Monday, March 28, 2016

Reflections on Lent

A photo I took on a walking trail at work last year.

First of all, I hope you all had a very blessed and peaceful Easter.

Until this year, I have never actually given something up for Lent. For the uninformed (which was myself until this year), Lent is the period of time that lasts 46 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. My family, while people of strong faith, never really went into all of that traditional, liturgical type of stuff in our worship. But since I've been working at a faith-based non-profit, a lot of my coworkers participate in these types of expressions of faith. I now know a couple of people who participate in Lent and their decision gave me pause. I prayed for a couple of days, asking the Lord if my instinctual desire to give up this one thing was from Him. It turns out that it was, and so I did, although I did start a few days late. I didn't want to share about it until the period of Lent was actually finished since it's supposed to be something between me and the Lord, but now that Lent is over (starting tomorrow), I think it is time to share. So here are my musings on whether my giving up this one thing had a positive impact on my relationship with Christ or not and on myself or not. You can be the judge. 😊

The first question you're probably asking is what did I give up? I'm not one to give up food because if I do that my blood sugar gets so low that my moods are in constant, nasty flux. I wasn't going to subject my poor family to more mood swings than they already tolerate. Plus, I didn't feel God leading in that direction.

So instead I gave up something that I've been contemplating for some time . . . secular music.

Not that I really listen to a lot of secular music, but I do love classic pop and classic rock from the 50s and 60s. And I love musicals, which also fall into the secular music category. So I was giving up something that I do love and listen to regularly. Although I did excuse music in movies and television. I wasn't seeking it out on purpose, but I wasn't being called to give up movies and tv so if a secular song was in there, oh well. Anyway, I noticed a couple of things happening during this period of Lent.


I went through phases.

Like, the beginning of Lent it was exciting to listen to just praise and worship. Sure, I also listened to some pretty awesome 80s Christian music as well, but it was all Christian. And it moved me in a very genuine way and I experienced a couple of encounters with Jesus while listening to certain songs. They moved me in a very real way.

Then, about halfway through Lent, I started getting bored. No Josh Groban. No Bobby Darin. No Michael Buble. No Phantom of the Opera. The best I could so as an alternative was a bit of classical music. So, the worship and praise that I had adored only a few days before now felt a little stale. I experienced an entire day where none of the songs felt genuine. All of them felt utterly and completely fake, and that wasn't something I was expecting. That, my friends, was an interesting little gift from the Evil one to mess with my mind that day.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Why is an ISFJ mad at me?

What ISFJ buttons have you been pushing, either deliberately or accidentally? What inviolable tradition or belief did you trample into the dirt? How did you disrespect something they hold very near and dear? Did you challenge their authority in front of others? Did you ignore, overlook, or mock an idea they had? Did you criticize in a way that could be construed as cruel or harsh? Were you mean-spirited about a friend or a loved one? Trust me, in my case, you do NOT want to denounce my sister. Just don't.

ISFJs are very compassionate people. We have a great deal of love to give those around us, but if we're mad at you, it means you affronted us in some way. And we will act out, usually by avoiding contact with you because we're not entirely sure what to say or how to say it so we don't end up hurting you, even though we're well and truly steamed.

If you think something is wrong with the relationship, pursue answers. Prepare yourself for emotional turmoil during the conversation and potentially some tears depending on what happened. If you did something that was beyond your control, I guarantee you that your ISFJ will understand if you explain it to them.

As an example of a "beyond your control" scenario, a friend of mine was able to attend a Sherlock Holmes exhibit and she went without me. I was hurt, annoyed, and avoided her for a few weeks. Then we talked it out and I learned she had been given a ticket as a Christmas gift to attend with another friend of hers! I felt absolutely mortified that I'd so misjudged her and the situation and apologized for my behavior. It didn't even matter anymore that I didn't have a chance to attend the exhibit because I suddenly had context for the scenario.

The above is a great example of how ISFJs make emotional, feeler driven mistakes and then have to apologize. Fortunately, we're very open to acknowledging when we've misjudged someone.

However, if you wronged your ISFJ deliberately, well, I don't know what to tell you. They're mad for a reason and that reason is justified. You may have to just apologize and make amends however you can, but there will likely be trust issues for a long while until you've proven yourself trustworthy again.

I hope this was helpful to anyone wanting insight into the ISFJ psyche. ❤

Monday, March 21, 2016

How do we treat people? . . . Lessons Learned from The Imitation Game (2014)

 Written for the Period Drama Challenge hosted by Laurie over at Old-Fashioned Charm. ❤

The Imitation Game (2014, PG13)
starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Allen Leech, Charles Dance and more

I just got back into town after a long and rather fun-filled visit with my friend, Charity. We share a lot in common moviewise and what we don't have in common we don't really mind because it's also good to be different. She makes me think and there are times when I make her think. This last visit we watched quite a few different films, some for silliness' sake and others because of moral ambiguity, something that intrigues us both. The latter type of film spawns all sorts of intellectual discussion which I don't get nearly enough of considering my 2nd strength on StrengthsFinder is Intellection.

So, we watched The Imitation Game starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley.

Do you know anything about the 1940s and 1950s in England? Homosexual relationships, up until The Sexual Offences Act 1967 passed by Parliament, were illegal in England. If you were caught, you were arrested, put on trial, and imprisoned. I'm sure if you know anything about Oscar Wilde than you're aware of how England's laws worked.

