Friday, December 31, 2010

Take The Year By Storm!

Thunderstorm

When He thunders, the waters in the heavens are in turmoil, and He causes the clouds to rise from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain and brings the wind from His storehouses. ~Jeremiah 10:13

As I was taking my last walk  for 2010, it turned into a walk in the rain... with the sound of thunder in the distance. Since I happen to love thunderstorms, it made me smile with anticipation of what may lay ahead. Literally ahead of me, I could observe the spectacular and colorful array of fireworks!! Due to the approaching storms, celebrations by the lake were moved forward and I was blessed to catch the display.The slight melancholia that had been with me as I began this walk (after all, it is the final hours of 2010, and I was reflecting) quickly vanished as though snatched away by the wind that increased in strength.

A friend had written about taking the new year by storm and his words immediately came to the forefront of my mind. Since we share an affinity for this type weather, I knew exactly what he meant when he had used that description.That metaphor gave me the perfect imagery of rejoicing in the power and magnificence and awe of what our God can do!! He had also referred to a verse that had just never grabbed my attention before:

From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force. ~ Matthew 11:12

As I googled (my favorite verb, by the way!) my way through various translations and commentaries to reach a better understanding of context and application, I was completely caught up and unaware of anything around me. Y'all aren't going to believe me, but I promise this is true: My 'AHA!' moment was punctuated with a brilliant streak of lightning and a tremendous crash of thunder!! I love God's sense of humor!! :)


Violence does have a negative image, just as the thought of a violent storm puts many in fear. I have a respect for the power of a storm,  but I have to admit that my first reaction is sheer exuberance. A passion or zeal for God is the connotation I receive from both this verse and thunderstorms. Just as I don't cower in fear during a storm, neither do I want to cower in fear from life...or God.
As a little girl, we had many summer thunderstorms. As the wind would begin blowing, I would stretch out my arms and race headlong into it as fast as I could run, laughing in absolute delight! The joy I felt while running, spinning around, and dancing along with the leaves in the trees is the same way I want to feel about life now: knowing that a storm is approaching but enjoying the moments before and watching in amazement as God displays His power in the storm.
So, yes, my friend, I agree with you that 2011 will be a year we will take by storm! God will be with you, me, and all the rest every step of the way demonstrating just how mighty and awesome He really is!!!

May 2011 be a year of joy & peace in each of your lives. God bless you all!!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Potter & The Clay

Have Thine own way Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay. 
Mold me and make me after thy will,
while I am waiting, yielded and still.

   Text:     Adelaide A. Pollard (1862-1934) 
Music: George C. Stebbins (1864-1945)
 
That has always been a favorite hymn from my childhood, 
and one I have thought about a lot recently. Have I always 
just mindlessly sang it...or have I ever sincerely asked
 God to mold me into the image He wants me to be?

But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?~ Romans 9:20-21

Crosshaven went through the book of Romans this year, so this was the first instance of this verse appearing to me. Unfortunately this is also a verse that is too reflective of my attitude this year. I would say that I have always been accepting of  anything connected to my life. Not to say that I don't rebel because I have pitched some temper tantrums with God that would put any 2 year old to shame.
There have been some wonderful changes in my life in 2010, but the whiney, "Why?", has become too prevalent also. This is certainly an area I am having to deal with much too frequently.




  
   He was using his hands to make a pot from clay, but something went wrong with it. So he used that clay to make another pot the way he wanted it to be. Then the Lord spoke His word to me: "Family of Israel, can't I do the same thing with you?" says the Lord. "You are in My hands like the clay in the potter's hands." ~ Jeremiah 18:4-6 (New Century Version)

On Sunday mornings in my Life Group (small group, Sunday School, whatever you want to call it), we have been studying the book of Jeremiah. This verse brought to mind that even though we may mess up, God can still use us. When something went wrong, the potter just started over to make the pot into what he wanted. This verse is one that gives me much hope and comfort. God can still use me.

After a day spent in what felt like a black pit of despair, the chance to go to church tonight to hear a message on the HOPE that was born to mankind on Christmas Day helped me begin to climb out with a glimmer of hope for my own life. I have prayed not only for me to live my life with acceptance, but acceptance-with-joy. God even graciously granted a selfish little prayer that I begged Him to send me as a sign that my prayer for forgiveness over my attitude ...especially today's...had been heard. (and that was even after I quickly repented of begging for a favor!)

Now, to truly begin to live as God wants, and to not question every motive or complain because things aren't what I hoped them to me. His Grace truly is sufficient. And whenever I sing along with "Potter's Hand", I want this to be my sincere prayer ... and to joyfully serve His purpose for my life.







December 29, 2010: "I will yield my life to the Potter's Hand"  ~ Cindy

Monday, December 27, 2010

One Less...blog to write.

I have decided to close out the Cindy's World Blog (loved the look of it, but it just isn't as easy for me to navigate as the site I use for Cindy's Random Thoughts) However, I don't want to lose all I had written. So, they are being transferred here. So, since I seldom went there, here are the entries from Cindy's World:

1. Beyond The Farthest Star 


Posted by Cindy Navarro on July 29, 2010 at 2:26 AM

I just found out about this incredible new film! BEYOND THE FARTHEST STAR, from what I have read and seen, will change faith-based films forever! Here's the deal, the only way it will get into cinemas is for us believers to Demand It through their website. Make sure you also become a fan on their FB page! Let's make sure this film changes lives!

http://beyondthefartheststar.com/

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Beyond-the-Farthest-Star/170290344732

2. Nothing To Say *sigh* 


Posted by Cindy Navarro on July 30, 2010 at 2:47 PM

Before I decided to create this, I always had stuff on my mind. Now, I apparently have 2 blogs and absolutely nothing to say. *deeper sigh*

I haven't decided yet how often I will try to update....or exactly what I will update on.

I am excited to see the fanbase grow for Beyond The Farthest Star! I have so much fun encouraging people to become fans!! The Game Of Life is still so special to me too! Not only is it the first group, I got so excited about, but I have grown to love so many of the people I have met through that site.

Isn't it odd how attached you can get to people you have never met? You know, this is bringing up an idea for something to write about!! Now....which blog do I want to write on? I guess I will wait until I throw my thoughts together a bit more coherently before I attempt to write.

Until.....later!

3. You Better Get Ready...I'm Coming Home!!! 



Posted by Cindy Navarro on August 8, 2010 at 5:01 PM

"You better get ready, I'm coming home!"  were the words I heard on the phone a few minutes ago from Cody!!   Next was, "I got money for my birthday, so I'll be buying my own stuff now!!   Wait!!  I want to buy a phone, but YOU can keep buying the rest of my stuff!!"
He is hilarious.

But it did trigger a few thoughts of my life. How often, when things are going good, do I want to tell God that I can handle it now? Just as quickly, I want to put those words right back in my mouth. I can have nothing nor do nothing without Him!! I learned that lesson the hard way.

While only God knows when I will be heading toward Heaven, I think of loved ones already there. My son...my parents...grandparents....at least 1 miscarried grandchild! I wonder who else is waiting on me? More important than those I knew and loved is my Savior!! I may not know the day or the hour, but I want to look toward Heaven and joyfully shout..............................................................

"YOU BETTER GET READY, I'M COMING HOME!!!"

