Sunday, July 19, 2015

Uncommon

When the students of Rosewood High School lose their theater, music and dance departments due to budgets cuts, they create their own. Struggling to find the right script, music & choreography the students get advice from an uncommon source; the Bible! Each student becomes uniquely influenced as they discover that God takes them personally. Equipped with unique talents, they bond together to prepare the perfect production by exploring the diversity of parables taught in the Bible.

Fighting overwhelming challenges, the teens fight against political correctness to defend their privilege to worship, meet and perform.

Will months of constant bullying by the establishment defeat the production and dismantle their faith?

Armed with expert legal counsel and unexpected help from Christian music’s finest, these teens realize what it means to be…UNCOMMON!




My Review: I really wanted to like Uncommon. There were so many aspects about it that appeal to things that matter to me. But, I found myself rolling my eyes too often to really enjoy the film. The potential for a really good film is there, but I don't feel like it reached any where near what it could. Stereotypical characters and less than stellar acting, along with some bad dialogue, ruined much of the film for me. There were some great moments that touched me and a few really good performances. I especially loved the song performed by Stacey Bradshaw near the end of the film. It actually caused me to raise my initial overall bad impression, but I still can't say this is a good movie. It was not even the "Come on, kids! Let's put on a show!" theme, since I actually have always liked those (Andy Hardy, Little Rascals, Shirley Temple---all films that did this well). Perhaps I am just naive or live in a place that is more embracing of Christianity, but this just seemed too over the top and the resolution fell into place too neatly. Definitely more of movie made for the church crowd, so it will find its niche.

I was given the opportunity to preview this film by WORD films. No compensation was provided and I was not required to write a positive review.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Spiritual Parenting in the First Five Years

"Spiritual Parenting in the First Give Years: God’s Plan for Early Childhood Christian Discipleship," by Graham Blanchard, is their first book for adults.

There is no doubt that the first five years of a child's life is a very demanding time with taking care of physical needs, but this is also the best time to begin the spiritual foundation a child needs to lead them to a personal relationship with God. Most resources available are for older children, so this book is unique in laying out steps from the very beginning of a child's life. What better place to start?

"Spiritual Parenting in the First Five Years"  lays out five Bible-based principles for the care and feeding of a new child’s inner life. Drawing from Scripture and the inspiration of great Christian teachers, the book shows how new and expecting parents can maximize this vital development window—an opportune time to teach children about who God is and who they are in Him. (publisher description)



My review: I have read and loved several of Callie Grant's board books for younger children and have them for my great grandchildren to look at when they come to visit. So, I was definitely interested in her first book written for adults. This is a short read, but a powerful one. I have always been an advocate of training a child and being honest, albeit at their level, in dealing with the important things in life. And, their spiritual development is of utmost importance in building a strong foundation. The points made and suggestions are simple, but designed to make an impact. From the first suggestion of praying together over your child on the the various points of how to help children develop a relationship with God themselves, rather than just believing because their parents do, is an early Biblical concept.

The 5 Principles are:
First Impressions -Your child was born to believe. You were made to teach.

Little Think Tanks -Your child has great capacity for faith. You will help shape it.

Unique Journeys -Your child has a one-of-a-kind path. You are a shepherd.

Personal Ties -Your child has a special relationship with God. You can honor it.

Golden Moments -Your child will ask you about God. Your life helps you answer.

As always, there is Scripture to go along with what the book is saying, as well as interactive suggestions to help your little one on his or her own unique journey of faith. I highly recommend this to all expectant or new parents! I have never been disappointed with any product from Callie Grant/Graham Blanchard and once again, I love the book.

I received a free copy of this eBook from Shelton Interactive. I was not required to give a review and was not compensated.

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Spiritual Parenting in the First Five Years is the 12th title released by Graham Blanchard. It is available at Amazon.com and at GrahamBlanchard.com. All the titles have been very well received by outlets like Publishers Weekly, Foreword Reviews, CBA Retailers and Resources and more than 100 websites and blogs written by Christian parents.
Graham Blanchard Inc. is based in Austin, Texas, with a team of writers, editors, illustrators, parents and pastors. The company is passionate about providing the highest quality books and resources to promote a love of learning about God, in addition to supporting families with prayer and the shared experiences of other parents. For more information please visit www.grahamblanchard.com.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Father's Love DVD

Sarah moved to New York City to pursue her love of filmmaking. When she meets the man of her dreams; charming, handsome, and wealthy, Reece becomes her world.

