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Mandy’s Monday – Mind Battle
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Last week Brian and I watched Inception, a science fiction film about the stealing and planting of information into the subconscious of individuals at their most vulnerable moment…when they are sleeping!  I found the movie fascinating and a challenge to follow.  I thought the film was well done and I enjoyed the fact that there were no embarrassing uncomfortable scenes.  However, this blog is not a review of the movie and beyond that fact it is not even a blog about the movie, but more what thoughts I was left with after viewing it.

My first thoughts were…”Wow, I need to be praying more for the power of the Lord Jesus to protect our minds and permeate our home at all hours of the day and night!”  What is seen as fiction in the movie, I believe has a truth element in life.  Their is a battle for our minds.  A battle to plant lies at the deepest part of us, our subconscious, our dreams, our hopes and our desires.

Yesterday, Brad Mullen preached a sermon at our church focused on John 5, the story of the crippled man who waited by the pool of Bethesda to be healed.  Jesus finds this man waiting for healing from the pool, and offers him true healing that only the Lord Jesus can bring.  Brad referenced Romans 1 and laid out ways that we can be suckered into believing that which is not true.  In Romans 1 Paul declares men/women have chosen to suppress the truth (vs 18) and gone as far as to exchange the truth of God for a lie (vs 24).  The devil is at work in our minds indeed!

Currently, in my personal Bible reading I am in II Samuel.  I recently read about David’s kingship being threatened by Absalom.  If you read through these chapters (13-19) you will see occurrence after occurrence of people being driven by false beliefs.  Amnon believed giving into his lust for Tamar would bring satisfaction.  Absalom believed revenge was the way to deal with his pain.  David believed shunning Absalom would end the turmoil.  Absalom choose revenge again.  Hushai was able to plant Absalom’s destruction in his own mind…

The power of what we think moves us to action.  I am left with a deeper realization that our minds are worth a mighty battle!  “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God,  and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (II Corinthians 10:5) I do not want lies to take root in my heart and mind!  I want the truth of God to be planted there, so that it might grow deep roots.  Roots that nourish my soul and direct my path, that my life might be lived in the truth of God.

1. What truth of God am I consciously or subconsciously choosing to suppress in my life?

2. What lies have I chosen to live by?

3. What ways can I make prayer over my home and family a greater part of my life?

Lord, help me take every thought captive.  May your truth grow in my heart!

Back Off Burger King & Walmart! (Warning Griping Mom alert)
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Today we were rushing around making final preparations for Addie and Emma to be dropped off at camp for the week.  It never fails I am always purchasing seasonal items in the middle of a season or near the end when no one else is shopping for these items and the stores are lower in stock.  Today I needed new swimsuits for my girls.  Before hitting Walmart we needed lunch and decided to stop by  Burger King.  Little did I know that as a result I would find myself disgusted with both major national companies!

I ordered four kids meals from Burger King, not my favorite lunch food to provide for my kids but it does happen from time to time.  Each meal came with a toy, as always, and my surprise was the toys for sure!  Burger King gave to my four children, whose ages are 3, 6, 8 and 10, four Eclipse propaganda toys promoting the Twilight Saga!  Did I miss something??  Isn’t that a PG 13 movie?  Am I wrong or isn’t a PG 13 movie recommended for people over 13.  I realize many children under 13 see PG 13 movies, but I thought it was at least the recommendation of the movie industry to wait.  What would make Burger King think that I would want Eclipse toys given to my children, much less why would they think this is a good idea?  Does Burger King not treasure the children enough to support and encourage their childness?  You can keep your “toys” Burger King and your lunch for that matter.

We then headed to WalMart where I found my second frustration of the day.  We were looking for one piece swimsuits for the girls, the ones who are 6, 8, and 10 remember.  At Walmart I found a horrible selection of one piece swimsuits that were missing major sections of the “one piece”, and that is ALL I could find!  Addie even commented “this is basically a two piece suit”.  The suits had huge cut outs on both sides and low cut fronts…These were the only choices!  Maybe there were better options in the beginning of the season but somehow I doubt it.  This was the young girls section of the store where sizes are 7-12 and usually fit girls who are 7-12.  Personally I do not desire for my young daughters to look like anything but a 6, 8 and 10 year old girl!  So WalMart you can keep your “one piece” and I will look elsewhere!

Back off Burger King and Walmart!  You might want to rethink your decisions for the young among us and the parents who make the sales possible.