** This was the original brief note I put on the blog. Later, the full note was posted on the website A GENTILE ANSWER on the Teachable Moments section. AGAMinistry is the blog of my friend, Kathy Lonsinger.
  (Sadly, I no longer do such drastic editing on my blog! LOL)

4. Sleeping Under The Stars 


Posted by Cindy Navarro on August 14, 2010 at 9:38 AM

The Perseid Meteor Showers are making their annual appearance. It has been years since I lived in an area where I could actually see anything, but I always try. Watching a starry night fascinates me almost as much as a thunderstorm. They both remind me of the magnificence and omnipotence of God.

Thursday night was supposed to be the best viewing night, but there was simply too much cloud cover. However, I did enjoy just sitting outside and communing with God. Last night, I made the decision that I would sit outside again. I had not had a very good day, and just really needed to pour out my heart to the One who loves me and understands.

After about 20 minutes, Caitlyn wandered out to see if I had seen a meteorite yet. I told her no, but that I was going to get a blanket and just lay outside for a while. Caitlyn decided to join me, and as we lay on the blanket talking, it began to get a bit chilly. I volunteered to go in for another blanket. When I returned, she excitedly exclaimed that she had seen 2 streak by!!  I am still happy for her.

We continued lying there, gazing at the skies and talking both of serious matters and total nonsense. The next thing I knew, I was waking up...and it was 4:30am. I may not have seen a meteorite, but I did add a treasured memory of time spent with my precious granddaughter. God is sooo good!!!


New Living Translation (©2007)
  "He made all the stars--the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations of the southern sky".~ Job 9:9

5. What Am I Thinking!!?? 


Posted by Cindy Navarro on November 22, 2010 at 1:26 AM

Okay...here it is past midnight, and I have spent way too much time trying to connect a blog I seldom even remember to use to everything else.

Why, you ask, do I need yet another place to share my thoughts? :/ I am equally as puzzled. Cindy's Random Thoughts is easier for me to navigate, but I just think Cindy's World looks cooler!!
Plus, I may decide to change them into 2 different type blogs. Or, one just may have to go. Who knows what the future holds?

Well, I know my future needs to hold sleep. I have a lot to do tomorrow, so I am hoping I just about have everything here connected. Or, if I don't, I hope it doesn't take too long to fix.  Anyway, one last glance at www.beyondthe fartheststar.com/ to see if anybody else has signed up to BRING IT to Cullman and then I am going to bed.


Good night & God bless!,
Cindy                                                         

"The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands." ~ Psalm 19: 1




6. Operation Christmas Child 


Posted by Cindy Navarro on December 3, 2010 at 10:10 PM

Yesterday I was given an opportunity that was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I, along with 42 other members of Crosshaven Baptist Church, served for 4 hours at the processing plant of Operation Christmas Child near Atlanta, Georgia. You cannot begin to imagine what an immense undertaking it is to gather all of these shoeboxes together to send around the world to children who may never receive another gift.
First we saw a brief film about the impact of this ministry, and the smiles on the faces of the children are humbling. It would bring a tear to the eye of the most hardened person. Next there is a short demonstration on the proper way to go through the boxes to prepare them to be shipped.This is just to give the volunteers an overview of the things they will do. Although I was one of those selected to take place in the demo, I actually did none of the jobs we were shown. More on that later.
First thing is to remove any money. Not only are the funds to be used for shipping, but a child could be put in danger from someone wanting that cash. So, even toy money is not advised as a gift. After money is placed in a safe location, the box is turned over to inspectors. These are the volunteers who sort through the box to remove any items that cannot be shipped. Liquids are banned, and after seeing a couple of examples where the liquids spilled, that is totally understandable. Any type toy or clothing that would remind one of war is also removed. Breakable items, food, used items....these are among those that cannot be left in the box. They are placed in separate containers and each item is replaced with an appropriate substitute.
 We had been told that while some items may seem odd, especially for a child, to leave them unless they were on the banned list. One story was one I found very poignant: In one box, someone had placed a hammer and chisel. The child who received that box immediately grabbed the tools and raced for home, absolutely overjoyed. His father had been offered a job....just as soon as he was able to get a hammer & chisel! What would seem like foolishness to us was God's provision for that family!!
The next person in line is the taper. I think that job description is rather self-explanatory. The taper then hands off to a person who packs it into a box labeled with the appropriate gender/age group. If a person has chosen to follow the contents of their box, it does pass through the hands of the person who has the scanner. This enables Samaritan's Purse to update the donor on which country their box went to, making this an even more personal experience.
A job that was not explained to us, but was the one I ended up doing, is called the runner. Those who know me know that not only do I not run, but due to a car accident 16 years ago, I even often have trouble walking. Less than 4 months ago, I walked unaided for a mile for the first time in 16 years and have tried to keep that up and add a little to it. One of the runners kept the bins of extra gifts filled (to replace the removed banned items.) For 4 hours, I walked back and forth, emptying trash cans and taking the banned items to their location.
As a side note, if the thought of these banned items going to waste has crossed your mind...nothing is wasted! There are other ministries that can accept these items to hand out to those in need. Volunteers also man this area to sort the banned items to be easily handed off to the appropriate charities. Something has to be completely inappropriate to be considered unusable.
Near the end of our shift, I sent a message to a good friend; "PRAY! I don't think I have the strength to get back on the bus!" I seriously wondered if I was going to have to live in Atlanta if I was unable to climb the steps aboard the bus. I just kept going while praying, "I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me."~Philippians 4:13.  I also would periodically remind myself that they do have volunteer jobs available for those who need to sit, but I just had to get keep going!
After 4 hours, I was exhausted, in great physical pain, and filthy.....but I was also so very blessed to have been a part of such a glorious ministry. The 2 times we stopped to pray, especially for a box that each person chose to cradle in their arms as though it were the actual child, truly strengthened me!!! So, if you are ever given the opportunity to help with the Shoebox Ministry....DO IT!!!!!
               www.facebook.com/OCCshoeboxes
______________________________________

(As noted at the beginning...Cindy's World is being closed.)
So, unless I change my mind again, I will stick to one blog. Y'all just be happy that (unbelievably)  I really DON'T post everything I am thinking! :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Controversy

         Although I live in an area where Christmas and public displays featuring Christian symbols are not only accepted, but usually expected, each year there seems be more more controversy surrounding the "offensiveness" of Christmas. Everyone who is reading this knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am of the Christian faith. If you aren't aware, I hope to make it more clear in the future. My point of view is shaped by my faith in Jesus Christ and my unwavering belief in the Bible. So, while I try to be open-minded and willing to listen to others, bottom line for me is trying to be the person I believe Jesus would have me to be. I am often a failure, but it is my goal.

The following link is to a news story I recently watched about Christmas trees causing psychological harm to non-believers. My first response was, "What?!?" Click on here for God Discussion. Read the article and watch the video for yourself. I really would like to hear the opinions of others. I guess I have never thought about a Christmas tree being a Christian symbol. Personally, I don't have a tree up this year, but I am going to be home alone. I think they are beautiful and enjoy looking at them, especially at night with only the lights on the tree glowing. But the tree itself does not make me think any more or less about Jesus. Actually it seems to be one of the less controversial aspects of Christmas. Even non-believers seem to have no problem with a decorated tree...or so I thought. I am also including a link to an article about Biblical, pagan, and secular symbolism concerning Christmas Trees. This link will also lead you to other articles surrounding Christmas symbols and beliefs.

