Movie Review: Togo

Anyone that knows me well, knows I’ve got a heart for all animals, but I’m particular soft on the K-9 variety. I’m always pretty leery of movies about dogs because my heart can hardly handle any kind of heartbreak over one. Dogs resonate so deeply in my soul that to see harm to one is painful for me. With that said, when I signed up for Disney+, Togo was the first thing I saw when signing on. Growing up I can’t even tell you how many times I watched movies like White Fang, Iron Will, and Balto. When I saw what this movie was about, I knew it was one I was willing to watch, and am I ever glad that I did!

Togo was the real-life, lead sled dog of Leonhard Seppala. The movie is based on a true story about the 1925 diphtheria serum sled-run to Nome, Alaska. Growing up all I ever knew about it was what I’d learned and read about Balto, the sled dog. Though Balto was an incredible dog, Togo was unbelievable. When diphtheria threatened a small Alaskan village, their children especially, Seppala decided to make a sled run for the serum. In -30 temperature. The wind caused for a windchill of -85…I can’t even begin to imagine. They were one of 20 mushers (and over 100 dogs) that were part of the relay for the medicine. Why Togo stands out is he lead his pack for over 250 miles, while the other dogs averaged 30-40 miles. It’s a story of courage, loyalty, and the heart of a dog. It’ll make you laugh, it’ll make you tear up, and it’ll make you want to hug your furry friends tight. It’s an incredible story! Thank you Disney for putting this story out there, it’s a story worth being told.

The real Togo and Seppala

I definitely give it 5 popcorns!

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*ASpottedHeart

Christmas Gifts

We all remember that one Christmas where we got the best gift ever! Maybe you were like Ralphie and wanted a “Red Ryder Carbon Action 200-shot Range air rifle,” and actually got it. Or maybe you wanted a baby doll that was life-like in every way and got her wrapped pretty in a box on Christmas morning. Whatever it was, I’m sure it’s engraved in your mind as the best Christmas ever! Mine has to do with the very title of this blog. Let me give a little back story for you. 

Back in 1991, when I was 5 years-old my family went to Disney Land. Mind you that’s the year 101 Dalmatians was rereleased into theaters. I’ll never forget we had just gotten into the park and we were making our way to some specific place in the park, that part I don’t remember the details on, I just remember we weren’t stopping anywhere else on the way. That’s when I saw it, this huge 101 Dalmatians display in one of the shop windows. My heart fell head-over-heels in love with those spotted creatures. If I would’ve been a cartoon my eyes would’ve had spotted hearts popping out of them (see what I did  there? ;). I was completely in love and I was not going any further until I had my hands on one of those spotted plush creatures. I bugged my parents until finally my mom’s cousin Janet, whom was with us, took me to get a stuffed 101 Dalmatian pup. I took that puppy with me everywhere! 

From that point on I only saw black & white spots. Everything I had was black and white. This wasn’t just a short fad, for years I was obsessed with the 101 Dalmatians. You guys, I’m talking yearrrrsss. So as you can imagine, my one hearts desire was a real-life Dalmatian pup. I’d been asking my parents for one ever since we’d gotten back from Disney Land. That was the only thing I talked about, and asked Santa for that following Christmas. 

Christmas Eve had come and we were having Christmas at my Grandma’s house with my aunts and uncles. There was a knock on the door-It was Santa! He had a box wrapped and it was for me! I was so exited and I remember being a bit confused on why I was the only one getting a gift. I remember him telling me he heard I’d been a very good girl and the package was heavy, to be careful with it. We got it carefully set down on the floor and I started unwrapped it. The sweetest puppy I had ever seen popped it’s head out of the box and I was completely smitten! I couldn’t get that box open fast enough, my heart was so full! I was so excited, I immediately named him Freckles! 

This is a picture of pure joy. That moment is forever engraved in my mind and my heart and when I think of my favorite Christmas my heart goes to that night and it’s been spotted ever since.

Last Christmas, my 3rd Christmas with One Cute Cowboy, he had another one of those memorable, special gifts. I’m a collector of vintage books, and for years I’d searched for a 1st Edition The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith. Christmas morning Riley eagerly handed me a gift. I opened it and looking up at me was a 1st edition The Hundred and One Dalmatians. My eyes teared up. I knew he understood my heart. It was such a thoughtful gift. I’m so lucky to have this thoughtful, caring man in my life. One that truly understands and hears my heart. 

Now I know Christmas isn’t about getting  gifts-Christmas is about the gift. When God sent the ultimate gift, Jesus Christ, into the world that cold night in a tiny stable. My heart is overwhelmed when the imagery of that night comes to mind. I’m filled with hope and gratitude. For I truly hope every one of you takes time to remember “the reason for the season.” For there is so much more to Christmas than pretty packages and fun Christmas carols. A king, the King was born that night to be the Prince of Peace, and to bring hope into the world, and to bring redemption to you and I. O holy night, indeed! Praise be to God! 


I hope all of you have had a beautiful Christmas! May peace and hope be with you! 

The Finest Hours

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Last night, Riley and I went to see Disney’s new film, The Finest Hours. This movie is based on a true story ( which is always good in my books) about a Coast Guard Rescue, that still to this day, is considered the greatest small boat rescues of all time.

The story takes place in Chatham, Massachusetts, in the winter of 1952. Actor, Chris Pine, plays the story’s main character, Bernie Webber. His performance was incredible, right down to his New England accent. He’s such a captivating actor and really pulls you into his story. Bernie Webber was a Boatswain’s Mate First Class of the Coast Guard in Chatham.

 

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The four rescuers: Bernie Webber, Andy Fitzgerald, Richard Livesey, and Ervin Maske

 

He and three other crew men, which were Engine man Third Class, Andrew Fitzgerald, Seaman Richard Livesey, and Seaman Ervin Maske, were sent out on a rescue mission in hurricane-like winds, risking their lives to get out to 33 men that were stranded on the SS Pendleton, which was a WWII-era oil tanker, that had broken in half in a horrifying nor’eastern storm.

The Finest Hours

Casey Affleck also plays an outstanding role in the film. He plays, what I think was the SS Pendleton’s Chief Engineer, Ray Sybert. You can’t help but feel his anguish, and despair as he tries to keep the ship afloat until help arrives.

It’s heart-felt, it’s funny, it’s exciting, and had us both on the edge of our seats more than once! It also didn’t hurt that it was set in my favorite time period. This is a story Riley and I would have never known about had we not gone to see this movie. It’s a story worth telling and learning about. We absolutely loved it and would recommend anyone to go check this movie out!! I promise you will not be disappointed!