Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Movie Review: Click

My husband and I finally got out on a date and this movie had me interested. It looked different, and even though I typically loathe anyhting Adam Sandler is in, I was still willing to give it a try.

Oh how I wished I saw Lake House - Terry Whalin gave it a great review.

Click has an interesting premise. What would happen if you had a device that could control your universe? How would you use it?

Well Michael Newman starts to fast-forward through the bits of life that slow him down and is thrilled at first to skip things like traffic and boring family dinners, until the remote takes over. I really liked the message of the movie overall - it's sort of a new twist on an old theme. You get a look at the way your life will turn out if you continue down the path you're on.

But they completely ruined it for me. What could be a great little family film - with a message that even my kids could appreciate - was ruined with the language and the sexual innuendos. Had it actually been an R rated film, I may have been able to forgive it but this was rated PG-13. It was not only the language - and there was a good bit of it, even from the child actors, but it contained multiple scenes which were just in poor taste.

The endearing moments (and there were a few) were ruined by the obnoxious moments (of which there were plenty).

What a shame to take a movie with a great theme and kill it with a cheap counterfeit of humor.

Skip it.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Barbie Train

I took my five year old daughter into DC Friday night to see "Barbie: Live in Fairytopia". It was her special treat since my seven year old got to go see a Hillary Duff concert a few months ago (now that was an experience - 50,000 screaming tweenagers - yikes!). Going to see Barbie was a decidedly different experience. As soon as we got off the Metro, there were little girls in pink costumes and fairy wings walking around the streets of DC with moms holding their hands. I had a migraine the night before so I was still feeling kind of crummy on Friday but she wanted me to take her - so I popped a few extra Excedrin and went.

And it was a good show.

I was kind of surprised. It had a good story. The music was enjoyable. And the look on my daughter's face as she watched was priceless.

Coming home we had a thirty minute ride on the Metro to where our car was parked. She was tired so she curled up with her head on my lap and feel asleep. It was so sweet and wonderful.

But something strange happened as I stroked her hair and rode the train. I was able to just think. My life is filled with three little girls and activities and chores and everything else that goes with being a mom. Getting even a few minutes of time where I am not trying to accomplish something is very rare indeed. I couldn't go anywhere, or do anything, I just had to ride the train. So what do I do? I got an idea for a new book series.

Many of you know that I've gotten some rejections lately. And while I know I must trust what God is doing, it has been frustrating to throw projects out there only to get the - "we really like your writing but we don't want this particular project."

So now I have another idea and I've been working this weekend to put together a pitch for this new story.

We'll see what my agent thinks. My husband already loves it, but he's admittedly easy to sell:-)

So off to finish a pitch. (I'm also wondering if I should ride up to DC more often -just so I will be still long enough to get those creative juices flowing. I wonder when Barbie is coming back...)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Not very fun

I have been working on a series of devotionals the last week or so - a new area for me but since it reminds me of blogging I've been enjoying it.

For the most part.

You see, the problem is that every time I sit down to write one I find God convicting my heart about my own shortcomings. I am able to sit down and craft these thoughts yet I am painfully aware that I haven't learned these lessons myself. Last year I was asked to put together a proposal about loss and within a month I had lost my brand-new puppy during surgery and my father to cancer. It makes me nervous to sit down and write sometimes.

Like today, I'm sitting here trying to decide what devotionals to write today and I know the minute I sit down to do it I will be reminded of something God wants to teach me.


It would be so much easier if I could just teach others instead of getting the double dose myself. But God isn't one to waste an opportunity to shape us, is he?

Friday, June 16, 2006

Potty Talk

No I'm not talking about bad words - I'm talking about the actual potty. Feel free to keep reading, but you've been warned.

I have an adorable three year old (Little Miss "Table fell on my head"). She's my third girl and well, potty training for the other two was pretty uneventful. Both were potty trained during the day a little after age two, and overnight by age 3 and a half (oldest) and 2 and a half (middle). I thought I had it figured out. Then the little one comes along and the age of two comes and goes with only a few half-hearted trips to the potty. She's understood the concept for quite a while now - she just wasn't interested in actually doing anything about it. No amount of convincing or bribery was working.

Then last week (at three years and three months)- I dunno - she started going potty - everytime she needed to go to the bathroom. Which, since her bladder is likely the size of a walnut, is quite often.

So after all this waiting - and wondering if she would ever decide to use the potty, I have now returned to the days of scanning the roads for stores that I would be willing to stop at to let her go to the bathroom when we're out. I'm fairly picky about bathrooms. I don't even like to use public restrooms. But when you have a three year old - you gotta do what you gotta do.

So my short list of places it is okay to go:

Starbucks (my personal fav because it's easy to grab a latte on the way)
Chick Fil A (the only fast food I will usually try)
Wawa/Sheetz - usually okay - depends on where

It just goes to show you get what you pray for. I've been wanting this to happen for so long and now I'm trying to remember WHY I wanted it. It really is much easier to change a diaper than it is to find a place for her to potty every three miles.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Velvet Elvis

I've had this book on my shelf for nearly a year now. Velvet Elvis was one of the many books I came home from the International Christian Retail Show with - my desire to read them all outweighing the time to do it - as usual.

As I've been wrestling with some issues this week - praying, fuming and crying - the title of this book kept haunting me. Yesterday I went on a hunt for it and sat down to read.

And I was enthralled.

I'm not very far into it, so I reserve the right to add to the opinions I'm about to express, but I'm hooked.

It's probably because I like ideas. I like to ponder and wonder and wrestle. I have friends who don't seem to wrestle or wonder about anything. They take life as it comes with its lumps and its joys without ever diving down into the water to see what else is there. I like to dive. I've never been content to tread water.