Separation of church and state is an issue that continues to be debated. One of the scenes in the upcoming film from Pathlight Entertainment, Beyond The Farthest Star , is the burning of a nativity by a US Senator. Watch writer/director Andrew Librizzi talk about the film's  burning the Nativity scene.





Some have told me that they find that such a scene in a faith-based film to be offensive. Most change their minds and agree that the dramatic statement can and will lead to discussion. I think that keeping things hidden in the dark or refusing to acknowledge them are wrong. Some within the church have become so afraid of offending either fellow believers or non-believers that we timidly huddle together in silence. I don't know how this scene will eventually play out on screen, but I applaud the decision to address the matter. Personally, I have seen many things on public property that I found to be offensive, but none that tempted me to commit arson. But, I digress, and the point I am hoping to make is that the very name Christmas seems to shout that it commemorates Christ.

I don't see Hanukkah, Kwanza, Festivus, or whatever winter holiday anyone else chooses to celebrate being protested. It would never cross my mind to do so, nor do I protest those who prefer to focus on Santa, reindeer, & presents. Actually the excessive gifts and materialism does bother me, but I don't begrudge people celebrating however they want. The hype of the season makes me feel more isolated and left out than any particular symbol that may be publicly displayed. It is all I can do to keep my mouth shut when I hear, what to me is the bizarre question of, "Are you ready for Christmas?" I never know how to answer.

I realize that it is extremely doubtful that Jesus was born this time of year, but that is a side issue for me. I celebrate the fact that God came to earth as a man to sacrifice Himself in atonement for my sins every day. However, December 25th is when those who have placed their faith and trust in Him choose to celebrate His birth. Am I simply not acknowledging protests of other faiths? Again, the area I live in is not very culturally diverse. Baptist vs Methodists is to be more likely than Christian vs (fill in the blank). I am not one of those who goes ballistic if you choose to wish me a Happy Holiday rather than a Merry Christmas. I don't care if you refuse to say anything to me. However, I do object to unfairly targeting symbols of the Christian faith during the time chosen (for whatever reason) to celebrate the birth of our Messiah. If you don't believe, just don't celebrate it......do not tell me that I can't because you disagree with my belief.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Truth Of The Matter (The Homelanders #3)


This time I decided to find a book within the Youth Fiction genre, since I think it is so important for teens to develop a love of books that goes beyond all they have to read at school. I admit to being a bit dismayed to realize that I had picked up book #3 of a series, but there is more than enough background provided that it was not the stumbling block I feared it to be. You quickly get the general idea of what has gone on before and aren't left confused by what is happening.

Book Description (provided by publisher):
Charlie is certain that if he could just regain his memory, the chaos around him would make sense. But the truth of the matter is even more incredible than he could imagine.
Charlie West was an ordinary high school kid who went to bed one night and woke up in the clutches of terrorists and wanted by the police for murder. He also woke up with no memory of the events of the past year.
Now Charlie has found the one person who knows what happened . . . and who can help him remember. But remembering is painful--as well as dangerous--and figuring out what to do with this new knowledge may be Charlie's toughest challenge yet.

There is loads of excitement and plot twists and turns that is sure to capture the interest of a teen boy. That this book is faith-based and patriotic is a major plus, in my opinion. The fourth and final book in this series is not due out until next August, so this would be the perfect time to get The Truth Of The Matter, as well as the 2 previous books in the series: The Last Thing I Remember and The Long Way Home. This is a very good series to invest in for boys between the ages of 11 & 15.

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Let Your Light Shine

Matthew 5:14-16
"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."





  This Little Light Of Mine, I'm Gonna Let It Shine.......how many of us learned that song as children? It is one of the first I can remember learning. I didn't completely understand what the song meant, but I sure did love it! (Still do, for that matter.) However, I did have an example of that song in action. There were many people in my life whom I saw practice their faith, but the one who stood out most to me was my grandmother, Ruby Louise Watkins Aycock.

Seeing Grandma read her Bible, study the lesson and make the plans for what she was going to teach to her Junior Girls Sunday School class, and practice the piano for the music in church made a deep impression on me. But what made the biggest impact on me was watching her throughout the community. I have seen her taking food to someone who needed it, collecting funds for charity, praying with others, and simply taking time for others. She lived her faith and that inspired me to want to live my life for Jesus. We never talked about it, and I do regret not telling her what an influence she was in my life. Watching Grandma serve God by serving others is probably the main reason I accepted Christ as my Savior at an early age.

Although I am nowhere near as capable or as giving as Grandma, I still believe that service to others is a vital part of my faith. This time of year is when people seem more generous and giving, and a time when we become more aware of the needs of others. I hope each person who takes the time to read this will also do what they can to reach out to another...in the name of Christ. It doesn't have to be a financial gift, or any type of material possession. Sometimes all a person needs is for someone to listen to them and take an interest. A smile may be more than adequate. Whatever you have to offer: money, warm clothing, blankets, time...it all makes a difference in the life of someone. Not only does it affect the one who are reaching out to....you just never know who is watching and the impact you are making on them.

This is a favorite song that I hope each will listen to and LIVE:
GO LIGHT YOUR WORLD

God bless you all,
Cindy

Friday, December 10, 2010

Oh No!! Snow Flurries??

Once again it is that time of year in Alabama when we begin to hear rumors of the possibility of SNOW FLURRIES!!!!!! To be fair, we still have the memories of the infamous "Blizzard of '93" to remind us of the possibilities that we indeed can get a big snowfall in our area. Yearly we revisit this phenomenon with weather specials: Blizzard Of '93 or stories like Dennis Gordon's Weather Tales Storm Of The Century !! It has happened before, it could happen again!

Being unaccustomed to much snow, many of us were not prepared. My electricity was out for nearly a week; but, being one of those who does listen to weather forecasts, I was ready with non-perishables, kerosene, candles, and plenty of books!! We even had an unexpected smaller event in February '96 that made people a tad cautious. I know my cable was out a good 2 or 3 hours that time. Never fear, I had taped the A&E Pride & Prejudice, so I survived quite nicely.

But today the words Snow Flurries and Donner Party seem to be almost interchangeable words in the minds of some! :) Everyone must rush to the grocery store if even a rumor that "snow was mentioned" happens to circulate!! What are the necessities of life that we most fear losing? Candles? Batteries? Non-perishable food? NO!!!! MILK & BREAD!!!!! After all, one may be snowbound 2 or 3 hours before the snow melts!!!! I must admit, I may double-check to make sure there is plenty of coffee and chocolate. Nah...that is normal for a sunny day too. :) Chocolate is not as necessary for my well-being as coffee is....and coffee is necessary for the protection of others who may encounter me....but when I want chocolate, there must be chocolate available!

Now, I can recommend an excellent Facebook page for those who live in Alabama and need others to bond with as we struggle to survive the snow flurries. We who suffer together need a support group. Those outside of the state may also wish to check in on family and friends. Photos are taken and tales must be shared, & even a few suggestions of what to do with the massive supplies of milk and bread, abound as reports filter in on our Snow Flurry Days....and yes, our schools frequently close due to snow flurries! Check it out at Surviving Alabama Snow Flurries .

