Svaha Spirit Series ~ Fantastic Fungi

An excerpt from the feature documentary by Louie Schwartzberg following notable mycologist, Paul Stamets, as he discusses the important role mushrooms play in the survival and health of the earth and human species.

Mmm mushrooms. I’m cooking some up tonight to have on our steak.

Happy Sunday everyone!


Svaha Spirit Series ~ Step Into Liquid

Don’t you wish you were somewhere warm right now, basking in the sun, or sitting under a palm tree with a really good book in one hand and an ice cold drink in the other. Each time you look up there is peace and quiet all around you. When I feel like I need a holiday I find it helpful to watch movies that include the beach and surf. I just watched ‘Step Into Liquid’ the Dana Brown surf film, if you haven’t seen it, you should! It is one of the best surf documentaries I’ve seen. Every surfer that ever was is in it from Rabbit Kekai who has been surfing since 1927, Paul Strauch, Robert “Wingnut” Weaver, three generations of the August family, Blackie, Robert and son Sam.

Surfing isn’t just a guys sport, Layne Beachley who I saw surf in Maui along with Rochelle Ballard and Keala Kennelly can totally hold their own when they step into liquid along side the boys! Laird Hamilton is always on the edge of inspiring something new in the surfing industry and Jesse Billauer who I did a post on quite some time ago also grace this documentary. I couldn’t get the Dana Brown version but here is one mixed with some music that was awesome! Enjoy.


Svaha Spirit Series ~ Surviving the Treatment: The Return of Myles McLellan

A good friend of mine Lawrence Thomas shared the link to the video below when I posted ‘Stepping into the Ring with the ‘C’ Word”. I was overwhelmed as I am sure anyone who watched it was. Social isolation was something I never even considered a child might go through while dealing with cancer.

The first thing that comes to mind when I think of children is play, laughter and silliness. Imagine for a moment being a child and not having anyone to play, laugh or be silly with simply because nobody understands what’s happening to you, while you fight for your life! Myles McLellan was only 9 years old when he was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Myles not only had strength, but the confidence to express his feelings and emotions for all his peers to see with the help of Billie Mintz president of arc, Artists Raising Consciousness.

The focus of arc is to help raise awareness of those who make a positive impact on society by using storytelling and social media. Arc Institute aims to assist organizations with their philanthropic goals and their social responsibility mandate by telling stories through cinema and by helping illuminate the human question “Why are we here?” It just doesn’t get much better than that for me!

Myles faced his fears head on like a true warrior but sadly passed away at 13 when his tumor returned, but he left this world a difference maker. He helped educate other children and taught them awareness. The stigmas that are associated with cancer from a child’s eyes are important to talk about and by doing so, Myles made change.

Education is key to understanding what strength really is! Your kids should watch this video with you! You were a leader and hero Myles!

Surviving the Treatment: The Return of Myles McLellan

Thank you so much for sharing this with us Lawrence, I felt it wasn’t enough to just have a link posted! xo

Here is the link if you would like more information about Artists Raising Consciousness or if you would more information about president of arc Billie Mintz.

Check out Myles Miracle Mission Website!


“Stepping Into The Ring” with the ‘C’ Word!

I always find it interesting that when we start a new month with a new ‘header‘ and ‘theme‘ that somehow our theme is identified in our topics. Jacquie created this months artwork and chose Finding Lyrical Beauty in Individuality’.

I was surfing the internet looking for interesting stuff to write about when I came across this video, it’s powerful! I lost my Grandfather and Aunty Margie to cancer. It seems that everyone is connected to someone who is either going through cancer treatment, has lost someone to cancer or has it in their own family.

Here are two examples of women who not only inspire but also have their own unique individuality. I shared a website with you a while back called Crazy Sexy Life and an uplifting documentary Crazy Sexy Cancer which was created by Kris Carr an actress/photographer. It’s all about Kris looking for a cure and finding life. Kris Carr was diagnosed with a rare and incurable cancer. Weeks later she began filming her story. Taking a seemingly tragic situation and turning it into a creative expression, Kris shared her inspirational story of survival with courage, strength, and lots of humour.

Nicole Johnson is a bestselling author, performer, and motivational speaker. Nicole’s ‘Fresh Brewed Life‘ message gives ‘Hope for the Daily Grind’. She addresses issues ranging from the comedic struggle of motherhood to the tragedy of dealing with breast cancer. Nicole’s sketch “Stepping Into the Ring” is for those fighting for hope over despair in the battle against cancer.

