2 for 1 Book Reviews!


June is always a psycho crazy busy month for me.  I’ve (mostly) read two books this month, and should have posted the first review three weeks ago when I finished the first book, but… it’s June.

Bear with me, dear book enthusiasts.

I have good news and bad news.

A good review and a not so awesome review.

I’ll try to be succinct.

 

The first book I read this month was called “Together with You” by Victoria Bylin.  It was a great read.  The plot twists were good, and I found this book was not as predictable as romance novels usually are.  I wasn’t totally sure what would end up coming next, and I was glad to find that I didn’t have the ending pegged by half-way through the book.  I became quite invested in the characters — especially Penny, the little girl dealing with Fetal Alcohol Effects who Carly becomes a nanny to take care of.

I think what drew me in was my personal experience working with children with FASD, and so I found the plot-line to be a well-researched look into what life for a 5-year old must battle.  You can’t help but love Penny.  The book wasn’t really about her, and yet it was…. and I get it if that doesn’t make sense, but you’ll just have to read the book :)

All this said, this book has convinced me to take a hiatus from romance novels for a little while.  At least specifically — romance novels without at least some element of mystery or other plot to work through need to be something I quit for the time being.  I found that reading a book where two people can fall in love nearly effortlessly left me annoyed that I can’t find that… even though intrinsically I know that life so rarely unfolds like it does in romance novels or chick flicks.

I suppose what I’m saying is — I thoroughly enjoyed the book.  If you like romance novels, I think you’ll enjoy this book.  If you’re struggling with being single and would like the man of your dreams to land in your lap but that just isn’t happening for you, haha, this may not be the right choice :)

 

 

The next book I read…. well… confession time… I couldn’t finish it.  The next book I tried to read was called Everyday Grace by Jessica Thompson.  I feel badly that I couldn’t finish it, and I think there were a few reasons why — not all of them having much to do with the book itself.

I think it’s a book that I need to come back to later.  I was reflecting on that fact earlier this afternoon as I was struggling to try to finish it so I could write this review (which is due in less than 24 hours).  I’m just not into it.  Here are a few reasons — and please take my reasons with a grain of salt, because like I said, I’m pretty sure this book has potential, and I’m not shelving it forever.  I will go back to it.

Reasons I can’t finish this book:

1.  I’m going through a time in my life right now where I’m finding it difficult to dish out grace, and this book is all about seasoning all of our relationships with grace, leaning on the love of Jesus so that we’re relying on God to be fulfilled in every area of our lives and not those we’re in relationship with.  I know that relying on others for what only God can give only sets expectations too high and sets everyone involved up for failure.  That said, I’ve been searching for a new job for the past few weeks, and I haven’t been succeeding, and I am feeling frustrated beyond what I feel I can bear at my current job as a result.  I’m not leaning on God like I should be, and that fact alone has made this a challenging read.  I clearly need to push through this book, because the principles tucked inside could make me less of a word vampire (someone who dominates a conversation, thinking only about themselves) whenever someone brings work up.

2.  The author herself admitted that there are thousands of books on relationships that turn up in an Amazon search.  I found at the beginning, the information wasn’t new.  I wasn’t learning.  Now again, I suspect that’s tied closely to point number 1 — my heart doesn’t want to learn right now.  I need to let go, but I don’t have time to do that and finish the book tonight, so I have to be open with you, my readers, right now.

3.  There are chapters in the book on relationships with our children, and on our marriages — I tend to gloss right through sermons, books, blog posts… whatever… on that topic right now because I feel like they don’t apply.  That said, I have found in the past that reading those articles, posts, chapters, etc…. and listening intently to those sermons… has given me information that has helped in dating relationships.  And why not learn before we’re thrown into the middle of a challenging situation??  Wouldn’t it be better to be prepared?  I recommend that anyone who picks this book up give it more of a fair shot than I have.

So those are the reasons I haven’t finished the book yet.  Here are a couple things I found encouraging as I desperately tried to finish it this afternoon so I could write this.  These were the points I found after finding that I just couldn’t finish the book on time no matter how hard I try, and I feel strongly that they are points God will use to nudge me to finish the book.