All of that, simply to share a prayer request for all kind enough to read this: Tomorrow is the only day I have available to go to Walmart and buy groceries!! It is Saturday....always a nightmare day there! It is December.....Christmas shoppers! SNOW FLURRIES are in the forecast! I really do NEED milk and bread this weekend...and there will be none to be had! I just hope I survive this monthly trek with such a triple threat lurking. I can only hope to arrive back home, battle-scarred and weary, but armed with enough supplies to get us through the month without my having to jump into the fray once again. :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Depression

Cherami Leigh and Tyler Corie
Depression is a problem that seems to run rampant at this time of year. Whether it is the pressure of feeling the "holiday spirit" or a myriad of real, or even perceived, problems there is no doubt that the time between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day can exacerbate emotions. The pressure of trying to live up to expectations or the disconnect from loved ones can increase feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and despair. This can be a time of bonding or a time when everything falls apart.

For teens, there is the added stress of being between childhood and becoming an adult. Everything always seems so much more intense and important during those years. I remember wanting to pull away from family and establish myself as my own person, yet a part still longing to cling to my childhood. At no other time is the heights of exhilaration and the depths of despair more keenly felt. During a season filled with family events, it is so easy to withdraw and no longer feel a part of those you once loved unconditionally. Finding out that your parents are indeed human can be a shock. Admittedly, the parents also wonder what happened to the sweet, pliable child who believed Mom and Dad knew everything and could solve any problem.

Beyond The Farthest Star tells the story of a father desperate to connect with his Goth daughter and regain the love of his wife. The rush of this season pulls us in so many different directions that we often lose sight of those who should matter the most to us. Instead of letting our families know how important they are to us, we concentrate on things that will be quickly forgotten in years to come and neglect what and whom really matters. We have become a culture where families appear to be a throw-away commodity, and we need films such as this to make us re-examine our own priorities. I truly believe this will be a film that can make an impact on the lives of millions.  

 

Of course, I want everyone to become a Facebook fan of Beyond the Farthest Star and to sign up to Bring It to your local cinema. They need people like you to support them and let distributors and local theater owners know that there is an audience. Either go to the website at www.beyondthefartheststar.com or ......Click here to "LIKE" on Facebook 


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TEEN SELF HARM: In Pathlight Entertainment's, Beyond The Farthest Star, the character Anne Wells (Cherami Leigh) struggles with depression. The movie takes an unflinching look at the subject. Teen Depression and self-mutilation is a very real issue.

A site that I personally would recommend is TWLOHA .

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DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own. They do not represent or have the consent and/or knowledge of Pathlight Entertainment, Beyond The Farthest Star, or TWLOHA.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

An Incredible Beginning To December!

This is only the 5th of December, but I must admit that I have had an incredible few days. Just to remind myself of the highlights and have a record of ways God has blessed me...:

Dec. 1: The Wedding!! My daughter, Brandy, married Jamie Roat. To witness my daughter joyfully praising God and marrying the man she loves was a very emotional evening. They recently joined Desperation Church and their new church family went over and beyond in making this a special event. The candles, flowers, cake, and reception were totally unexpected, and filled me with such joy to see how loved and welcome Brandy, Jamie, and the kids are in their new church. I am still praying for my sons, but this was just a small foretaste of worshiping God with my child and grandkids. I look forward to doing this forever!!

Dec. 2: My first mission trip!! I have been involved with local missions projects for several years and love them, but this was the first time I have ever gone out of state to be involved in such a huge project. Since I wrote extensively about my experience with Operation Christmas Child in my Cindy's World blog, I won't recount it all here.
But it was a blessing to be a part of it and spend time with some members of my Crosshaven church family. After 10 years of being a member of Northbrook, I am still trying to find my place in my new church home. But, I am where I truly believe God wants me to be.

Then, there was the experience of my first visit to Starbucks! My fellow coffee aficionados on Facebook were appalled that I had never had coffee there, so I can now cross this off my list of things I need to do. Don't ask me what I had.....I just know it was good. A friend sent me a message with a suggestion, so I just showed that to the person who filled my order. :) Considering that a cup of coffee was $1.50 more than I spent on lunch, I don't see me making too many trips back. But I am glad I had the experience and will want to try it again.

Another place I had always wanted to visit was Varsity's in Atlanta. Now I have been there too!! The food was okay, but I honestly was not impressed enough to care if I ever eat there again. Again, though, just fulfilling yet another thing I had wanted to do for years was very satisfying.

Dec. 3: RECOVERY! I was exhausted, so it was good to have a day to sit around and relax. Of course I spent most of the day catching up on Facebook....and promoting all I could. I know I probably annoy most of those who are my FB friends, but I want everyone to know about projects other friends are involved in and care about. There are many wonderful films, books, etc. that others may want to experience for themselves.

I also spent time rejoicing and praising God because it looks like prayers for a friend are about to be answered in a magnificent way. God is always good and His plans are always best, but I still like to see friends given great gifts.

I did not actually burn the house down!! I did manage to only slightly scorch lunch. Supper went from cheese toast to actual flames shooting out of the oven! I meant to only preheat the oven, prepare a can of soup, and some cheese toast to go with it. Apparently, I absent-mindedly put it in the oven and walked out of the room. Fortunately, I was hungry and only out of the kitchen for a short time. Cooking is such a grand adventure! :)

Dec. 4: My first ballet! A friend was going out of town and blessed me with her tickets to The Nutcracker. Of course I am familiar with the story and the music, but the only performance I had ever seen was when my 4th grade class did a short play. This was way better!! LOL!!
The costumes, the gracefulness and energy of the dancers, the "snow" cascading down were all amazing. Getting to share this experience with my granddaughter, Caitlyn, made this afternoon even more of a treasured event. Once again, I had always wanted to see a ballet performed! This was fantastic!!

Dec. 5: Really not done much today. Church is always wonderful, so that alone makes the day special. I have had more of a "weepy" day while listening to music and thinking about all of my many blessings. Actually the thought even crossed my mind that I have had so many dreams fulfilled this week, that I could not help but think of The Bucket List and wonder if my time on earth is nearly over. (Btw, if I suddenly come up with tickets and a ride for Trans-Siberian Orchestra next Saturday, I will be convinced that I am heading HOME real soon!! YAY \o/)

But, I am about to tackle something difficult. Brandy has given me her Blackberry, and I must figure out how to install my contacts.....and how to use the thing....by tomorrow!! So, y'all pray for this poor technically-challenged woman as I go through yet another new experience in an already action-packed week!! GOD IS GOOD and I can't wait to see what is in store for me next!! :)

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Narnia Code

                 The Chronicles of Narnia series by C. S. Lewis has become one of the most globally beloved franchises in history. And yet, there are mysteries about the author and these seven stories that have fascinated scholars and fans for nearly half a century. Enter Michael Ward, an Anglican clergyman and a leading expert on the works of C.S. Lewis, who takes us inside the pages of Lewis' masterpieces and discovers a "secret imaginative key".Like a detective embroiled in an exclusive chase, Ward takes us on an illuminating adventure into medieval  cosmology and spiritual symbolism. His absorbing conclusions  reveal a new third layer of hidden delight that will forever change your love and appreciation for C. S. Lewis and the Narnia books.