As their story unfolds, Sarah is taken on a journey of heartbreak and forgiveness, exploring the meaning of her relationships both past and present. In the end, she emerges with new found strength to inspire others when they need it most.

Trailer for The Father's Love  


 

REVIEW: This film is a is the story of Sarah, a woman who was abandoned by the father she loved as a child, and her search for a relationship as an adult. Happily involved with her friends and dating to find the "perfect" man, her hopes seem fulfilled when she meets Reece. Wealthy, handsome, and charming, he is the epitome of her romantic fantasies. Sarah is devastated when Reece abandons her too.

Already starting to go to church through the encouragement of her friend, Tricia, Sarah begins to lean more on God while recovering from her broken heart. When Reece reappears in her life, she must come to a decision. The elements of forgiveness and restoration play heavily into this film as Sarah learns the true meaning of love.

Really more of a "chick flick" type film in many ways, but it kept my attention and I thought it was a satisfying film. I prefer the more subtle way of telling the story with elements of faith being a natural progression and the journey that may not always be a smooth path. I thought it was a well done film that opened doors to others to learn to forgive.

I received The Father's Love by Word Films compliments of Word Films and Edify Media Inc for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review outside the complimentary copy of the DVD.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Virtuous

When a young woman, Simone Burner (singer/songwriter, Brandy Allison) is accused of murdering the woman who assaulted her, she seeks out the help of attorney Jack Evans (Erik Estrada) to prove her innocence. A ruthless and corrupt prosecutor engages her in a trial that brings the past she has longed to escape to the forefront of her defense. Virtuous will inspire and ignite you to live the principles of Proverbs 31------faith, integrity, wisdom, and honor. (back cover)




There are some strong female roles in this film who represent women who have gone through various forms of neglect or abuse who each come to terms with their past and overcome it as they realize their value as daughters of the King. From Si (Brandy Allison)who has left behind a life of abandonment and drugs, an ambitious news reporter (Vanessa Ore) who has left her faith behind as she seeks to advance her career, A cop (Angelita Nelson) bitter over her husband's betrayal, a soldier (Jenni Ivers) who is captured and tortured by the Taliban, a single mom (Melissa Barron), and a retiring judge (Bonnie Johnson) who is emotionally abused by her husband. Each of the women have storylines that intertwine, but it takes a while before the stories come together enough for the pieces to fall into place. I enjoyed the second half of the movie more than I did the first.


To be honest, the first 5 minutes were not good at all and I am certain that had an impact on my attitude as I watched the film. Then with all of the loose threads of stories that had not yet come together, I had problems staying focused on the action. I commend Director of Photography, James Burgess, on the look of the film, but some of the dialogue and acting was cringe-worthy. I wasn't crazy about musical choices (and a good soundtrack can make or break a film for me) and some of the scenes just didn't quite make sense to me. I was even able to (reluctantly, LOL!) overlook that one of the more obnoxious characters was a staunch fan of my beloved University of Alabama. I don't want to say there were not good moments, because there were several, especially in the second half of the movie that did really touch me. But I would have missed them had I not been reviewing the film since the weak beginning would normally have me turning it off. So, it has some good points that are worth waiting for, but is more of a "preaching to the choir" type movie. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but only still it is a mediocre film.

The film, directed by Bill Rahn, is slightly over 2 hours and is probably not suitable for anyone under 13. Other cast members include Erin Bethea, Ben Davies, and Jessica Lynch. For more information, go to
www.virtuousfilm.com.


Disclaimer: I received a copy of the DVD courtesy of EDIFY MEDIA Inc. as part of the series promotion. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.



Monday, May 25, 2015

Truly Free by Robert Morris

In Truly Free best-selling author Robert Morris invites us into a glorious truth-that the promise of being set free from the slavery of sin is a promise to be set free completely. Although evil is real and Christians can be oppressed by it, we have the promise that the one who is in us is greater than the one who is in the world (1 John 4:4). Jesus saves us, trains us to resist the power of evil, and delivers us from anything that holds us back. With Jesus, we can be finally free forever. (back cover)

Pastor Robert Morris, founding senior pastor of Gateway Church, knows firsthand how easy it is to become entangled in sin. He has been quite candid about his own struggles, and has the heart and passion to help others break free. I appreciate the personal stories that he shares and feel they help others realize that they are not alone and that anyone can allow sin to pull them away from the life they want to lead. Just as Paul says in Romans 7:15-25, knowing what you should do, and even what you want to do is not enough.

