Commentary #103: “The Elegance of Kindness”

Image Credit: Found on Gratitude and Trust

This post started with an email and a YouTube link. Thanks, Momma V.!

Al’s mom sent this link to me, asking if I’d seen it: Story Behind the Song: The Rainbow Connection


I hadn’t, so I clicked on it. It’s a bit dated now – It was posted in October 2016. However, what I clicked on and witnessed was nearly 12 minutes of magic and appreciation. It was an interview where Paul Williams discusses how “The Rainbow Connection” came to be. In the middle, Williams mentioned his website, Gratitude and Trust, along a post he wrote called “The Elegance of Kindness” about Jim Henson. I paused the video, grabbed a Post-It note, scribbled that down, and continued the video.

Visiting the website a little while later, I noticed that Paul posted it in September 2013. But, dates don’t matter.


As I started reading, all I felt was warmth when I digested Paul’s words. What an amazing life he’s had as a songwriter. He’s also a recovering alcoholic, a major feat by itself. And, to meet AND work with Jim Henson! Wow.

He told the same story in the video as he did in his blog post, about not wanting to throw any surprises at Jim when he and Kenny Ascher were beginning to produce the music for The Muppet Movie (1979).

Jim smiled, and reassured Paul with these words, “Oh, that’s all right Paul. I’m sure they’ll be wonderful. I’ll hear them in the studio when we record them.”

Hearing Jim say that immediately allayed Paul’s fears and worries. He also told this story in the liner notes when the soundtrack was re-released for the nearly 35th anniversary of the movie. And, in a way, this meeting paved the way for one of the most memorable and warm songs that has ever been created.


But the point here is “the elegance of kindness.” As I was telling Al about the video and the blog post, he immediately nodded and said, “Yes, exactly. That’s how many people have described Jim Henson. How kind he was.”

Jim Henson died in 1990. I wasn’t quite two years old when he left the world. But, I’ve learned who he was. And what an impact he has made! In his short 53 years, he became a legend. He created the Muppets, helped develop characters for Sesame Street, produced The Muppet Show, started the Jim Henson Foundation, and founded Jim Henson’s Creature Shop.


I made the same connection that Paul did about Jim. With kindness comes trust. With kindness and trust, magical things can bloom and grow. I don’t think “Rainbow Connection” would have been written if Jim Henson didn’t trust Williams and Ascher. There have been so many issues with trust, time and time again, with the world of entertainment. And it’s not limited to entertainment, either.

I write this post as the pandemic continues. I’m frustrated and appalled at the President of the United States and other leaders who have spouted clear lies, and they have incited great fear among millions of people. Millions of people who have gotten so many mixed messages at the worst possible time. No wonder I have trust issues! And there’s not a shred of kindness from the top. Sadly.


However, my spirit has been renewed. There is kindness, still.

Some Good News with John Krasinski is AWESOME!

I’ve loved Steve Hartman since he started reporting with CBS News in the 1990s (Remember Assignment America? And throwing a dart at a map of the U.S.?). A while ago, he did a four-part series called Kindness 101. Not only are his kids adorable, but he’s sharing many of his stories, old and new, and reminding everyone who’s watching what the important things are in life. Character. Gratitude. Empathy. Optimism. Purpose. I’ve watched all of them, and I’m excited the series is continuing.

Just today, I read a father’s account of his daughter, Emerson, and her letters. Her handwritten letters and decorated envelopes. She wrote a letter to her mailman, Doug, expressing her appreciation for him to help her mail her letters. Now, it’s gone all over the country, through thousands of people and postal workers. I’m inspired to be a pen pal again.

And, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Sesame Street’s theme is now “Smarter, Stronger, Kinder.” The elegance of kindness can, and should, be embraced as young as possible. But, you’re not too old to start. You’re never too old to embrace something like kindness.

Enjoy a special performance of “Rainbow Connection” from Kermit that posted to YouTube last week.

Stay safe, stay well, friends.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #194: My Favorite Things of 2019

Image Credit: Quote Master

So, before starting the lists of favorites, here’s my tally for books and Book Reviews for 2019:

Ratings Tally

  • 5 stars: 4
  • 4 1/2 stars: 5
  • 4 stars: 5
  • 3 1/2 stars: 2
  • 3 stars: 0
  • 2 1/2 stars: 0
  • 2 stars: 0
  • 1 1/2 stars: 0
  • 1 star: 0

ARC Reviews – Zero this year. Here’s to more in 2020.


Now, on to my favorites!

