Friday, October 28, 2011

Film, Faith, & Fathers

The recently released film, Courageous , had a very strong message about the importance of being a father. I am one of many who applauds the efforts to redirect what has become an alarming trend in media in recent years to portray all dads as clueless, goofy, figureheads. They are loved, but the disrespect is obvious. Of course, that is if there is a father anywhere around. Watch this Courageous trailer.

Aren't these the kinds of films we need? I was blessed to have my dad  in my life. I know that there are way too many kids (including my own) who did not have that advantage. We have become a culture that is more influenced by television and films than ever before. I think it is sad, but it means we should be even more aware of what we and our kids watch. Since some kids do not have a male role model in their lives, who do you want them to emulate? I know I want my grandkids (& my adult kids) to see men who love God, their wives, their children, & their communities.....even if it is in a movie.

I definitely encourage everyone to go see Courageous, but here are a few others I hope you will support:

1. Beyond The Farthest Star: 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. (Pathlight Entertainment)
Renee O'Connor & Todd Terry
Directed by
Andrew Librizzi
Screenplay by
Andrew Librizzi
Produced by
Benjamin Dane, Sally Helppie
   Click to view audience reaction at test screening.
Also check out the Beyond The Farthest Star website/.

2. Hardflip: With no father in his life to guide him, & his mother working 2 jobs, Caleb believes nothing matters in life but skateboarding. When his mother falls ill, Caleb is forced to deal with her illness and sets out to find the father he never knew. (Skipstone Pictures)
Randy Wayne, John Schneider, Rosanna Arquette, Christopher Michael, Sean Michael Afable, Louise Griffiths, Sean Michael Afable, Matt Ziff
Directed by
Johnny Remo
Written By
Johnny Remo and Dan Backman
Produced by
Johnny Remo

    Hardflip website

3. Broken Faith: A ex-special ops kidnaps his estranged daughter from police custody; but when a corrupt ATF agent tries to kill them both he must learn to trust in God’s guidance to reconcile with his daughter and bring down the rogue agent’s billion dollar weapons smuggling operation. (A 102 Studios)

Michael Joiner, Vanessa Ore & Rodney Wiseman
Directed by
Danny Rogers & Ricki Holmes
Written By
Frank Foster & Barbara Snellgrove
Screenplay by
Ricki Holmes
Produced by
David Vercruysse, Don Snellgrove & Sarah Kessinger
   Broken Faith website

4. Hero: The desperate need for men to return to God’s calling; that they be fathers to their sons. (Advent Film Group)
Directed by
Manny Edwards
Screenplay by
Manny Edwards, George Escobar, and Burgess Jenkins
Produced by
Manny Edwards, George Escobar, Burgess Jenkins, and Michael Snyder
   Hero website

5. The Father Effect Movie: A documentary whose mission is to awaken fathers to a real understanding of the significant impact that they have on their children. (John Finch)
   Father Effect trailer
    Check out the videos and other info at

I am sure there are many more coming out. I also encourage you to check out some that are already on DVD such as Cutback, A Letter To Dad, The Grace Card, & Standing Firm. If you know of others, please let me know. After all, we can't support them, if we don't know about them! :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Brittany Hargest

Brittany Hargest  is a singer and dancer best known for being a member of the Christian/pop group Jump5. Her first solo album, titled
her first solo album titled 'Love All The Way', was released on 9/27. The songs are a very high energy that is sure to please all of her fans, plus have the added bonus of directing the listener to God. Her faith shines brightly in this upbeat collection. Many of the songs deal with our own imperfections, failures, and self-image...and how God loves us anyway and can together the broken pieces and use us. This is definitely an album that focuses on hope, redemption, and faith that will lift the spirit after a tough day and remind one that Jesus is always available for us to call on, restore us, and love us.

Make sure you check out Brittany on the following sites:

Also, here is a video on the making of Love All The Way:

GIVEAWAY!!: If you would like to have a chance win your very own copy of Brittany Hargest's Love All The Way cd, all you have to is comment [on the blog is best] so I can enter your name in my random drawing!! Comments must be made no later than Thurs., Oct. 27th, 2011 (by 10:00 pm CDT). Thanks!!