Pride can be the largest stumbling block in preventing us to reconcile our desire to live a Christ-honoring life, and the life we actually live. Morris explains how we simply cannot change of our own free will, but must get down to root causes (not excuses, necessarily, but things that may have influenced us.) I found several passages in the book very convicting and came to the realization that even the self-defeating "small" sins make a difference. More than just a feel good book of overcoming sins and temptations, Truly Free encourages the reader to turn the the Lord to break free of the snares that trap us in a life that keeps us from living the life and being the person God intends...and to be aware that we cannot do it apart from Him. I recommend this book and would give it a 4.5 stars.


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers at no cost to myself. I was not required to write a positive review. Also, thank you to Thomas Nelson.




Saturday, May 16, 2015

Bash and the Chocolate Milk Cows

Bash is up to his usual tricks and with his overactive imagination, life is anything but boring. But cousin Beamer likes boring. This time he is back on the farm for Spring Break and Bash's favorite holiday---April Fool's Day! What could possibly go wrong in his latest scheme? Bash and the Chocolate Milk Cows is his most creative and complicated plan to surprise his parents yet. Toss in a polliwog observatory, a robber with a sweet tooth, and a goat of many colors...and get prepared for a wild week!

Storyteller Burton Cole, with illustrator Buddy Lewis, have a book that is sure to bring joy to 8-12 year old boys (and girls) and possibly strike fear into the heart of parents of mischievous kids. They may pick up a few ideas, and hopefully be discouraged about trying some of the crazier ones, but there is also a lesson to be learned. This time Beamer wants to learn more about baptism. This combination of fun-filled adventures, with a few important tenets of Christianity woven in at an age appropriate level, makes for a series that I definitely recommend for children. While they are more into practical jokes than I have ever been, it did bring to mind a few childhood adventures of my own. I love the encouragement to use your imagination and get outside and play!

I received a copy of this book at no cost to myself from Shelton Interactive in exchange for an honest review.

Catie Conrad: How to Become the Most (un)Popular Girl in Middle School

The 2nd in The Desperate Diva Diaries series, Catie Conrad has a new diary and new tween angst to write about. Catie Conrad: How to Become the Most (un)Popular Girl in Middle School  by Angie Spady brings back Catie, her best friend Sophie, her secret crush Josh, brother Jeremy, and nemesis Miranda Maroni.  The book, illustrated by Channing Everidge, is written in the style of a young girl's diary, complete with all of the drawings and sketches of future fashion designer, Catie. It's a continuation of the first book, but can be enjoyed as a stand alone title.

Miranda is up to her old tricks of making Catie look and feel bad about herself by accusing Catie of cheating on a test in the one subject she is good in AND by continuing to make fun of Catie's fashion designs. Everything Catie does is twisted by Miranda, and it's not easy to keep turning the other cheek and not finding a way to get even. With Valentine's day quickly approaching, the stress levels are higher than ever. Will Josh believe Miranda's lies? Catie is also trying to be supportive of Sophie and the Scholar Bowl team but what is the best way for her to help?

Of course, things are zany at home too. As if her brother and his pet skunk, Rosie, weren't enough, Jeremy AKA "The Germ" is pet-sitting a friend's bearded dragon!! Then, just when things could not get worse---Jeremy breaks his leg! Guess who is put in charge of taking care of the pets and helping her brother?


This second book is just as much fun to read as the first one. I am way past those traumatic middle school years, so I read these with a touch of amusement interspersed with my own memories of the drama that goes with being that age. But, I am also very impressed with the message that goes out to young girls, especially Christians, that we all face problems, but we have a God always available to turn to in times of need. The use of Scripture and the counsel of parents and support of friends who share the same values and beliefs are presented in a way that does not appear to be a lesson. I strongly recommend The Diva Diaries.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book at no cost to myself from Shelton Interactive. I was only asked to give an honest opinion.