  • I’ve been reminded just in what I was able to finish that loving others starts with the understanding that God loved us first, before we did anything.  I don’t have to go out and face the daunting challenge of “love your neighbour” without the understanding that I have a deep, unconditional love aimed at me ALL. THE. TIME.  God is great like that.  He doesn’t walk away from us when we don’t live up to His expectations.  That alone is enough to get me to finish the book after this review has been due.
  • God initiates friendships.  We don’t have to see the God of the Universe, decide that we hope He’ll like us, and then strive for His acceptance — He’s been coming for us all along, and He loves us no matter what we do.  Leaning on that CAN give us stronger relationships here on Earth with the people God has put into our lives — whether they’re people we feel like we want to love or not.  I’m excited to see what Jessica Thompson has to say when I can give this book a fair shot.
  • God’s mission is heavily wrapped into our relationships with our communities.  This chapter was what made me decide to read the book despite not having been able to finish it in time for the review.  It caught my eye briefly as I flipped through the book, having decided not to finish it and write the review anyway.  My church is heavily focused on loving our communities and showing the love of Jesus through that.  I feel often like I’m bad at that.  Like I’m guilty of doing things so others will see me doing them and feel guilty about the kind of friend or person they aren’t being — Jessica Thompson gave some concrete examples from her own life, which were encouraging for me, to know that I am not alone in that unfortunate habit.

 

All this to say — I can’t honestly recommend or dissuade anyone to or away from this book at this point.  I haven’t finished it, though I think that I’d like to.  I don’t think I’ve given it a fair shot and I think my own heart is getting in the way of that.  Has that ever happened to you?  Has anyone read this book?  What did you think?

 

 

 

I received both of these books as part of a review program with Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Finding Me


Oh, how I loved this book.  With all of my heart, I loved this book.

All her life, Kelli Huddleston has been told the story of a fire — a fire that killed her mother and two siblings as an infant.  After her father’s death, though, she uncovers evidence of a different story, including clippings about a boat accident that killed a young father and his infant daughter.  And Kelli quietly realizes the story of her life has been a fiction.

Armed with only a few pictures of what she thinks might be her family, Kelli crosses the country to Tennessee, determined to uncover the truth about what happened over twenty years ago in a small southern town.  When the trip threatens to open the doors to the past better left shut, and her plans for the future are jeopardized, Kelli is faced with an agonizing choice that will change her life forever.

I smiled, I laughed, I worried, I cried.  Books don’t tend to send me on emotional swinging rides, but my goodness, did this one ever.  It’s a brilliant drama, masterfully told by Kathryn Cushman, and I can’t recommend it enough.  Normally, I don’t read a book again after I’ve finished it, but I think I’m going to hang onto this one and read it again.

I loved the writing.  I loved the character development.  I loved the ending.  If you’re looking for a great story, I highly recommend that you pick up this book.

 

Every Bride Needs a Groom


I just finished reading Every Bride Needs a Groom by Janice Thompson.  I have to admit, when I read the premise of the book I was quite excited.  (Check out the book here for the full book jacket teaser.)  The main character, Katie Fisher — she sounds like a girl after my own heart — one with her entire wedding planned before it’s a good idea at all.  (I try to play it out like I haven’t done that, haha, but… um… don’t look at my Pinterest boards?)

As I started reading the book though, I was struck by how easily I felt I could predict the ending.  I admit though, while I thought that fact would make me want to stop reading the book, it didn’t at all.  Instead, it made me want to race to the finish to see if I was right.  I found at the beginning of the book I was annoyed with Katie, perhaps because I see in myself a tendency to jump the gun a bit and we tend to be annoyed by what we are.  But I digress.

I fell in love with the characters, and the story was well crafted.  I really enjoyed that the book was narrated in first-person, and Janice Thompson’s writing style so perfectly portrayed a Southern girl that I read the entire thing with a Southern accent in my head (not that I claim to be an expert or anything, being Canadian and only ever having spent 1 week in Savannah…. but oh well).

I will likely be interested in reading book 2 of the Brides with Style series when it comes out in October 2015, because I find I really want to know what happens to the characters.  Aunt Alva and Queenie were my favourite, but you’ll have to read the book to find out why :)

 

Have you read it?  What did you think?