Inspiring Women Expressing Their Individuality ~

Whether it’s you fighting the battle against cancer or someone you know is, the human spirit is NEVER alone. There is always support and inspiration around us. Nothing can take your spirit unless you allow it to.

Inspiring Women Rock!


Inspirational Short Films

Bonnie Johnson's PostI’m very excited to share a recent discovery:

SpiritClips is an extraordinary, online collection of inspirational short films produced in a variety of formats: live action, documentary, and animation. SpiritClips films can be viewed online or sent as beautiful, personalized “FilmCards”.

SpiritClips was founded by Academy Award-winning producer Rob Fried, whose films include Hoosiers, I Married an Ax Murderer, and the touching classic Rudy. The company’s mission is to create high-quality, inspirational content that can be watched, felt, and shared worldwide.

Every SpiritClips film is created with the same craftsmanship and commitment to quality as a theatrical-release film, and can be viewed in an ad-free, subscription-based environment at Premium members of send FilmCards to friends, family, colleagues and clients. Premium members enjoy watching these short films in a “big-screen theater” on Members also share their comments and inspirational stories in the SpiritClips community section.

SpiritClips is based in Los Angeles, CA, and is staffed by a passionate team of filmmakers and digital media professionals.

I’ve watched a number of these short films and I can tell you they have moved me to tears, made me smile and warmed my heart every time.  I have purchased the membership so that I can send any and all of these inspiring films to friends and family as personalized film cards.  How great is that?! Check the site out for yourself and watch the three free films they offer to give you an idea of what they are all about:spiritclips_moved_300x250_blue

Founder and CEO, Rob Fried explains why he started SpiritClips in his welcome letter:

In 2002, a friend sent a touching email story about a little girl seeking to purchase a miracle to save her younger brother who was very ill. It occurred to me at the time that this beautiful story could make a terrific animated short film – one that would not only entertain, but also inspire. When the boom in Internet video followed in 2006, I recalled that idea and saw a timely opportunity to form a venture devoted to sharing the messages of such stories through film. SpiritClips is that endeavor, and “The Price of Miracles” is the SpiritClips film based upon that email.

My second impetus for creating SpiritClips emerged from the idea of directly connecting audiences with filmmakers. As a veteran of the entertainment industry, I know that Hollywood is a place with tall barriers to entry. Unless you have personal connections or a very thick skin, the walls that surround the studios can be very difficult to penetrate. Even for those few that are successful, the audience with whom they want to communicate can feel like a very remote entity. However, thanks to the Internet, the opportunity now exists for artists to connect directly with their audience without the noise of a studio or other third parties altering their original message. SpiritClips is designed to be a place where the writers, actors, and crew who created these films can respond to the questions and thoughts of viewers and online visitors, and where the audience can contribute their own stories and ideas to the creative process in return.

The third and most significant reason I founded this company is more personal. My wife and I have two wonderful children, now ages 10 and 6. Together, we spend each day striving to teach them consistent values, provide meaning to their lives, and inspire them as they grow up. We hope that the messages about character and strength of human spirit that embody SpiritClips reflect the behaviors and attitudes towards life that our kids – and kids everywhere – might choose to emulate.

It is my hope that you are moved to share these works with your friends, family, classmates, congregants, students, or whoever holds a special place in your heart, and that you come back to share your own stories and ideas with us all.

With sincere gratitude,

Rob Fried
Founder and CEO

I hope you will check them out and be as inspired by these beautiful stories as I have been.  Let me know what you think!



The Bottled Water Fairytale

Bonnie Johnson's Post

My husband grumbles about how wrong it is to have to pay for water.  “Water belongs to every creature on our planet, it shouldn’t be a commodity that people profit from, and it’s all just bottled tap water anyway” – is his usual spiel.  “No it isn’t! It comes from the glacier fed pristine mountain-top natural springs  of …of…somewhere beautiful and untouched by man” is my highly intelligent come back as I pass the guy over the counter a fiver and get only a few nickels and dimes in change back.

So this post is for my husband.  You are right.  I’ll say it again, you are right and I should not have doubted you, wise man.  Lap it up because this may not happen again.