50 First Dates and a Plane Trip to a Funeral
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I just watched 50 First Dates on the airplane today and was inspired! I know it came out awhile ago (2004), but I’m not always the most current on new movies, and I sure did appreciate the airplane edited version.
If you haven’t seen it, the basic concept is that this girl Lucy (played by Drew Barrymore) was in a car accident and lost her ability to turn short term memory into long term, so each day was a completely new day, but she only remembered her life before the accident. So this guy Henry (Adam Sandler) wins the affections of Lucy everyday over and over again. There are a few fun plot twists and a great ending, but what struck me is how much we can take each other for granted. We often think of family as people who will always be there, but that is not necessarily true. Each day, each experience we have with those we love should be cherished like it was the first time or the last time. It stands to reason that if I love my wife in this way, we will never drift apart; if I relate to my children like this, they would always be confident that their dad wants to know their heart and help guide them through life.
These thoughts all come together as today we join with family to be together and grieve over the loss of and celebrate the life lived by my Granny Early. We don’t ever know when our last time to see and experience life with our loved ones will be. There are no guarantees, and the only surety that we have is right now and our eternity after this life in the body. Paul said, “For me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” each moment for us on this earth is not only a moment to invest in those around us, but also a moment to live life IN CHRIST to the fullest. So Wednesday, our family suffered a great loss, but my Granny Early experienced the greatest gain anyone could hope to experience…that through faith she entered into the eternal presence of her Creator and Savior Jesus Christ.
So live today as it is your first and last day with those around you, cherishing great relationships and family history, but taking nothing for granted.

(ps. remember that this is not a movie endorsement, and I watched an edited for airplane version, so I don’t know what I “missed”.)

Mandy’s Monday – A New Reason to LOVE Pride & Prejudice
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I was first introduced to Jane Austin’s novel Pride & Prejudice as a senior in high school. It was one of the senior research papers that were pages and pages long that I was to write. With this assignment I had to compare two novels by one author. I chose Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice (now referred to as P&P for the remainder of this blog) and Emma. I must admit I completed maybe 80% of P&P and just enough Emma to get the paper written. It was in college where I picked up P&P again and read it completely just for the fun of it. I had enjoyed the first “reading”, but it was most definitely the second complete reading where I feel in love with this story!

Elizabeth Bennete is such an amazing character! I love her strength, determination, witty comments and resolve to only marry for love. Her disregard for money is refreshing. I think it was she that first drew me to the book. Mr. Darcy is so consumed with appearance and control of his own life, that it rocks his world to discover he is falling in love with someone beneath him in society. She has such “fine eyes!” I love reading his transformation to become worthy of Elizabeth, his decision to abandon all that is “proper” to serve her and rescue her family name. “You must know, it was all for you!” And then there is the humbling transformation that Elizabeth herself goes through. Since college I have read the book three times or so. I reread it every few years just because I enjoy it and always find something new to appreciate. Brian loves to tease me “What are you reading? Are you really reading P&P again?” I compare it to watching a good movie over and over. “How many times have you seen Gladiator or Brave Heart Brian?”

Over the Christmas break Melinda, a senior in high school and Calvary Student Ministry member, and I decided to watch the A&E five and a half hour version of P&P. I own this movie as well as the more recent 2006 version. I love them both, each for different reasons. The five plus hour version is the closest to the book that I have seen, hence the five hours! It is a bit of a commitment to decide to watch it, especially if you decide to do so in one sitting. Melinda and I decided we were up for the hours of watching enjoyment while comfortably seated on my living room couch. What I did not expect was that my two oldest daughters, Addie and Emma, were also up for the challenge! I assumed the girls would get board and give up on the movie, but they did not.
Through Addie and Emma’s eyes I discovered a new reason to love P&P!

As the story unfolded I was bombarded with questions from my 9 and 8 year olds, but most of the questions had to do with Lydia Bennete. Lydia, the youngest of the Bennete’s five daughters, is a foolish flirt who abandons all reason and falls prey to the self seeking Wickham. I have always loathed her character, and the shame she so uncaringly brought on her family! “Are the shades of Pemberley to be thus polluted!”

I watched my girls as confusion came to their minds and faces:
“What is wrong with that girl, Mom?”
“Well girls, she is foolish! She is a flirt and is chasing after boys, any boy.”

And to my delight as the story unfolded Addie and Emma were disgusted in deed! How wonderful! Tucked in this story that I have loved for years was a painful picture my girls could grab hold of – being a foolish girl brings ruin in the end! We talked the movie over and over as the girls had questions and I was thankful they had decided to hang out with Melinda and I while we watched. Hopefully, it placed in their minds and hearts the desire to seek wisdom in life, especially in the area of finding that perfect someone to spend their lives with!
I just love P&P, and now so do Addie and Emma 🙂

(By the way my Emma was not specifically named after Jane Austin’s Emma, but it was the first introduction I had to the beautiful name!)

Mandy’s Monday – Marriage in the Movies
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It is Christmas time and in addition to all the wonderful Christmas traditions comes the watching of movies in this house hold.  It may not be the most meaningful activity, but it is a fun one that we do more often this month than other times.  There are some great Christmas movies out there, that just beg to be watched each year!  “A Christmas Story” is one of my favorites and we watched, yes we did! “You will shoot your eye out!”  Love it!

Picture 4One of my new favorite Christmas movies is “It’s a Wonderful Life.”  Of course this is not a new movie, it is new to my list of favorites.  And if I had to pick my absolute FAVORITE Christmas movie it would probably be this one!  Since I am older, not old just older, I see things in this movie I never really paid attention to before.  About three years ago I found myself watching it alone, Brian was out of town, I was sitting on the couch crying thinking “I get it, the guy is depressed!” I just understand it in a different way than I used to!  George wants his life to matter for something, don’t we all.  The final scene where everyone is pouring in to give money and thanking him, well I just can’t watch it with out crying every year now!  This year something new struck me. It was Mary’s love and devotion to George.  She encouraged him all along the way and was patient with him when he was discouraged and down right mean!  I thought to myself, I don’t think I respond like that when Brian is having a “bad day”  I am more likely to tell him “hey, you are really being a jerk ya know…snap out of it…”  Mary encouraged me with her love and patience for George – a great picture of marriage!