You’re Loved No Matter What


I just finished reading You’re Loved No Matter What by Holley Gerth.  I knew I’d enjoy this book.  I’ve read one of her other books and have yet another sitting in my massive pile of books to be read.  I’ve also been following along with her blog for quite some time.  Coffee for your heart, anyone?

For me, this book couldn’t have come at a better time.  I’ve been struggling with feeling the weight of needing to be perfect for a long time, in many areas, and it was so refreshing to receive a release — not just from people saying ‘you put too much pressure on yourself’ — but from Jesus through Scripture as well.

Holley crafts the words of the book into a beautiful breath of fresh air that I know my heart needed.  I don’t need to strive for perfection.  It’s not what Jesus intends for me.  It’s not what anyone should expect of me.  I can go for excellence, and yet rest in the perfect Grace of God when my pursuit of excellence falls short and I don’t make it.  Trust me, I don’t make it a lot.

Holley gave excellent, practical, real-life examples of people who’ve gone through this very thing.  She talks about gratitude as the antidote to perfectionism.  When you can be thankful for what you have, why would you need to strive for what you can’t get?  She mentions Ann Voskamp‘s One Thousand Gifts app.  I had it a while ago; I downloaded it shortly after reading (and loving!) One Thousand Gifts.  I started recording my way to 1000, trying to be grateful, but wound up feeling guilty because I was being grateful for the same things over and over again….. So I deleted the app.  I couldn’t even get gratitude right!  Talk about perfectionism.  When you can’t actually be grateful because you’ve imposed your own rules on how to be just that…. whoa.

So this book has given me the fresh perspective I need to give an ‘attitude of gratitude’ (as cheesy as that phrase really is…) another shot.  If gratitude is the antidote to perfectionism, and releasing my need to be perfect because I can’t be will let me breathe, sleep, and function better as a human being….. I feel like I have nothing to lose.I highly recommend this book, and in fact have already farmed my copy out.  If you’re tired of the try-hard “I can’t do this” “too much pressure” kind of life, relax and have a heart to heart with Holley Gerth.  She really does wiggle her way right into the places my heart needs to relax the most.

Dauntless | A Review


Not too long ago, I finished a book called Dauntless by Dina Sleiman.  It’s a historical romance fiction, and while I’d love to have amazing things to say about it, as I had high hopes, I have mixed feelings and so I suppose this will be a mixed review.

I didn’t dislike it, but I didn’t love it either.  But it isn’t because of the writing, so please read on :)

Here’s the excerpt from the back of the book:

Though once a baron’s daughter, Lady Merry Ellison is willing to go to any lengths to protect the orphaned children of her former village. Dubbed “The Ghosts of Farthingale Forest,” her band of followers soon become enemies of the throne when they hijack ill-gotten gold meant for the king.

Timothy Grey, ninth child of the Baron of Greyham, longs to perform some feat so legendary that he will rise from obscurity and earn a title of his own. When the Ghosts of Farthingale Forest are spotted in Wyndeshire, where he serves as assistant to the local earl, he might have found his chance. But when he comes face-to-face with the leader of the thieves, will he choose fame or love?

Source

I’ll admit a bias ~ medieval history isn’t my favourite, even though I love historical fiction.  Also, I suspect this book would suit better to a young adult genre, and I don’t fit that category.  I know that I shouldn’t be limited to what I read, and that’s why I chose this book, but it’s possible that it just straight up isn’t my jam…. though that sentence makes me sound far younger than I am… gosh.  I suspect that it would be a great read if I were a little more into the young adult genre as a whole.

I suppose what I didn’t like about it was that I found it took a while to pick up.  I was also left with the impression that the men in Merry’s troupe were younger than they were until the story progressed and we found that they were actually young adults.  I found some of the writing in the prologue/introduction quite hard to follow, and while it would likely have been closer to what patterns of speech would have sounded like at the time (Robin Hood era England), I had a hard time keeping up with it.  I was very thankful that the writing didn’t stay that way.  I found the rest of the book though, after those initial pages, to flow quite nicely and the writing style was great.  I’m at a bit of a loss though as far as why the first few pages were written differently than the rest of the book.