I’ve just discovered that my beloved Dasani bottled water, that I swore on my mother’s life, was glacier pure and sent from the magic natural spring fairies, is indeed just bottled tap water.  (You may want to be extra careful crossing the street Mom)

There is a small town in Australia called Bundanoon that has gone “bottled water free”.  The town’s website explains:

Bundy on tap

The Australian town of Bundanoon, in the NSW Southern
Highlands, 150 km south west of Sydney, has decided of its own
volition to neither sell, nor giveaway, bottled still water, within the
town precinct.
A meeting of about 20 businesses initially agreed to the initiative.
This was followed by community meeting in early July 2009, where
the packed town hall of 356 residents voted overwhelmingly to
support the initiative. It is believed, once bottled water alternatives
are in place — hopefully by late September 2009 — the initiative
will make Bundanoon Australia’s First Bottled Water Free Town.
(And possibly the world’s first.)
This small town community initiative has generated unprecedented
national and international media coverage and worldwide support.
As part of the initiative, Bundanoon is expanding drinking water
facilities in the town. Indeed, it’s anticipated that access to drinking
water in Bundanoon will be greater than before ‘Bundy On Tap’
began. Businesses will make available for sale reusable drink bottles
and chilled filtered tap water, whilst free filtered water stations or
‘bubblers’ will also be provided for the public and primary school
‘Bundy on Tap’ was Officially Launched on 26
September 2009, with a special event, (which included the Australian
Premiere of the acclaimed documentary ‘Tapped‘)

It was after watching the trailer for the documentary ‘Tapped’ and perusing the movies official website that I discovered Dasani (bottled by Coca-Cola) uses filtered municipal tap water.  As does Pepsi’s Aquafina by the way.  Then they charge us 1900 times the cost of that tap water.  Bottled water costs more than gasoline!! I also learned that only 20% of the plastic bottles used for water are ever recycled and that it takes up to 1000 years for a plastic water bottle to biodegrade in the landfill.  Plus –  BPA (Bisphenol – A) is what those large 5 gallon water cooler jugs are made out of.  Y’all know the danger to exposure of BPA by now I hope.

Enough of my ranting, here is the trailer to the documentary ‘Tapped’.  Cheers!



Food Inc.

Bonnie Johnson's PostI just spent $300 on groceries! And I didn’t come home with very much.  I’m shocked at how expensive it is to buy food these days.  It wasn’t long ago that when I spent that much money on groceries I would have the freezer fully stocked with all kinds of meat, the laundry soap and toiletries would be restocked and there would be enough in the cupboards to last a couple of weeks – easy.  This time my re-usable shopping bags brought home one small steak, a package of chicken breasts and a small package of boneless chicken thighs…and no laundry detergent or shampoo.  Ok, yes, I did have to buy razor blades and that alone came to $20 for a pack of 4.  I am NOT above using coupons either.

The part that really disturbs me is that I even chose, against my better judgment, the non-organic stuff (gasp!) to save some money.  I know I may pay for that choice in medical bills one day but sometimes it’s really hard to make the right choice when the price is FIVE times higher than that of the non-organic.  I’m not kidding.  I needed a can of crushed pineapple.  Side by side was the regular non-organic Dole brand for $1.69 and then the same sized can of organic pineapple for a whopping $5.49!  And I’m thinkin, could all of those chemical pesticides have really penetrated the hard pineapple skin?  Nah!  So ya, I bought the $1.69 can.  Can you blame me?  Milk, which I don’t even drink but needed for a recipe was the same story.  Now that is something that is probably worth buying the organic version of, but seriously what is with the price difference here.  And the organic certify police better be truly on top of who gets to boast that label because I will be REALLY pissed if I find out it’s all the same stuff.
The documentary below is one that I’d love to see all of if I can ever get my hands on it.  Food, Inc. exposes America’s industrialized food system and its effect on the US environment, health, economy and workers’ rights.  I’m sure most of it is applicable to Canada also and besides much of our food comes from south of the border.  Luckily there is a companion book that I plan on getting.  (Chapters or Amazon gift certificates are my favourite Christmas gifts to receive in case anyone was wondering)  I will do my best to choose organic whenever I can but damn I hope those prices come down to earth soon.

Here are 10 simple things you can do to change our food system:
Learn more about these issues and how you can take action on

1.  Stop drinking sodas and other sweetened beverages. You can lose 25 lbs in a year by replacing one 20 oz soda a day with a no calorie beverage (preferably water).

2.  Eat at home instead of eating out.  Children consume almost twice (1.8 times) as many calories when eating food prepared outside the home.

3.  Support the passage of laws requiring chain restaurants to post calorie information on menus and menu boards. Half of the leading chain restaurants provide no nutritional information to their customers.

4.  Tell schools to stop selling sodas, junk food, and sports drinks. Over the last two decades, rates of obesity have tripled in children and adolescents aged 6 to 19 years.

5.  Meatless Mondays—Go without meat one day a week.  An estimated 70% of all antibiotics used in the United States are given to farm animals.