That's what this book is like - diving a little deeper, exploring ideas. And I love it. Some ideas are new, others are familiar ones that make me say "Yes! Someone else feels like this!" It also is very validating to know that it is okay for me to be full of questions. I used to think it was simply the artist temperament in me - but now I'm thinking it's from simply being human.

I didn't grow up in the church, and maybe that's why I've retained my penchant to wonder and wrestle. I've never been one to simply accept the way things are because they can always be better. And frankly, I feel that way about Christianity too. I think we can do it better. I think we can live better, love better, be better than we are. I think the church needs to discover a way to be relevant in this culture.

This book makes me think that perhaps I'm not crazy after all. That maybe all these ideas and notions and hopes are really being stirred by God. You see, the real world I live in - well, I'm often surrounded by people who just don't understand all those ideas and notions and hopes. They're content to just keep doing what they've always done, in the same way they've always done them. I have often felt that I have no voice. I speak, and I get looked at like I've lost my mind. And that has led me to feeling like I don't have anything of value to offer. When you are not valued it's very easy to feel that way.

Yet now I am wondering, maybe the answer isn't to stop talking - which is what I've done - but maybe it's to simply be the person God has created me to be and be willing to help provoke change. Provoking change in people who don't wish to be provoked can be an ugly thing. Yet, just as Queen Esther found herself in a place she didn't expect, I am here, at this place, at this time, for a reason. Maybe the purpose isn't as amazing as Queen Esther saving her people, but it's a purpose all the same.

In the book, Rob Bell describes Christianity as a trampoline that we invite others to experience with us. He says that it shouldn't be a wall we feel we have to defend, or a place that we are either "in" or "out" of. A trampoline was made for experiencing - jumping.

I choose to jump.

Monday, June 12, 2006

If only it had been true...

All American Kid

Popular but not plastic. Athletic but not a jock. Smart but not a brain.

You were well rounded and well liked in high school.

Saturday, June 10, 2006


Cross Post from 4:12 Live!

I'm sure many of you have heard the tragic story about Whitney Cerak and Laura VanRyn. An article ran in People magazine this week giving some more of the story and referred to the blog Laura's family set up to communicate about what was happening as she recovered. Of course, now we know that it wasn't "Laura" at all.

This tragedy has inspired some fierce reactions in the news. If you read about it, some are outraged, some are sad, some are simply sick of hearing about it.

These families have been weighing heavily on my heart since this happened because it was just such a horrible thing. You'd think with all of our technology and now-how that this kind of stuff wouldn't happen. And perhaps, in my own way, it reminds me of losing a dear friend on a car accident during college at the age of 19.

But it also brings up a rather difficult question - one that we don't have an answer for.

Why did God let this happen?

This entire series of events, from the tractor-trailer driver who fell asleep at the wheel, to the mix-up of victims, was never out from under God's watchful eye. There is a subtle difference between saying God "caused" something to happen, and God "allowing" something to happen but I think it's an important distinction. I think it's the question I hear most from unbelievers: If God is good, why do bad things happen?

It's a valid question with no easy answer. People have written dozens of books trying to answer that question. I have wrestled with it myself as I have faced personal tragedies. And I think the one I always come back to is this: God knows more than I do. I cannot - at this point - bound by time and humanity - understand all that God is orchestrating in this universe. I cannot see the beginning from the end. And that is where I must trust that 1- He is good and 2 - He is in control.

There is a wonderful line in The Chronicles of Narnia when Lucy is asking Mr. Beaver about Aslan.

"Is - is he a man?" asked Lucy.

"Aslan a man!" said Mr. Beaver sternly. "Certainly not. I tell you he is king of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-beyond-the-sea. Don't you know who is the King of Beasts? Aslan is a lion - the Lion, the great Lion."

"Ohhh!" said Susan, "I'd thought he was a man. Is he - quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion."

"That you will dearie, and no mistake," said Mrs. Beaver; "if there's anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they're either braver than most or else just silly."

"Then he isn't safe?" said Lucy.

"Safe?" said Mr. Beaver; "don't you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But He's good. He's the King, I tell you."

He isn't safe - but He is good. Something about tragedy, when the rug is pulled out from underneath of us, reveals what we really think about lots of things - especially God. We live in a culture that has made God out to be some kind grandfather in the sky. Something safe. But God is anything but safe - He is the King of the Universe, much grander, much holier, much more than we can imagine. And being much more than us, we cannot grasp all of His ways. We get precious glimpses, we get Holy comfort, we get Divine guidance - but we don't always get the answers.

Someone said that tragedy can make us bitter or better. It draws us closer to the One we long to know, or it drives us away in frustration of not knowing who it is we really long for.

I guess perhaps today, I ask you to remember the VanRyns, and all of the families touched by this particular tragedy. That God may comfort them - and that they will know His presence in their sorrow. And that while God is our friend and our always present companion, He is also the King of Kings.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Can you imagine?

You can read the whole story yourself if you'd like but have you heard about the case of mistaken identity?

A horrible accident killed five students after they were hit by a tractor trailor - the driver apparently fell asleep at the wheel. Don't even get me started on tractor trailor drivers. Anyhow, one girl was transported to the hospital as Laura Van Ryan - her family cared for her as she began to recover from her horrible injuries. Meanwhile, Whitney Cerak's family buried her and mourned her.

But it turns out that the girl that Whitney's family had buried was actually Laura Van Ryan. And the girl lying in the hospital was actually Whitney Cerak.

Can you even imagine?

The jubiliation of one family - the overwhelming grief of another. Part of you wants to be happy, but how can you when life for one family means death for another?

These families have been on my heart for days. Would you pray for them too?