THE NARNIA CODE

The above comes from the back of the dvd cover, plus I have included the link to the website which includes a trailer. I did just finish watching this for myself, though and want to include a few thoughts. With the coming release of another movie in the the Chronicles Of Narnia series, Voyage of The Dawn Treador, once again interest is reviving about the series, and the author. C. S. Lewis. This documentary does provide biographical material that is familiar to some, but there is always going to be people who are learning about him for the first time.

The part I found absolutely fascinating is the link Michael Ward has found to tie together the Narnia books. Eric Metaxas, Brian Sibley, and Professor Alan Jacobs are among several experts who are also interviewed. I am a fan of Eric's, so his presence leads even more credence to a theory I find very plausible. It also gives me an entirely new way to look at these books and films. I love to revisit books and films I love, so it is always fun to look at things with a fresh point of view.

The DVD also features bonus material entitled 'Three Friends', 'Hearth And Home' and 'Heart Of The Code'. It was released in Christian retail outlets on Nov. 23, and will be released in general on Jan. 11, 2011. For those interested in reading the book written by Michael Ward, the name is "Planet Narnia".  I believe this will be a DVD that will be eagerly welcomed by any fan of C. S. Lewis.

To LIKE on Facebook, click here.

   “Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Walk In My Shoes (12/03/10 on NBC)

With many families reporting concern about prime-time television broadcasting content that is not suitable for their families, two key corporate sponsors have partnered to provide family-quality entertainment on a major network NEXT WEEK.  This FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT initiative is set to fill the void by providing quality, family entertainment with movies that families CAN enjoy together.

FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT, will premiere the movie, A WALK IN MY SHOES, on Fri., Dec. 3, 2010 at 7:00 pm (CST). Walmart and Proctor & Gamble have teamed to present a family-friendly drama suitable for the entire family. To learn more about the movie, I am providing both a link to the trailer and a synopsis of the movie:

A Walk In My Shoes trailer

A WALK IN MY SHOES movie SYNOPSIS:
Ever judge someone just by looking at them? Of course, we’ve all made snap judgments about people. But what if we really got to know them? How would our opinions change? And what if we were forced to become them… how would the shoes fit then? Stressed-out high school teacher Trish Fahey can’t understand her students’ lack of effort and why their parents don’t seem to care. This is especially true of Justin Kremer, a popular, skateboard-loving, basketball star who is underperforming in her class. Trish has him suspended from the team and quickly chalks up the situation as a case of bad parenting. This perspective dramatically changes when Trish meets Molly, a mysterious stranger intent on helping her see things differently. When Trish wrecks her car, Molly is there as Trish wakes to find herself living the life of Cindy Kremer, the woman she has personally judged and criticized. Trish discovers that there is often more to the story and learns a powerful lesson that affects everyone she interacts with. Her husband, her daughter, the ex-Marine next door… No one is left unchanged.

Additional information can be found out the following link:

A Walk In My Shoes

Last night I was given the opportunity to watch this movie, and I must admit that I thoroughly enjoyed it. My mind often has a tendency to wander, but this kept me fully engaged. The lesson to be learned about not judging others until you have walked in their shoes makes a powerful impact. There is also much to be learned from this film about helping those who are less fortunate than yourself. During this season when the followers of Christ are preparing to celebrate the gift of our Lord's birth, on top of just finishing a day of giving thanks for our many blessings, this is a most appropriate film.
I realize that some of my friends do not share my faith, so I do want to assure you that this film is one you will enjoy too. I believe nearly everyone will find a character they can either identify with personally...or someone they know. I highly recommend that everyone make some popcorn, gather the family, and watch this delightful family film. Parents & grandparents, I also believe this will give the perfect opportunity to open the topic of sharing with others and perhaps kickstart a plan of what your family can do this year to make a difference.......whether it be helping others or just learning to really listen to those around you.

If you want to see more films of this type in the future, support FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT:

To LIKE on Facebook 

Enjoy the move.....and your family!! :)


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Family Movie Night on NBC

Walk in Someone Else's Shoes This Holiday Season

Holidays are supposed to be about families, but with shopping, cooking, cleaning, and other chores, sometimes it feels like we don't get a chance to have a meaningful conversation with the people closest to us. There is a movie called A Walk In My Shoes coming up on Friday, December 3 at 8:00 EST on NBC that is a great opportunity to take a break, sit down with your kids and talk about what the holidays really mean: caring about other people, helping those who need it, thanking those who have helped us.  It's a really cool story that makes you think, "What would I learn if I stepped into someone else's life?" There is something for everyone in this story, and after watching it, I can promise that it will make you laugh, cry, hug your family, and be thankful for what is most important in your life, especially during the holiday season. Do yourself a favor and watch it on Friday, December 3 at 8:00 EST on NBC.


ABOUT Family Movie Night:
http://familymovienight.com/about-family-movie-night/


I will be watching a preview of this film this weekend and give more of my thoughts, plus provide a trailer. But this seems like a perfect opportunity to get together with your families and spend time together. This sounds like a movie that will make you appreciate your blessings and provide an opportunity to discuss how we can be used to bless others.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Burnt Offerings.....And That Is On The Good Days!

Thanksgiving is approaching and a question that I am sometimes asked....although not as frequently with the advent of Facebook....is, "What are you cooking for Thanksgiving?" My answer is, "I'm not...at the request of my family." And I am serious!! They don't even try to be polite about it anymore.

Ironically, I did work in several restaurants throughout my life. To be fair, most were fast-food...and I was usually a cashier. My first job following my divorce, though, was as a biscuit cook. When I asked if someone could show me how, the manager replied, "You make them the same way you do at home." My answer : "I go to Hardee's. I noticed there is one across the street...how many should I pick up and what time do you need them?" Despite serious misgivings...they were obviously desperate...I was hired. My cousin, Debbie, said that she thought her husband would pass out from laughter when she told him about my new job. I am glad my employment brought such joy to my family! :)

My kids learned early on that I can seldom even heat up anything without burning it. You would think I would get better, but I haven't. When my grandson Zac was younger, each time I went near the stove he would point at the smoke alarm and cover his ears! (This is the same child who used to pop his pacifier into my mouth whenever I would try to sing him to sleep. Some critics are made, some are born!)

My former husband confided in me once that he honestly suspected I was trying to kill him during the first year of our marriage. After too many attempts  to eat foods that were burnt on the outside and raw on the inside, he realized that I simply do not have the patience to cook a meal. (The man was so grateful when Crock-Pots were put on the market!) Fortunately for us, Michael was an excellent cook who actually enjoyed it. He would even let me help him sometime. Considering that I have even had problems boiling water, I had to be supervised.

I did have 2 favorite cookbooks when I was raising my kids.: Campbell's Soup had a good one...as long as there was no more than 3 ingredients involved.... and Kool-Aid had a fantastic cookbook. I loved recipes that involved adding Kool-Aid.  Food coloring was made for people like me. The food may not be edible, but it was colorful!! Sadly, neither my children nor my grandchildren enjoy my fascination with brightly colored foods once they passed the preschool age. Cody just shakes his head at me on Dr. Seuss' birthday as I am enjoying my green eggs & ham!

That  reminds me of a story with Cody: A couple of years ago he asked if I would make him some scrambled eggs. I looked at him in disbelief and asked, "Me?" He thought for a couple of seconds, grabbed my phone, & I heard, "Aunt Brandy, can you come make me some scrambled eggs?" Now he cooks them for me.