6.  Buy organic or sustainable food with little or no pesticides. According to the EPA, over 1 billion pounds of pesticides are used each year in the U.S.

7.  Protect family farms; visit your local farmer’s market.  Farmer’s markets allow farmers to keep 80 to 90 cents of each dollar spent by the consumer.

8.  Make a point to know where your food comes from—READ LABELS.  The average meal travels 1500 miles from the farm to your dinner plate.

9.  Tell Congress that food safety is important to you.  Each year, contaminated food causes millions of illnesses and thousands of deaths in the U.S.

10.  Demand job protections for farm workers and food processors, ensuring fair wages and other protections.

Bon Appetit!



Crazy Sexy Cancer!

TracyI came across the story about Kris Carr while surfing the Internet looking for something inspiring to write about.  Kris Carr is more than inspiring, she gives hope to those fighting the battle against Cancer.

Crazy Sexy Cancer is an uplifting documentary about a young woman looking for a cure and finding her life.

In 2003, at the age of 31, Kris Carr was diagnosed with a rare and incurable cancer.  Weeks later her story began.  She took a tragic situation and turned it into a creative expression, Kris shared her inspirational story of survival with courage, strength, and lots of humor.

With experimental treatment as her only option, Kris was determined to find answers where there were none.  She traveled throughout the country interviewing experts in alternative medicine as she tenaciously dove head first into a fascinating and often hilarious holistic world.   Along the way she met other inspiring young women also determined to become survivors.  Their stories are as poignant and exciting as the women who tell them.  As Kris’s amazing journey unfolds, she realizes that healing is about truly living rather than fighting.

Crazy Sexy Cancer is more than a thought provoking film, it’s an attitude! It’s about rising to the challenge of life and turning lemons into champagne. is a supercharged health hub filled with compassion, knowledge, and an anything-is-possible spirit.  Their mission is to bring  together amazing resources and cutting edge experts in one easy to navigate hot spot.  Each time you visit you’ll be greeted by Kris’ latest blog or by one of her righteous Blog Posse members or guests.  This site is amazing for information on how to really live your life in the moment!



Jesse’s Story…a Mark Jacobs’ Billauer Documentary

I found Jesse’s Story while surfing Facebook.  I loved the powerful message it has and wanted to share it with you.  I absolutely LOVE Documentaries.  We can learn so much from real people who face challenges head on and rise above their egos and conquer their disabilities.  The Jesse’s among us are really living!   They are the ones who put life in perspective for all of us.  Thank you Jesse for sharing your story with us !  And thanks Paul for posting it on Facebook for all of us to see.

Jesse’s Story opened the Malibu Film Festival to a standing room only crowd.   At the awards ceremony, Director Mark Jacobs received two festival awards, Jury and Audience Prize for Best Documentary 2009.

Jesse’s Story chronicles the life of Jesse Billauer, a gifted athlete with unlimited promise.  This is not a surf film, it’s a film about inspiration.  Tara Cronica is all about inspirational stories.  Jesse’s Story is a tale of a young man who in a tragic surfing accident at the age of 17, severed his spinal cord, he now lives life as a quadriplegic.  It’s the story of how his life changed forever.  As news spread through the surfing community of Jesse’s accident, many of his would-be competitors came to his aid.  With the help of 9 time World Champion Kelly Slater and Hurley team member Rob Machado, Jesse devised a way to get back where he belonged, in the water.  A great example of  how ‘Community’ can work together to help others.

This is a story of a determined young man who succeeds where others might fail.  He doesn’t give up or give in, he accepts his path and continues down it with determination.  The film features captivating childhood footage taken by his parents, an emotional account of that fateful day at Zuma Beach by the surfers who saved his life and ultimately Jesse’s return to surfing.  Director Mark Jacobs has spent more then twenty years in the film and television industry.  He spent over eight years working on this film alone.  Jacobs said “Within the first five minutes of meeting Jesse, I forgot he was in a wheelchair and was truly inspired to live my ‘life to the fullest.’  It’s for that reason I chose to spend eight years of my life bringing the story of Jesse Billauer to audiences.”

The documentary stars Jesse Billauer and features, Christopher Reeve, Jack Johnson (one of my fav’s), Ben Harper, Bob Hurley, Rob Machado, Kelly Slater, Shane Dorian, as well as a host of friends and family.  Written, Directed and Produced by Mark Jacobs, Jesse’s Story is a Zzyzx Films Production.

Check out the link below to see more inspiration from Jesse’s Story~


Jesse’s Story