While I found that it took a while for the book to pick up for me, by about Chapter 10 I was thoroughly invested in the characters ~ especially the kids!  I had contemplated not finishing it a bit before then, but it did pick up and I became quite engaged.  I found I needed to know how Merry and her friends made out.

I did LOVE that there’s a strong female lead in the book, though, and I love that though she really wanted love, she also saw that she had a role to play in the lives of so many others and she didn’t just flit off at the first available opportunity.  Merry has a good heart, and she’s very protective of and loyal to the ones she loves.  I loved her for that.

By the end, I devoured the pages quite quickly.  I was on a cruise and plowed through the last several chapters between basking in the Caribbean sun and sitting squished on a plane on the way home.  My traveling partner wanted to play cards on the plane on the way home, but I really needed to know what happened, so I finished the book just before we landed for a layover in New York City.  (We did get some cards in while en route to Detroit, though, don’t worry ;) )

While the book had grown on me, I found it ended quite abruptly and that while conflicts did get resolved (and that’s all I’ll say, don’t worry ~ no spoilers), it’s my opinion that they were resolved very quickly.  I could have been OK with one more chapter to spread some of the ending details out.

All said, I recommend the book if you’re a fan of young adult historical romance fiction.  If that’s not your thing, this book probably won’t be either.  What it taught me is that sometimes, even a pretty good book can’t fix your overall need to not pick books from that genre, but I suppose that’s good for me to know, as well :)

 

If you’re in your teens or early 20s, I recommend you give this book a read!  Or if you’re not in that age group and you just like young adult fiction, I suggest you check it out.  Like I said, overall, a pretty good book.  I was glad I read it!

 

I received a copy of this book to review for free through Graf-Martin Communication’s Nuts About Books program.

Worry Less So You Can Live More


I just finished another book (reviewing for the Nuts About Books program put out by Graf-Hill Communications).  It’s called “Worry Less So You Can Live More.”

I’ll be honest, when I said I’d read the book I expected it to be just like every other book on worry I’ve ever read.  I’m a worrier myself, so this is not the first Christian self-help book on worry I’ve cracked open. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that it was not a word-for-word reiteration of what scriptures say about worry, but was instead a beautiful journey with author Jane Rubietta through what it looks like to live a life of worry, and what the alternative of living life leaning into God can look like.  Not that there’s anything wrong with a word-for-word exposé on what God has to say through Scripture about worry, but I was glad to find that this book was more than that. It’s a beautifully written anecdotal toolbox for how to replace worry with things like hope, praise, anticipation, and joy ~ because worry is the antithesis and thief to all of those things.  Jane Rubietta has a wonderful writing style which kept me engaged all the way through.

If I had to choose a favourite chapter (without spoiling anything), it would definitely be the one on fireflies.  And I’ll let you read the rest for yourself. Each chapter was accompanied by deep, thought-provoking questions which made me reflect deeply on some of my own worry-filled and worrisome tendencies, but what I appreciated the most about each chapter were the quotes, votums, and benedictions that Rubietta put at the end.  Quotes, both from Scripture and elsewhere, served to reinforce everything Rubietta had said in the chapter, and served as a clear reminder that if sometimes you feel that you’re the only one who struggles with this ~ you’re not.  Votums were like a prayer prayed right from my heart, even though I’ve never met the author.  Benedictions were like an answer to those prayers, each of which hit me with strength.

I finished the book feeling like I knew Jane Rubietta personally ~ like I could run into her in a coffee shop, give her a great big hug, and sit down and talk to her for hours over a latte.  Her writing was so deeply personal that it really connected me to the text and what she was saying.  This author is not someone who has perfected the art of living worry-free and is then preaching at the reader from a high horse of having it all figured out.  Instead, she crafted beautiful pieces of wonderful imagery woven together to show that we’re all in this together.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who struggles with worrying and perfectionism like I do.  It’s a good read, it’s a fairly quick read, and if I’m right about this book ~ I think it’s a read that will stick with you in the weeks to come.

The Crimson Cord | A Book Review


Recently, I’ve been looking to take thisblogisepic in a bit of a different direction.  I’m really excited to get into reviewing books, which gives the added bonus of forcing me to read since now I have deadlines!  I’ve been meaning to read more, too….