Picture 2A week or so later Brian and I rented “Julie & Julia” to watch together.  I had been intrigued by this movie from the first trailer I saw.  I wanted to go see it with a group of 30something women thinking it would be fun.  It never happened (something that often happens with my ideas, they never come to reality).  So Brian and I watched it together, and I really enjoyed it.  I love to cook and so the cooking side was fun but what I really liked I did not expect.  I enjoyed the picture of marriage seen in the lives of both Julia and Julie.  Here was a story about two already married couples, even married for awhile, and the plot showed them very much in love, even passionate for one another 🙂  Paul standing along side Julia encouraging her endeavors and Eric doing the same for Julie, even PUSHING her to try something new.  The couples encouraged me to enjoy my marriage, a beautiful gift I am always thankful for!

This brings us to Christmas afternoon!  On a side note I now know why so many people go to the movies on Christmas afternoon.  After you have stayed up late wrapping and UP movie scenesetting stuff out, been woken up early by excited kids and then cooked a big meal you are ready to chill out with a movie or send all your house guests to one so you can recover 🙂  We did not go to the theater, we watched “Up” at home, which was given to our Aunt Kathy who was here for Christmas.  The kids had seen this movie earlier, but Brian and I had not.  Again I was surprised to find myself encouraged in marriage, from UP!  a kids movie!  I did not even get to see all of the beginning where the courtship and marriage of Carl and Ellie are told in detail, I was in the kitchen cleaning dishes still.  Even so I was brought to tears by the love and devotion shown in their relationship.  And it held an extra special string to my heart with the adventure theme!  Adventure, specifically an appetite for adventure is one of our family values.  🙂  Up encouraged my heart to continue to be devoted to Brian and to live for the adventure of being married to him and having four kids (four kids and marriage is an adventure to say the least, then you throw in all our dreams and desire and it is quite a ride)!

Movies and stories are so very powerful!  With them we can be inspired, encouraged, spurred on to greater living… I am thankful for these three pictures of marriage in the movies!  Encouraged to love more, to be more patient, to enjoy more, to be devoted and seek adventure!

Mandy’s Monday – Things I am Planning to Think On
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I feel like my mind is scattered recently, as far as my Spiritual thinking goes. I just have not been focused in one area for very long and have had several deep things I have been thinking about thinking about 🙂 Do you ever do that – ya know plan to think about something! Well I thought I would share with you a few of the things I am working towards thinking about more deeply:

1. Pursuing humility brings joy. While driving across the country for Christmas Brian and I listened to a sermon by Mark Driscoll, pastor at Mars Hill Seatle (aka the “cussing pastor” by Don Miller’s description in some of his books). The sermon was on humility and several things that Mark brought out from the passage in Philippians really made me think. To be honest I often think and know that humility is a needed area for growth in my life – therefore came the decision to think it over some more at another time. Anyway the concept that stayed with me was that no one can or should say “Hey, I am now humble” obviously they would then have lost their humility by their statement. Instead the desire is to be pursuing humility. I like that! I think it sounds like a great pursuit! The second concept was that humility brings joy and that is just worthy of some deep thinking!!

2. What would it mean and what would it look like to have a true contrition, natural compassion and an unshakable longing for God? This comes from Julian of Norwich’s Revelations of Divine Love. Recently, I checked out 20 Things You Should Read from our church library. It includes 20 chapters of excerpts from famous authors that, in the opinion of these modern day authors think one should be familiar with. I found Julian’s prayer intreging and desiring of more thought!! I am looking forward to reading other chapters by Calvin, Barth, and so on.

3. There is an interesting repetition in the Bible on faith, hope and love. My pastor, Johnny Miller, just started a series on Colossians and this last Sunday he showed us from Colossian 1:1-5 that a great church is founded on faith, hope and love. It really made me think and want to think even more!

4. Sandee told her daughters “Remember this one thing – don’t let this world limit you. Not now. Not ever. People are not qualified to tell you what you can or can’t do. There is only One who is qualified. Your Heavenly Father.” I read this today in the book Where Women Walked by Jean Blackmer and Laura Greiner. I was amazed by Sandee’s story of faith and determination as she worked to provide for her two girls. It reminded me of the movie The Pursuit of Happyness. When Brian and I saw that we left numb thinking there is so much to other’s lives that we know nothing about! So this quote made me want to sit and think – do I let people limit me in areas that God does not desire to do so? Do I teach my girls amazing things like this! Am I actually hindered by the many blessings in my life to not experience faith in God as other’s experience Him?

So those are my future deep thinking plans – along with some dedicated time in Colossians. Tomorrow is our first Study and Share meeting and this semester is all on Colossians. It is going to be GREAT!

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