"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 18, 2011

Night Of The Living Dead Christian

Night Of The Living Dead Christian by Matt Mikalatos is the story of Luther, a werewolf, who teams with Matt in a search to conquer the beast that is destroying himself and his marriage. Aided by a mad scientist, a robot, and a vampire, they battle zombies and Borut (the werewolf hunter) as Luther desperately seeks help. They set out to find help and to separate truth from myth. Can anyone become truly transformed? How?

This allegory of spiritual transformation had me laughing out loud and pondering the truth of what type monster I am battling within myself. Am I a mindless zombie that is only partially alive and following a code of morals rather than a growing relationship with Christ? Or, do I have a robotic tendency to put the facts over emotions? Is there a vampire or werewolf that breaks free? This is a book that goes over and beyond in providing food for thought and pure fun!! :)

Matt's Blog
Follow Matt on Twitter
Matt's Facebook Fanpage

Matt is also the author of Imaginary Jesus and has published articles in Discipleship Journal, The Wittenburg Door, Relief, and Coach's Midnight Diner. Matt and his wife live near Portland, Oregon. They have three beautiful daughters.

In compliance with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission: Tyndale House Publishers did provide me with a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to give a positive review, and all opinions are my own.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Mighty Macs

It's 1971. Cathy Rush is a woman ahead of her time ... and she's about to embark on an adventure for the ages. A new era is dawning in the country and in collegiate athletics, where a national champion will be crowned for the first time in women's basketball. As the coach of tiny Immaculata College, Cathy’s challenges are as imposing as the big-school teams her Macs will face. While it appears they don’t have a prayer, all hope is not lost. Will this pioneer buck cultural norms and spur her rag-tag team to unexpected heights? Or will her hard-driving ways create a wedge between the coach and everyone around her? (press release)

The Mighty Macs is a family-friendly film that is based on an actual event. I was given the opportunity to view this film in advance, and I have to admit that it did not live up to my hopes. Since I don't know which events were fictionalized and which are facts, I won't concentrate on many of the scenes that I thought too trite. There was one scene with nuns that made me think of Sister Act. I felt that I was seeing archetypes of nuns and students rather than people I could develop an interest in as individuals. I simply could not connect with these characters enough to care about their stories. (There was also a brief scene with the 2 coaches drinking beer and being hit on by a patron. It was a little humorous, but also had a  touch of innuendo spoken that might make a parent cringe if watching with a child.)

On a positive note, there was no nudity, violence, or bad language. It also was very true to the era. I was a teen during this time, and it is a reminder of the positive strides women have made in both the workforce and in athletics. I like that it is an honest look at that time in our history without any efforts to sugarcoat or rewrite events. For sports fans or for those who want to support films that are wholesome, uplifting, family and faith friendly, this is a good film to see. If I were grading it, I would give it a C.


THE MIGHTY MACS stars Carla Gugino as Cathy Rush; David Boreanaz as her husband, NBA referee Ed Rush; Marley Shelton as Sister Sunday; and Academy Award and Tony Award winner Ellen Burstyn as Mother St. John. The film was written, directed, and produced by Tim Chambers. The film's executive producers are Pat Croce, the former president of the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers, and Vince Curran, a successful businessman and former basketball star at Penn. Curran and Chambers are founders and partners of Quaker Media.

I was provided an opportunity to review this film in hopes that I would mention in on my blog, and was not required to give it a good review. All opinions are strictly my own.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Cooper And Me

Cooper and Me is about a young girl who is nervous about her first day of school. Her parents tell her all of the great things about school, but she really wants her dog Cooper to come along so she won't be quite so scared. Her mother comes up with a way to help the little girl calm her fears – a small replica of Cooper. This is a charming story that young children can relate to, as well as offering suggestions to parents about ways to ease a child's fears of being away from home. I love the page reserved for the child's impression of the first day of school. Plus there is a convenient discussion guide that not only reenforces remembering key story points, but also provides an optimal avenues of conversation between parent and child.