I’ve joined this program called Nuts About Books run by Graf-Martin Communications (a Christian publishing company).  They send me a list of books they’re offering, I choose what I’d like to receive, and they mail me copies of the book(s) that I then have a month to review!

I’m ready with my very first book review, and I’m glad to say that it was a good book.  I was nervous starting out…. what if you don’t like a book?  Then you have to publicly display your thoughts even though they aren’t great because you signed up to be honest… but thankfully I quite liked my first book (and have another to read in the next 6 days… whoops.  I’ll need to be more on top of this next month).

I read The Crimson Cord by Jill Eileen Smith.

It’s an Historical Fiction novel centered around the story of Rahab, the prostitute who gave safe passage to Hebrew spies in Jericho in exchange for safety for her and her family.

I admit that going into this book, I knew nothing about Rahab’s story other than just that — that she was a prostitute in Jericho at the time of Joshua, and then something about tribes of Israel marching around the city for 7 days until the walls fell.  That’s it.  Rahab isn’t mentioned that often in the Bible, so while I knew going into this book that a lot of details would be filled in by the author, I dare say she did a beautiful job at crafting a great story out of the life of Rahab.  I especially appreciate the ability to glean a deeper understanding of what life would have been like for a woman in Old Testament Jericho.  The Historian in me loves it, and I found that Smith struck an excellent balance between historical detail and creating beautiful, relational characters.

It started out a hard read, but only because lately I’ve been asking God to give me a heart for the things that breaks His, and one of those things has been a heart for women stuck in abusive situations and relationships who can’t get free.  At least the way it was written here, it spins Rahab’s life story very much in that light, but I feel that it was done very tastefully.

My favourite part of the book, without giving anything away because I really do encourage you to read it if you like historical fiction at all, was how much the Grace of God was highlighted.  Normally, I see the Old Testament and the New Testament as very different things.  I know that my God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, so in theory I have a deep understanding that the God of the Old Testament was still full of Grace, but I often forget that.  Much to my chagrin, I suppose.  The way that Jill Eileen Smith wrote this story really clearly showed that God was very much still a God of Grace during the time of Joshua, just like He is now.  Rahab was not an Israelite.  She didn’t need to be granted safe passage during the attack on Jericho, but she was, along with her family, because of her faith, and God continued to cleanse her and reward her faith through the rest of her life.

Toward the end of the book I became curious about Rahab’s family tree as the rest of the story started to unfold, and learned interesting facts in my search there as well.  If you pop on over to here, you’ll find what I found — that Rahab is directly involved in the line of King David (and therefore the line of Christ), and I just sometimes can’t wrap my mind around how amazing God’s grace really is.

Nuts About Books — The Crimson Cord Jill Eileen Smith

That time the power went out…


I went out Monday evening.  While I was at my friend’s house, her power flickered on and off a few times.  We were a little bit weirded out by it, because the weather was pretty good, and in the middle of February there’s really no reason beyond an ice storm or someone crashing into a hydro pole for the power to go out.

At about 11:15 I decided I really should go home because, well, sometimes I need to sleep to be able to teach well :) …. sometimes.

On my drive back to my neighbourhood, only about 10 minutes away from hers, I come down a hill and to a stop at a T intersection.  Normally this is a pretty well-lit intersection that doesn’t make me think twice about my drive home, even though my neighbourhood is truly not the greatest.

Monday night, though, it was dark.  The street lights weren’t on, and the whole neighbourhood was dark.

As I got closer to my house, I had to very carefully navigate my way through a traffic light that wasn’t working either, just hoping that anyone else approaching it would also treat it as a 4-way stop.

By this point it was clear that the power in my neighbourhood was in fact out.  I had no idea how long, though it was reasonable to assume it had been about an hour, given that that’s when my friend’s power was flickering.  I didn’t yet know what had happened, though.

It’s funny the things we take for granted, having power.  I remembered that I’d left my back porch light on, otherwise it’s hard to see to get the key into the lock on the back door… but it was dark and I had a hard time doing that.  Upon finally getting in the door, my first instinct was to switch on the lights (despite knowing that I had no power).