Caitlyn, on the other hand, just flat out lets me know that she is a better cook than me. I suspect she may not like it any better than I do though. She did once try to get out of cooking by explaining that she could not make chicken and dumplings because the recipe was a 'family secret' and she didn't want me to know the ingredients!! Gotta love that ingenuity!!

All 3 of my kids are good cooks. It had to be self-preservation since they did not learn from me. I did teach them to cook everything at 350 degrees. Why? I don't know. That just always seemed like a reasonable number to me. Brandy even asked me for 2 recipes when she moved out on her own!! Let me share them:

Chicken & gravy: Cook chicken at 350 until it's done. Pour a can of cream of chicken soup over it and stick it back in the oven....until the soup/gravy is hot.

Sausage-Cheese Balls: Buy Bisquick, sausage, shredded cheese, & milk. Drop it all off at Grandma's house. She will call you when it's done.

Jason is the one who is constantly explaining to me that "close enough" is not always good when I am trying to remember a recipe someone has sent (I do love my optimistic Facebook friends!!) that I have left at home.
David is more adventurous & willing to eat when I have made soup or stew. His response: "Ah, cleaned out the refrigerator today. Just tell me what you had leftover first."

So, while I really wish I was one of those who slave for hours over the stove.........oh, who am I kidding!!!! I will gladly purchase the food, clean the kitchen,...just ask me to do anything, but, for the good of all
DO NOT ASK ME TO COOK!!!!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

IT ALL STARTS WITH THE SCRIPT : Beyond the Farthest Star | The upcoming movie from Pathlight Entertainment

IT ALL STARTS WITH THE SCRIPT : Beyond the Farthest Star | The upcoming movie from Pathlight Entertainment

If you aren't as active on the Facebook site as I am, you may not realize there are so many different things you can explore to learn more about this amazing movie. The more I learn about the film, the more fascinated I become. I am sure that anyone who reads this finds that to be an understatement.

I first noticed the movie when I saw that a friend of mine had become a fan. Both out of curiosity of what type films this new friend liked and the title of it made me want to check it out for myself. I have always loved to stargaze, and think about what lies beyond the stars myself, so I HAD to know their thoughts.

Here is the plot as copied from the Facebook page:
'A twist of fate brings the national spotlight to a forgotten Texas town and a once famous preacher has an opportunity to regain his former glory or seize one last chance to restore his fractured family. Narrated by his fifteen-year-old daughter, we watch as Adam Wells, a minister driven by the prospect of achieving greatness as the next nationally-syndicated TV Evangelist lays down his opportunity at “celebrity” and even his own life in order to become something even greater... A loving husband and father to his wife and daughter.'

Fame vs Family was a topic I found intriguing, especially since I find it so troubling that too many do put their jobs and celebrity ahead of their family. There was also the twist of it involving a minister, and I wanted to know how this would be handled. Then, I discovered that it would also involve a controversy about the burning of a Nativity!! I love reading fiction books that involve legal issues...especially if it is a matter of separation of church and state. Once again, the writer, Andrew Librizzi, was touching on an issue I find absolutely fascinating. We also know now that part of the problem this fictional family is having involves their troubled teenaged daughter. Having been a teen, raising 3 children who tried my patience during their own teen years, and now having grandchildren who are teens, I know what turbulent years these can be. Teen depression is an issue I feel is ignored within the Christian community, so I can hardly wait to see this addressed and the methods they will use to reach out to those needing help and hope.

Between the clips and photos I have seen of the work of writer/director Andrew Librizzi; actors Renee O'Connor, Todd Terry, Cherami Leigh, Barry Corbin, Shawn Roe, and many other very talented men and women; the haunting melodies of Damon Criswell, and the enthusiastic video blogs of producer/actor Benjamin Dane, I have reminded many that "fan" is derivative of "fanatic"!! :)
But, I truly believe that once you fully investigate this fan-driven faith-based family film for yourself, you will want to become a fan yourself!! Just don't forget to sign up to Bring It to your local cinema.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Then Sings My Soul: Special Edition

Then Sings My Soul: Special Edition
The latest in a series of books related to the stories behind our favorite hymns, THEN SINGS MY SOUL: SPECIAL EDITION, is every bit as enjoyable as his previous books. Robert J. Morgan (Then Sings My Soul series, Red Sea Rules) is a favorite author of mine, so I knew I was in for a treat when I chose this book. This is not a book to just sit and read, but one that you may slowly savor.

This collection of stories about 150 Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, and All-time favorite hymns would be an excellent gift for the book lover who is also interested in music, history, or trivia. Considering that I love all three...plus books...you can be sure this is one I will often grab on those days when you just want to wrap up with a blanket, a warm beverage, and the chance to let your imagination run. This is not simply a recitation of boring facts and dates, but a satisfying glimpse into the songs that are the background of our lives.Visualizing the lives of the people, or the events that triggered the emotions expressed in these beloved hymns gives me a greater appreciation of them. Many songs I have known all of my life, but never knew the story behind are included. Now I have an even greater appreciation for these beloved hymns.

This 310 page paperback, published by Thomas Nelson:
  • Includes words and music to each hymn
  • Special, softcover, French flap cover design
  • Ivory paper with brown ink
  • Jagged edged paper, giving it a classic feel
  • Complete with hymn index
  • Use for devotionals, teaching illustrations, introductory remarks for song leaders and music ministers

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

As I Waited...

This afternoon I needed something to keep me occupied while waiting for the 'surprise' to be posted on the Beyond The Farthest Star wall, but was also looking for a way to stay away from the computer. I wandered into the kitchen, but knew it was no time to even consider attempting to cook. Those who have known me longer know that I am 'unskilled' in the kitchen. (Tonight's menu became Slightly Blackened Chicken as I attempted to answer some people on FB. I do tend to lose interest while cooking.)

While waiting on yet another pot of coffee to get ready, I happened to think about something I read on most home fires starting due to clogged dryer vents. I had just cleaned the kitchen, except for the little area where the washer and dryer are, so why not finish? How difficult could it be to clean a vent?

I pulled out the filter, and cleaned it as usual ...after getting out the clothes I had forgotten were in the dryer. I put my hand in the opening and could feel more lint. It was worse than I expected, but I had some time to work on it. I pulled out more lint and plunged my hand back into the opening.........

After a few panicked seconds of wondering how I was going to explain to the 911 operator why MY HAND was stuck in the dryer...or HOW I would call since my phone was not in my pocket... I managed to free it! Okay, so I needed to take a different approach. I still had confidence.

Next, I decided to pull the dryer away from the wall, knocking down several things on a nearby table. Those items, including a candle in a glass jar which shattered all over the floor, were merely a temporary defeat. After sweeping, I resumed the task at hand, and continued to pull the dryer out.

There I discovered all manner of things that had disappeared in recent months...including many of the socks I had unjustly accused Cody of losing. In my defense, I still have to look outside for discarded socks, shirts, jackets, etc. he has removed but not brought home! Nothing like scouring the neighborhood playground, friends yards, the roof (he has quit throwing things up there...I hope!) before doing laundry.

I had also accidentally disconnected the vent from the dryer, but that seemed like it would work in my favor. I got a clothes hanger to attempt to get out more lint. I went as far as I could from that side and then tried the same from the filter section. Since I was unable to remove more than a little, I came up with a brilliant plan to just turn the dryer on:

Now I have a pile of broken glass and other trash, socks and other assorted items which must have been left on top of the dryer at some point in time, 91 cents in change, and....a kitchen COVERED in dryer lint!!