Cooper and Me is illustrated by 11-year-old Alexa Peters and co-written with her mother, Monique Peters.  The idea was inspired by Alexa's own experiences on her first day of school.  A talented young artist and writer, Alexa wanted to give back to others in a meaningful way through her art, and there is a very interesting story behind the reason for publishing this book:
 In addition to helping young children gain emotional resilience and confidence through their books, Alexa and mom Monique wanted to go beyond that to help less fortunate kids.  Their search for an organization to which they could donate a portion of the proceeds from the Cooper and Me book led to a charitable alliance with the Happy Hearts Fund, founded and run by Petra Nemcova, the supermodel who was directly affected by the tsunami in Thailand. Happy Hearts improves children’s lives through education and sustainable programs in natural disaster areas. (from the press release)
Please check out the Website:
GIVEAWAY: If you would like to have a copy of Cooper And Me, please enter the free drawing by leaving a comment no later than 11:59pm (CDT), Friday, October 14th. Thanks!

"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 6, 2011

The Christian Zombie Killers Handbook

The Christian Zombie Killers Handbook: Slaying The Living Dead Within by Jeff Kinley caught my eye as a different type book to read. I must admit that I don't recall reading one quite like this. This book is a combination of both fiction and nonfiction that is meant to tie together.

The fiction part tells the story of Ben Forman who has a new job at a magazine about extreme skateboarding. The story tells of his relationship with his family, co-workers, girlfriend and the growing epidemic of zombies attacking throughout the world. These zombie attacks have grown steadily through-out the world, and their presence into his small Southern hometown has also intensified.

The nonfiction portion deal with issues of sin, salvation, and grace. They were well presented in a manner that I found to be relevant and quite easy to grasp. The examples given were presented in a comparison form that makes sense to everyone. For me, this was the superior portion of the book.

I don't know exactly what I expected as I read this book, and have mixed views on it. Without a doubt both sections were well written, but I felt like I was reading two books. While I am in the habit of reading more than one book at a time, this one should have dovetailed in a manner that did not quite work for me. To be completely fair, my zombie knowledge is not what it probably should be. Others who are fans of graphic novels and the zombie fad that is apparently prevalent today may immediately latch onto the concepts presented. I caught glimpses of the connection between the fiction and nonfiction, but not enough for one of those "Aha!" lightbulb moments. Sometimes when you have 2 good things and mix them together (chocolate and peanut butter, for example), it is a delightful treat. However, someone once gave me something that was made of chocolate and mashed potatoes: I love both foods, but did not find the combo pleasing to my palate. So, while this book was two treats that did not quite work together for me, it may be perfect for another.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their <> 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

Monday, October 3, 2011

Domestic Violence Awareness

October is  Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but it is also DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS Month.

Violence can be criminal and includes physical assault (hitting, pushing, shoving, etc.), sexual abuse (unwanted or forced sexual activity), and stalking. Although emotional, psychological and financial abuse are not criminal behaviors, they are forms of abuse and can lead to criminal violence.

Examples of abuse include:
  • name-calling or putdowns
  • keeping a partner from contacting their family or friends
  • withholding money
  • stopping a partner from getting or keeping a job
  • actual or threatened physical harm
  • sexual assault
  • stalking
  • intimidation

ANYONE CAN BE A VICTIM! Victims can be of any age, sex, race, culture, religion, education, employment or marital status. Although both men and women can be abused, most victims are women. Children in homes where there is domestic violence are more likely to be abused and/or neglected. Most children in these homes know about the violence. Even if a child is not physically harmed, they may have emotional and behavior problems.

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or TTY 1-800-787-3224.
Take affirmative action and make a plan for what you need to have and do. Follow th4e steps laid out in this SAFETY PLAN.
If you are being abused, please contact the hotline!!
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or
TTY 1-800-787-3224.

If you are in danger, please call 911

Domestic Violence Awareness Video:

  1. You are not alone!
  2. It is NOT your fault!
  3. Help IS available!