I checked my phone because, it being my alarm clock, I needed to make sure it could last through the night with no electricity with which to charge it…. sadly, no.  37%.  I used it as a flashlight for a couple minutes which brought it down to 29%.  Because my phone has a flashlight, I don’t actually own one, so…. I should probably fix that at this point.

I got the bright idea to plug my phone into my fully charged laptop, and let it charge off the laptop’s battery — but I also knew that that could only last so long.

My plan when I got home had been to have a shower, hard-boil some eggs so I had lunches for the week, and go to bed.  I couldn’t do any of those things!

With my phone plugged into my computer, I checked Facebook to see if there was any information — apparently a car crashed into a transformer, knocking out the power to my neighbourhood and most of the next one over.

I fumbled around in a drawer to find matches to light a candle so I could leave my phone charging.  This would let me brush my teeth (with a bottle of water, mind you :p ) and get ready for bed.  My thermostat was down to 62º F (16.7º C), which is not a big deal since I enjoy sleeping in the cold, but when it’s 5º F (-15º C) outside, you just know that the 62 isn’t gonna stay there for long.  I bundled up, expecting a cold night, and prayed that my pipes didn’t freeze if the power was off for too long.

Right as I was about to crawl into bed, I heard my refrigerator compressor kick in, then the furnace blower (my furnace is natural gas, so it would stay working, but the blower has no power so it doesn’t throw any heat when the power goes out).  Then I noticed that my laptop was charging.  I quickly got up, cranked the thermostat up so that if the power went out again, at least it had further to fall before it got too cold in my house again, and I jumped in the shower.

I was praying prayers of thankfulness that I didn’t have to suffer too long, and that everything righted itself.

And that’s when it hit me. (I do my best and deepest thinking in the shower…)

Someone crashed their car into a transformer hard enough that power was out all over my neighbourhood for at least 2-3 hours.  I have friends about 5 minutes away who said their furnace didn’t kick in until about 3 hours later than mine did.  The accident happened right in front of my school board’s office, and they didn’t have power back until mid-morning.

It occurred to me that while I was being thankful that my house didn’t get colder than 62º, someone or more than one someone could be in the hospital fighting for their life.  At that point I didn’t know who was in the car or the circumstances of the accident, but I don’t even really think those circumstances matter.  Someone crashed hard enough that they could very well be dead or dying, and I was praying prayers of thanksgiving over my furnace.  Yes, I’m grateful for my furnace working, as I hear burst pipes aren’t the most fun… but I’m also grateful for many other things.  And I felt I had to say a prayer for those potentially injured in this situation.

I also felt strongly that I needed to ask God to protect those who were out in that cold Monday night, worried about more than their pipes freezing, because they don’t even have pipes to freeze.  There have been several nights this winter where the fate of the homeless have been on my mind, because I know I don’t like to be out in that cold very long at all, and I’m usually dressed for it!  I can’t imagine knowing that the temperature is going down to -20º C with a windchill, and that you’ll have to find something to bury yourself under so that the wind doesn’t kill you in your sleep.  I just…. can’t wrap my mind around it.

Anyway, I’m sure there are things I can do, and I’ve been pondering that.  Praying about that.  Thinking on that…. but at the very least on Monday evening, I was whacked in the face with a huge load of perspective.

Film Review — The Drop Box


The Drop Box is a new film put out by Focus on the Family about a South Korean Pastor named Lee Jong-Rak.

Focus on the Family says this about the movie:

Hundreds of unwanted babies are abandoned on the streets of Seoul, South Korea, every year, forgotten by the surrounding culture.

The Drop Box is a documentary about the work of Pastor Lee Jong-rak and his heroic efforts to embrace and protect his community’s most vulnerable children. By installing a drop box outside his home, Pastor Lee provides a safe haven to babies who would otherwise be abandoned on the streets to die.

It’s a heart-wrenching exploration of the physical and emotional toll associated with providing refuge to save those deemed unwanted by society.

But it’s also a story of hope. And a celebration of the reality that every human life is sacred, has a purpose and is worthy of love.