Favorite Books

Favorite Movies

  • Avengers: Endgame
  • A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
  • A Girl Like Her
  • Blinded by the Light
  • Captain Marvel
  • Dolemite Is My Name
  • Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
  • Frozen II
  • Long Shot
  • Midway
  • Shazam!
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home
  • The Devil We Know
  • Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Favorite TV Shows

  • The Act (Hulu)
  • Cold Case (Netflix)
  • Emergence (Hulu)
  • Flint Town (Netflix)
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit – Seasons 2 – 6 (Hulu)
  • Mindhunter (Netflix)
  • Stranger Things – Seasons 1, 2, and 3 (Netflix)
  • Sesame Street 50th Anniversary Special (PBS)
  • The Orville – Seasons 1 and 2 (Hulu)
  • The Passage – Season 1 (Hulu)

Favorite Podcasts

  • Aftermath
  • American Girls
  • Bag Man
  • Cold
  • Dateline NBC
  • Forensic Files
  • Not Guilty
  • The City
  • The Dream
  • The Thing About Pam
  • Today in True Crime
  • Visitations

Well, that wraps up my favorite things for 2019!

What about you? What were some of your favorite things of the year?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Tag #91: “Cause I Love(r) Talking About Books – Taylor Swift’s Lover Book Tag”

Image Credit: Red Gal Musings

Here’s the link to Elizabeth’s post: Cause I Love(r) Talking About Books / Taylor Swift’s Lover Book Tag


alrighty, now to post the official rules for the tag. 

1. Link back to the original creator of the book tag

2. Thank the person that tagged you and link to their post. (who tagged me??? IDK! but i do know i saw Marie did this tag and that’s probably where i tagged myself)

3. TAG AS MANY SWIFTIES AS YOU WANT! (Or non-Swifties, maybe inspire them to listen to our Queen)


1. I FORGOT THAT YOU EXISTED: A BOOK THAT YOU WANT TO FORGET YOU EVER READ

Allegiant, Veronica Roth.

2. CRUEL SUMMER: A BOOK YOU TURN TO WHEN THINGS GETS ROUGH

Any of Nicholas Sparks’ earlier works.

3. LOVER : YOUR BOOK OTP

Katniss and Peeta.

4. THE MAN: YOUR FAVE KICK-ASS FEMALE PROTAGONIST

Tie between Hermione Granger and Katniss Everdeen.

5. THE ARCHER: A BOOK WITH GOOD MENTAL HEALTH REPRESENTATION

Mosquitoland, David Arnold. This is easily one of my favorite books of 2019.

6. I THINK HE KNOWS: YOUR FAVE FICTIONAL CRUSH

Michael Moscovitz.

7. MISS AMERICANA & THE HEARTBREAK PRINCE – FAVE ANGSTY ROMANCE

The Fault in Our Stars.

8. PAPER RINGS – BOOK WITH AN UGLY COVER THAT YOU ABSOLUTELY ADORED

Their Eyes Were Watching God. I was assigned to read it during my senior year of high school.

9. CORNELIA STREET – A BOOK OR SERIES YOU NEVER WANT(ED) TO END

Tie between Harry Potter and The Hunger Games.

10. DEATH BY A THOUSAND CUTS – A BOOK OR SERIES THAT DESERVED A BETTER ENDING

The Divergent trilogy.

11. LONDON BOY – YOUR FAVE BRITISH MALE PROTAGONIST

Karrion from Fallible Justice. I reviewed the book as an ARC, so I need to get my hands on a real copy at some point.

12. SOON YOU’LL GET BETTER – A BOOK THAT YOUR HEART WILL NEVER RECOVER FROM

The War That Saved My Life.

13. FALSE GOD – A CHARACTER YOU WOULD LEAP INTO THE BURNING PITS OF HELL TO SAVE

Alaska Young.

14. YOU NEED TO CALM DOWN – A BOOK WITH A POWERFUL MESSAGE

The Battle of Jericho.

15. AFTERGLOW – A BOOK YOU WANT TO GIVE A SECOND CHANCE

I eventually want to re-read Go Set A Watchman again.

16. ME! – BEST CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT

Margo Roth Spiegelman.

17. IT’S NICE TO HAVE A FRIEND – FAVE FRIENDS-TO-LOVERS STORY

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist.

18. DAYLIGHT – IF YOU COULD ONLY READ ONE BOOK OR SERIES AGAIN AND AGAIN, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Harry Potter.


Tag – You’re It!

I’m tagging Kristian from Life Lessons Around The Dinner Table.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #101: Sesame Street 50th Anniversary Special

The minute the 50th Anniversary Special was announced, I marked my calendar for November.

I was pleasantly surprised to find the full special posted on the PBS website for a whole week, from November 17th through the 24th. I watched it twice! And I experienced so many emotions!

I really enjoyed the story. Joseph Gordon-Levitt was a great host! And so many former cast members were a part of it. The songs were my favorite part, especially the performance of “Sing” at the end.

I’m planning to get it on DVD when it is released.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Book Review #77: “Mosquitoland”

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I’m going to go out on a limb here, and declare that Mosquitoland is my favorite book of 2019.