And that is why I dislike waiting!! :)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

FOLLOW THE STAR...or, All I Want For Christmas is 10,000 fans!

Can you believe that Christmas is almost here? Where has this year gone?
In that year I have gone from mild-mannered church librarian to faith-based media zealot!! LOL
Ok, mild-mannered is perhaps a bit of an exaggeration. But, I seriously am quieter in person....frequently....well,....sometimes.  :)

However, it has been a year when God has placed Christian media on my heart as an area that needs prayer. There used to be a time when leaving a gospel tract somewhere and hoping someone would read it, or even directly handing it to a person was considered part of witnessing. But God calls us to have a relationship with Him. Should we not do the same with the others?  I believe that when talented people have something to say through music, books, or movies, Christians are handed an opportunity . It gives us an open door to share our faith with others in a relaxed manner. So, I feel compelled to pray for those He blessed with talent who share their own faith through the various media outlets. And I feel honored to be able to pray for those who are making a difference around the world.

I do have favorites; there are many I could mention. As far as music goes, I could never pinpoint one or two!! I love way too many. I could stay on youtube for the rest of my life and not tire of the wonderful music.
I also have a few favorite authors, but I must admit to being a big fan of Paul Spite. His Game Of Life series is one I have been eagerly anticipating for months. We will talk more of this soon! :)

But, as I am sure you have all guessed from the title of this, I want to talk about Beyond The Farthest Star!!
I talked about the Bring It concept the last time. It is so easy to sit around and complain about the lack of good movies in your theater, but now you can do something about it by signing up to BRING IT!!

I am making a personal appeal, though, to all of my family and friends on Facebook. Yes, even to those of y'all who seriously have no clue who I am!! :)
All I Want For Christmas is 10,000 fans on Facebook for BEYOND THE FARTHEST STAR!! (well, a 2nd request is that you also sign up to Bring It! Btw,  the Cullman, Alabama zip code is 35055....if you would prefer to have them bring it to me!! lol) So, sign up today to FOLLOW Beyond The Farthest Star  ( www.beyondthefartheststar.com/ )!! Thanks everyone!!!!!! Y'all are the greatest!!!!! :)

To LIKE on Facebook, click here

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Beyond the Farthest Star wants to Bring It ...to you!

Click here to LIKE on Facebook


A new concept in marketing is being utilized by my favorite filmmakers at Pathlight Entertainment LLC to promote their new film, BEYOND THE FARTHEST STAR. They are using the novel idea of letting the fans tell them when and where they want the movie to be released. The marketing areas who receive the most votes will be among the first to see the film!! In this short video, producer/actor Benjamin Dane explains the concept of BRING IT:
http://vimeo.com/14707291


The whole process of signing up for BRING IT only takes about a minute and you can immediately see the result of your vote. I know thoughts of being bombarded with email and spam may cause some to hesitate, but I can assure you that it will not happen. Except for an acknowledgment of receipt, and one special preview of a video exclusively for BRING IT fans, there has been no other communications. It is free and your info stays private!! The Facebook fan page is where to go to get updates, and your involvement is up to you. I think everyone should be as excited as I am, but I realize I can be a tad intense! :) 
Go to the website and check it out for yourself!!!! You will love it!!
www.beyondthefartheststar.com/

The more I learn about this incredible movie, the more I am convinced that it will have an impact on many lives. Please check it out for yourselves and get involved by both becoming a fan and praying for those involved in the making of this film. I hope everyone who reads this will LIKE this faith-based film, and sign up to BRING IT! I have provided links on here to both the website and to Facebook for everyone's convenience. Each vote really does make a difference!! Please sign up TODAY and help this film move BEYOND the ordinary into the extraordinary new heights!!


Thanks!
Cindy

PS: If you just want to BRING IT to ME.....I will gladly give anyone the zip code for Cullman!! LOL! :)
This fan-driven, faith-based film is truly a MUST-SEE for me!!!!





Saturday, October 30, 2010

Outlive Your Life

OUTLIVE YOUR LIFE, the latest of the books by Max Lucado I have read, and one I  have been most challenged by. The challenge is to take a look at my own life and ask myself if I am doing all I can to make a difference. Much of the book is based on the lives of the apostles as recorded in the book of Acts. They went from tired, discouraged men to being totally brave and filled with a passion to tell others about Jesus. Are you willing to take the extra step to let others know that Jesus loves them?

Max tells story after story of common, ordinary people who dared to make a difference. Even those who feel they have nothing material to offer, have more than they realize. There are things that each of us are capable of doing though. First of all, you may have to step out of your comfort zone. Not that you have to change your lifestyle or give away all you have, but are there people you tend to avoid? What does it cost for you to look at them, offer a genuine smile, ask how they are....and wait for an answer instead of rushing past? Learn about people who did small acts of kindness and others who made a huge impact on thousands.

As an added bonus, there are discussion questions and an action guide prepared by David Drury. This would be perfect for your small group at church or Bible study group. Not only can you talk about what you have learned, but there are plenty of suggestions for both individual and group projects. This is your opportunity to make a difference in the name of Jesus Christ. Any age group can accept the challenge to step out and step up to do more than you have ever done before. Max does live by what he teaches. 100% of his royalties of this book go to World Vision and other ministries of faith-based compassion. To learn more about this, go to www.MaxLucado.com/.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 [...] : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

All About Me

A friend of mine just posted a few minutes ago about the 3 items her daughter selected for a class project called "ALL ABOUT ME". The instructions are to choose 3 items that will let people know about you. Ava had chosen a ribbon that everyone in her gymnastics class received several years ago, a small picture of herself, and a stuffed poodle (which was the last minute replacement for her original choice of mint-flavored dental floss). I would love to be in the class when she ties these items into an explanation of who she is!! :)

Cody did the same project several years ago....either Kindergarten or 1st grade, and I was  puzzled by some of his original choices as well.  I know I used my powers of persuasion to get him to broaden his perception of himself. Plus, if I remember correctly, all 3 of his selections involved Spiderman! :) I love Spiderman myself, but I felt that there was a little more to Cody than than one dimension.
In retrospect, though, was I just trying to push my ideas on who he is rather than letting him tell about himself in his own way? Hmmm. What does that say about me?

Reading Ava's choices caused me to reflect upon what 3 things I would select that tells others about me. Would I choose 3 things that tell who I want to be...or would I choose 3 that tell who I really am? Is what I say is my main focus what I really am actually focused on? It is so easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of doing that one loses focus on important things.

Paul sums it up so well in Romans 7:21-25~
" I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.  Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?  Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin."

