unable to spend much time at my computer as I have been going through a health issue and subsequent pain. I look forward to catching up with all you wonderful readers and your excellent blogs as soon as I am back on my feet (ok, up and sitting at my computer for any amount of time). So this post has been in the works for a while as well as the one that follows: lists of older movies to rent or record to enjoy violent-free movie viewing. May we remain aware and carefully choose the quality content and imagery that will soak into our brains for two hours of watching a movie. May it be a time of enjoyment and enrichment! Namaste. Gina