I had a feeling this book was special when I found it at Barnes & Noble last year, while I was looking for books to purchase with the gift card I received for my birthday.

I fell in love with Mim, the main character, right at the start. I loved how Arnold addressed mental illness, psychiatric care, and dysfunctional families. I was rooting for Mim the entire time on her journey, which became quite a map of routes, detours, and exits.

I admire Arnold and his creation of his characters. I love how he used music throughout the story. The resounding theme of being on a journey stuck with me the whole time. It was quite a ride.

Arnold is so good with his words and storytelling, that I felt like this story was a mix tape of coming of age, mystery, suspense, a bit of horror, and all of it was delicious. I could hardly tear my eyes away from the book. I wanted to know what happened next.

I found myself a bit surprised with the end of the book. No spoilers — But it was an interesting turn, something I hadn’t considered. It made me like Arnold even more as an author.

I look forward to reading more from Arnold – He has three more books I’m eager to devour.

5 out of 5 stars.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Tag #85: Song Challenge

1980s Music

Image Credit: Pinterest

I wasn’t tagged for this. However, I love everything Kristian at Life Lessons Around The Dinner Table posts. When I saw this on her blog, I wanted to participate, too!

Here’s the link to Kristian’s post:


A Song Challenge from Laura Venturini

The original post was created by Laura Venturini. You can find her post here:

Weekly Song Challenge-Round 9

Rules:
Copy rules and add to your own post, pinging back to this post.
Post music videos for your answers to the musical questions.
Tag two people to participate!


1. Post a music video of a song by an artist popular in the 80s.

Rick Astley – “Never Gonna Give You Up”

2. Post a music video of a song that makes you wanna shake your groove thang!

Van Halen – “Jump”

3. Post a music video of an acoustic version of a popular song.

Eric Clapton – “Tears in Heaven” (MTV Unplugged)


Tag – You’re It!

  • I’m not tagging anyone specifically. But, if you want to participate, please do!

Thanks for sharing your post, Kristian! You inspired me to get back to the blog after a long 11-day hiatus. Thank you!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #219: Romantic Movies (Day 18)

Romantic Movies

Image by Nietjuh on Pixabay

The Wedding Singer (1998)

The Wedding Singer film poster.jpg

I LOVE this movie!!

In my opinion, this is one of the best 1980s-period movies. Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore are adorable. And I heard the name “Julia Gulia” for YEARS before I saw this movie in full.

In a way, this movie is still relevant today. There are people who fall in love with others who have certain images or ideals of them, like Linda did with Robbie. However, Robbie finally comes to his senses and recognizes what a good thing, and a good person, Julia is. And that’s part of what makes this movie so endearing.

Glenn’s character reminded me of my ex, John, in a really creepy way. I’m glad Julia finally saw the light, but her character reminded me of me when I was in school. It was weird!

This movie is easily in my top 10 films now. I’ve only seen it twice, but I plan to watch it more frequently. Like other films, a big selling point for me is the soundtrack. I also love how Billy Idol is involved!


Come back tomorrow for a new movie!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Tag #78: Song Request Book Tag

Thanks, Daniel, for tagging me!

Here’s the link to the post where I was tagged:


Rules

  • Thank and link back to tagger.
  • Credit to Daniel @ Page to Page
  • Listen to tagger’s song requests! After you’re done listening to the three songs the person who tagged you has chosen, choose a book that you think best goes along with that song and tell us why you chose it!
  • Request 3 songs of your own! Give any three songs (and your corresponding book choices that think go well with said song) you want for your taggers to listen and respond to!
  • Tag 5 people!

Daniel’s Song Requests

Song: “Falling Apart” by Broods

A Wrinkle in Time

Book: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle

I mean, the book starts with “It was a dark and stormy night,” so you can only go up from there, right? I want to re-read this book this year. It’s been forever!

Song: “Not What I Meant” by dodie

Image result for pride and prejudice book

Book: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

My mind immediately went to misunderstandings. I know I say “That’s not what I meant” a lot! I think the assumptions and misunderstandings that occur between these characters fit perfectly with this song.

Song: “The Luckiest” by Ben Folds

Image result for a walk to remember book

Book: A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks

Daniel, this song made me cry!

It’s so hard to pick just one book for this song! Oh, man!

I knew a Nicholas Sparks book was perfect for this song. After much deliberation, I picked A Walk to Remember because I think the lyrics fit perfectly with how Landon eventually feels about Jamie. The tears, though. The tears.


Laura Beth’s Song Requests

Song: “I’m Comin’ Over” by Chris Young

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Book: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I think this song about wanting to be with someone so badly, and getting closure later, can easily be paired with a classic like Gatsby.