I was given a link to watch an advance screening of it before it comes out in select theatres March 4th and 5th.  Check out this link to see if it’s showing up in a theatre near you!  I checked Ontario and there are many locations.  Focus on the Family says it’s playing in the States as well, so for my American friends, I’m sure it’s coming somewhere near you too!  Here’s a spot you can put your zip code in and check to see where it’s appearing :)

I suppose though, if you’re reading this you’d like to know what I thought of the movie, so here it is!

 

I have an aching-heart passion for kids who get abandoned.  It breaks me when I hear stories of children who just aren’t wanted.

This documentary highlights that so well.  Pastor Lee sacrifices so much of himself to be available for disabled and completely abandoned children.  He puts a box on the door of his house so people stop abandoning children on the streets of Seoul to die.

It tugged at my heart in a very real way.  Normally, when I watch movies, I’m doing a couple things at a time.  If you intend to watch this movie you’ll find that’s not a possibility because it’s mostly subtitled and spoken in Korean (I’m really not sure why I was surprised by that, because I should not have been).  When I focused though, I found it to be a very engaging and beautiful story.

I was inspired by the love Pastor Lee and his wife and all of the kids they’ve taken under their wings shared for each new child that came to live with them.  My heart soared with happiness when I saw the real love of Jesus poured out through this family.  I know the Jesus I love isn’t happy with children being abandoned.  I know that’s why every time I’ve asked for my heart to be broken for what breaks the heart of my Saviour, I’ve felt more strongly that kids are a big deal.

I hope you’ll check to see if it’s popping up near you in early March.  It’s worth the watch, and I recommend it to anyone, but most of all to those looking for a clear picture of what it means to love sacrificially, like Jesus did.

 

That time I went to the movies by myself… and nothing happened.


Last Tuesday I really wanted to go see Into the Woods.  There are friends of mine who would see it with me, sure, but my usual movie buddy was absolutely not interested.  Something about it being a musical and a fairy tale adaptation combined, I think, haha.  (I do highly recommend the movie if you like musicals and fairy tales.  I loved it.)

I decided I was going to try some independence and not care what anyone thought of me, and I was going to go by myself.  After all, I had a pretty good feeling I’d enjoy it, knowing my love for musicals and fairy tales.  Once Upon A Time, anyone?

I did get a little apprehensive though about going to the movies alone in the same city where I teach… so I planned to go to the next city North of here, mostly because I had stuff to return at Old Navy and I don’t have an Old Navy… but also so I didn’t run into students at the movies by myself.  At least this way, if someone thought I was lame, I’d never know about it.

I headed out of the city though and it started to snow… not just flurries.  Snow.  Especially at night, the “if it’s snowing, I’m not going” mantra tends to fit me well, and especially to leave town.  I ended up getting quite nervous about what my drive home would be like if it snowed like that the whole time I was gone.  I turned around.

I went back to the theatre in my city, determined that I was going to see this movie, and determined that I didn’t care if anyone cared.  I had visions of being able to pile my stuff on the seat beside me, sprawl out, not care if my movie buddy liked the movie or not, and just really enjoy myself…. until I walked into the theatre and it was so jam packed full of people (and kids!)…. I guess I forgot it was Tuesday because it was Christmas break, but Tuesday is cheap night and it being Christmas break, that made it even busier.  You could hardly get in the doors.  I left.

I was disappointed in myself though because I did want to see the movie.  I ended up watching “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” on Netflix — Brilliant, if you haven’t seen it.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Friday morning, I checked the weather — clear skies, dry roads, I was good to go.  I headed North into the next town, made my Old Navy return, and because I wouldn’t have time to make my massage appointment later in the afternoon if I stayed for the 1:40 show in the other town, I came back to my town for the 1:00 (I love it when these are my dilemmas — Christmas break rocks).

Here’s the thing…. I kind of expected at least one person would look at me funny for being alone.

No one cared.  Is it possible this has been MY hang up all this time and not anyone else’s?

What’s the big deal?  You don’t talk to the people you’re with during the movie anyway!

I got to pick my upper corner seat, I got to spread my stuff out because the theatre wasn’t very full… not even half I’d say.  And because I sat right above the stair well, I got to put my feet up on the wall in front of me.  Comfort.

I munched on my popcorn and almond M&Ms in peace, and thoroughly enjoyed the entire movie.

This will not be the last time I go by myself ;)