I thank God daily for His grace, mercy, and forgiveness. Also, for the prompting of the Holy Spirit who gives me these little nudges...and sometimes a HUGE nudge...to reflect upon if my words and actions are in sync. Tonight it was the reading of a cute anecdote that made me go from a humorous "what would I choose?"  (and a few things immediately popped into my mind over how I spend my time.) to a serious reflection of "what would I choose?" that sums up the woman I want to be. Perhaps it is once again time to do a little tweaking of my lifestyle. I want to be the woman God sees and says I will be. I may never get to where I would like to be on my spiritual journey, but at the end of my life....well, it is best said by the author of "Amazing Grace":

My memory is nearly gone;
but I remember two things;
That I am a great sinner, and
that Christ is a great Saviour.
John Newton (1725-1807)
English minister and hymn writer


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqJsBRFdrA0

Thursday, October 21, 2010

RUST

Jimmy Moore (Corbin Bernsen), a former minister, returns to his childhood  home. While some things never seem to change in the town of Kipling, some are vastly different from the town he remembers. Jimmy's best friend, Travis (Lloyd Warner), is now in a psychiatric prison after confessing to setting a fire that resulted in the deaths of an entire family. Everyone else in town accepts that Travis is responsible, but Jimmy doesn't believe it. Not only does Jimmy search for clues to clear Travis, but this is also a search for his own faith.

Corbin Bernsen, who wrote, directed, and stars in this film says that this is his most personal project. After the death of his father, Harry Bernsen, Corbin began to search for his own faith. RUST was filmed in Kipling, Saskatchewan and many of the roles in the film are portrayed by local residents. The acting is definitely amateurish, but I enjoyed watching the film. This is an uplifting film on faith, family, and community. A very strong message on friendship, trust, family, faith, and sacrifice is revealed throughout the story.

Rust

Runs about 95 minutes. Subtitles in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin, Korean, & Thai. There are also several bonus features. Rated PG.

If you are interested in having a copy of your own, leave a comment. I will be randomly selecting a winner from those who have commented no later than 10pm (CDT), Sun. Oct. 24th. Thanks!!

Click here to Like on facebook


   “Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Gospel According To Jesus by Chris Seay

Book Description

True Christianity is about restoring what is broken. The majority of Christians don't truly understand the true meaning of the word righteousness. Many believe it to be more about our behavior or attempts to abstain from sin.  Pastor Chris Seay (Ecclesia Bible Society) says that Jesus came to bring light into darkness.
True Christianity does not focus as much on the 'What Not To Do' as it does on how Jesus would treat others. God offers restoration to those who are broken and hurting and personal spiritual transformation for those who follow Christ.

Jesus met people where they are rather than demanding they clean up their act first. Actually, he was much harsher on those considered to be the religious or successful. He certainly did not shy away from the ones who were considered to lower rung of society.

Chris Seay, in this thought-provoking book calls upon each of us to consider our actions and reactions. Do we make an effort to treat others as Jesus sees them. He reached out to those who were most in need of a Savior. He brought a redeeming gospel of restoration that our world desperately needs.

Sprinkled with prayers, statistics, insights from some of his distinguished contemporaries, and some compelling drawings, this is a book that that I recommend to all who are trying to follow the rules rather than reach out to others. This definitely preaches the message that we are to act and serve rather than react with revulsion toward those we perceive to be different. If you want to know about transforming lives...including your own...and restoration, then The Gospel According To Jesus is a must-read.


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       services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it
       on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally
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       with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the
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THE WAY HOME



The Way Home is the inspiring, factual story of how both a family and a community were pulled together to search for a missing 2 year old boy. Randy Simpkins (Dean Cain, "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures Of Superman") loves his family, but lets all of the distractions of his job become his focus. While preparing for a family vacation, Christal (Lori Beth Edgeman) asks Randy to put their youngest child in the van while she does a final check before they leave. However, during the few minutes Randy checks email first, Joe disappears.

Expecting to find him nearby playing, the minutes turn to panic as the search continues. Prayer chains are activated, and enormous numbers of people, along with local and state agencies, show up to support the family and to find the missing child. Due to the realization that he may never see his child again, combined with the guilt of Joe disappearing while he was supposed to be watching him, Dean cries out to God. This is a powerful story of forgiving oneself and realizing what is truly important. Those who enjoy an uplifting story of faith and family are sure to appreciate this film.

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 “Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or
 services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, October 7, 2010

UPSIDE

 Solomon "Soli" White seems to have all a high school senior could want. He has his material needs met, is popular, and has several colleges eager to give him a scholarship based on his skills as a lacrosse player. However, a devastating injury during a game has Soli literally looking a things from an entirely different angle. An injury to his brain causes him to suffer vertigo and upside down vision. At a meeting for those with visual impairments, Soli meets Wren. She is a committed believer who has been blind since birth. As their feelings for one another grow, they teach one another to examine their lives from other perspectives. Wren, a teacher who has discovered Soli's creative and profound ability to express himself, and a writing mentor who has had to struggle to recover from personal losses all 3 help guide Soli as he explores this new world. When you literally can't believe what you are seeing, you have no choice but to find out for yourself what is true.



This is an inspiring film that causes the viewer to consider if it is time to look at things from a fresh angle. When life turns UPSIDE down for you, will you know what is important? This is a very interesting movie! There is one scene that would cause many to scoff, but is not totally out of the realm of possibility. There are moments of humor that add an absolutely delightful touch. I believe the film is enjoyable for preteens and up. And, it definitely can lead to discussions on how life can be unfair, and turned upside down, but there is always hope.

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“Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Bringing Up Bobby

BRINGING UP BOBBY is one of the more unique faith-based films I have seen and I found it to be an absolutely refreshing change of pace.

Meet the Wylers-a family unlike any other, and way too much like your own! For a dozen years, James has served as both big brother and surrogate parent, trusting God for help in raising his three siblings - and hoping for a date some day! Andrea is hoping for more than her fair share. Dennis (make that The Dennis) just needs enough to keep the anarchists at bay (don't ask). And nothing would please Bobby more than just to impress Liz, the new girl in school. Mix in a hidden stash of cash, an attractive lawyer, and the infamous War Table, and you have a quirky story about family, faith, and friendship. (from IMDb) These 3 brothers and one sister are each unique and bring a fresh perspective into the family. Bobby is the one who is still trying to discover who he is and the search is both funny and intriguing.

The strong faith-based message is  presented as James, the oldest, challenges Bobby to discover for himself what he truly believes to be Truth and his own relationship with Jesus. The most astonishing thing about this film to me is how topics such as faith, family, friendship, neglect, addictions, greed, relationships, etc. are all handled in a manner that is not only  poignant and truthful, but absolutely hilarious! The first time I saw it, I was a bit puzzled by it but the characters and story did keep my attention. I loved it when I watched it again. (Some people like no prior knowledge of a film; I rarely enjoy a film the first viewing unless I have a lot of details.) The bottom line is that the Wyler family and their friends are people you will love meeting and you definitely will not forget them!

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 “Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Mysterious Islands


The Mysterious Islands is without a doubt one of the most beautifully photographed and informative documentaries I have ever seen. I admit it was with a bit of trepidation that I sat down to watch (not always a doc fan), but I was quickly captivated by the beautiful scenery and the fascinating animals. In no time I was just as quickly engrossed by the insightful dialogue as well-respected researchers gave their reasons for choosing the Biblical account of creation over the theory of evolution.

Filmed in the Galapagos Islands, the "birthplace" of Darwinism, the stunning scenery and the varieties of animals is simply amazing. This is one dvd that I believe will be a hit with every member of the family. Even those too young to listen to the dialogue for long will love watching the activities of the birds, mammals, and reptiles. I think this is a Must-Have for your personal library, whether you are home-schooling or simply want for your child to have a understanding of creationism. There are also several bonus features that only add to the enjoyment of this film, and I must admit the 90 minutes of the main feature kept my rapt attention.



  “Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”