Song: “Better When I’m Dancin'” by Meghan Trainor (The Peanuts Movie)

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Book: Summer Boys (Summer Boys #1) by Hailey Abbott

When I need a pick-me-up, I’m drawn toward this song. I love how upbeat it is, and makes me want to move my feet! The same goes for Summer Boys and the rest of its series – It’s such a fun series to get lost in. I saw a girl in my high school orchestra class reading it one day. Intrigued, I asked her about it. She graciously let me borrow the first book, and then I found the rest on my own, most through the library. It’s definitely more on the “fluffy” side of reading, but I love the whole series. Now, I want to re-read all of it – Maybe this summer!

Song: “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond

Image result for calico joe

Book: Calico Joe by John Grisham

Whenever I hear “Sweet Caroline,” I think of baseball! John Grisham’s book is the perfect book for this song. In fact, when I first read this book, the song popped into my head a couple of times, and I found myself singing along!


Tag – You’re It!

  1. Destiny at Howling Libraries
  2. Fiction No Chaser
  3. Jenna at Bookmark Your Thoughts
  4. Kristian at Life Lessons Around The Dinner Table
  5. Simon at Planet Simon

This was such a fun tag. I love books and music, and seeing this combination was challenging, but inspiring. Thanks again, Daniel!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #208: Romantic Movies (Day 8)

Romantic Movies

Image by Nietjuh on Pixabay

Dirty Dancing (1987)

Dirty Dancing.jpg

Oh my word. This movie!

Much like Footloose, I memorized much of the soundtrack before seeing the movie in full.

I didn’t see the movie in full until I was well into college. Now it’s one of my favorite movies, and definitely a guilty pleasure.

While at Longwood, I had the great opportunity to attend the annual S.E.A.L. Leadership Conference twice, once as an attendee, and another time as a workshop presenter. The cool thing? The conference was held at Mountain Lake, near Pembroke, Virginia, where portions of the movie were filmed! They have Dirty Dancing Themed Weekends, and I’d love to do that someday.

When I joined the Longwood chapter of Alpha Sigma Tau, we participated in a fun event called “Greek Sync,” where many of the fraternities and sororities would select a group of members, and the groups would choreograph and perform a routine to that year’s theme. During my first semester as a sister in 2009, we used part of “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life” as our opening number of our performance, where Erica and Kirk, one of the sorority sister-fraternity brother couples, performed part of the dance that was in the movie. Ironically, when we were first starting rehearsals and decided to have this part in our performance, we were watching the movie so Erica could learn the dance moves. We found out that night Patrick Swayze died! We all cried our eyes out. None of us could watch the movie again for at least a week!

Back to the movie!

Patrick Swayze sets my heart on fire. May he Rest in Peace!

Jennifer Grey truly comes of age in this movie! I’m always jealous of their dancing skills!

It’s a good story, of course. And I love the scenery!

I shameless sing along to every song in this movie, especially “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life.”

I want to watch this movie again, right now!


Come back tomorrow for a new movie!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #206: Romantic Movies (Day 6)

Romantic Movies

Image by Nietjuh on Pixabay

Footloose (1984)

FootloosePoster.jpg

I’d memorized the words to “Footloose” by Kenny Loggins YEARS before I saw the movie in full. Once one of my sorority sisters found out I hadn’t seen the whole movie in 2010, she organized a sweet movie night, just the two of us, and we watched it in my dorm room. It was so awesome! Thanks, Sam!

I can’t articulate very well how much I love this movie! I love the music. I love Kevin Bacon. I love the story, which is based on real-life events from Elmore City, Oklahoma. I love the certain nostalgia feelings of high school. I went to college in a small town, so I could imagine how people in towns like Farmville, and hundreds (if not thousands) of others in these United States, live in a small, close-knit community where all the kids grow up together and their families know one another.

I also love how a series of life lessons are sprinkled into this coming-of-age story, which has comedy, drama, romance, and music!

As a Christian, I also appreciated the inclusion of the pastor and his family into the story, and the roles their characters play throughout the movie.

I will also mention that I enjoyed the Footloose remake in 2011. I loved seeing in theaters, and Al was so sweet to take me. I loved Miles Teller as Willard, and Julianne Hough was awesome as Ariel. I play the soundtrack in my car about a month, especially if I need a pick-me-up. While no one can outdo Kenny Loggins, Blake Shelton did a bang-up job with “Footloose.” I also enjoyed Jana Kramer’s version of “Let’s Hear It for the Boy,” and “Almost Paradise,” performed by Victoria Justice and Hunter Hayes. “Dance the Night Away” was a great choice for a pivotal scene in the remake as well.

Do you have a favorite song from Footloose? Me personally, my favorite is “Footloose,” followed by “Never” by Moving Pictures, and “Holding Out for a Hero” by Bonnie Tyler.


Come back tomorrow for a new movie!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