This brings me back to The Imitation Game. Alan Turing was a genius mathematician in the UK during WWII. Thanks to him, England was able to crack the Enigma machine which the Nazis used to send instructions to their military units. Estimates are that because of his machine, which he named Christopher, the war was shortened by at least 2 years. In the film, he is socially awkward with a bit of Asperger's Syndrome keeping him from making very many emotional connections. He is also a homosexual.

Nothing is ever explicitly shown in this film because Alan is first and foremost the man who cracked Enigma and homosexuality is merely one facet of a very complex and brilliant man. The movie tells his complete story, not just one part of it, which is why it didn't need to engage in sexual scenes or anything remotely along those lines. But you know what he is, and you know that, while not ashamed of what he is, he still realizes that his sexual life is an abhorrence to the society he lives in. And not just an abhorrence, but highly illegal.

After the credits rolled, I sat in silence for a few moments, thoughts roiling around in my head, but the foremost thought I had was how sad Alan's life was. Not because he was homosexual, but because the treatment by other people left no room for love or compassion. Alan had no alternative, no place to go, no one to help him, and the law was against him when he was finally found out after the war. It didn't matter that he had served his country in such a monumental way. In fact, his role in WWII was classified for a very long time.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

2016 Christian Theatrical Releases: Part 1

Now, if you're anything like me, you have no idea when Christian films are coming to a theater near you. Literally you have to be sitting in a Christian movie before it starts, watching the trailers, to figure out what's coming next. So in an effort to keep everyone informed so we can support these film-makers when their movies hit theaters, here's a small smattering of currently-in-theater and upcoming movies, some with surprisingly big-name stars as I think you'll find. The best thing about this is, as I go to see these movies, I'll see MORE trailers for other Christian movies coming out later this year and can post about those! Yay!

If you're interested in any or all of these movies, I encourage you to go opening night, if possible, or definitely opening weekend. That first weekend really is crucial to a movie's success, and definitely crucial for Christian film. I saw Risen twice on opening weekend and dragged family and friends with me both times. It was awesome!

One thing I promised God this year is that I would make much more of an effort to see Christian films in the theater. Honestly, I've been really bad and lazy about that in the past and there's no excuse for it. I started with Risen and hope to see all 4 of these other movies too. Will you join me? ❤

RISEN (2016, PG13)
(in theaters now, showtimes at Fandango)

As you already know, Risen is in theaters right now and hasn't had a half-bad run. I loved it, which my blog post HERE pretty much shouts to the world. It's always a good sign when I cry in a movie for all the right reasons. It stars Joseph Fiennes, Tom Felton, and Peter Firth, all fairly major name British actors and is AMAZING. If you haven't see it, GO.

The Young Messiah (2016, PG13)
(in theaters March 11th 2016, showtimes at Fandango)

Now this one I think has terrific potential. I haven't seen it yet, obviously since it hits theaters this weekend, but Sean Bean looks promising and I really don't think you often see stories about a young Jesus. I'm not sure about the little boy they cast as Jesus, but hey, child actors often surprise me with the depth of talent and emotional range they can possess. What a great film to try and see with your family before Easter!

Miracles from Heaven (2016, PG)
(in theaters March 16th 2016, showtimes at Fandango

Now this trailer I've seen 3 times now and am moved by it every single time. This is a remarkable story because it's true and you can choose to either believer it or not, but I know miracles exist and so I get shivers every time I watch this trailer. Plus, having big names like Jennifer Garner and Queen Latifah doesn't hurt either. I think this one will be an amazing release and well worth seeing.

God's Not Dead 2 (2016, PG)
(in theaters April 1st 2016, showtimes at Fandango)

Okay, so a friend of mine attended a special pre-showing of God's Not Dead 2 and was blown away by it, literally blown away. I confess that I haven't seen God's Not Dead, but the sequel looks amazing and with my friend's praise behind it, plus the quality of the trailer, well, I'm very encouraged. Do you recognize good old Ray Wise from Agent Carter? Plus, who DOESN'T love the Newsboys? Come on, that is an amazing song and speaks such truth!

Union Bound (2016, PG)
(in theaters limited release on April 22nd 2016, showtimes at Fandango)

Now this one I only know about because of a poster on the bulletin board at work (one of the perks of working at a Christian non-profit!). I'm more interested in the story synopsis which reads "The amazing true story of Joseph Hoover, a Union Soldier who was captured and then aided by slaves and finds freedom" than I am in the trailer to be honest. But I am intrigued and hope there will be some showtimes in at least one of my local theaters.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Yikes! a.k.a. that moment of panic!

You know that moment of panic when you've misplaced a beloved something or other and literally have NO IDEA where you put it!? That was me last night, hunting high and low for my copy of Frank Langella's The Mark of Zorro which is only bootlegged because it hasn't been released officially on DVD. The DVD people are waaaaaaay behind the times where Langella is concerned.

But, I found it after 30 minutes of digging through the boxes where I keep my empty DVD cases (found the case EMPTY). I was so hoping I'd left the disc in the case by accident. But it wasn't there, so then Caitlin helped me flip through every single disc in my collection and we FINALLY found it, under miscellaneous because apparently I didn't know where else to put it. ARGH!

So, found Zorro and got it watched last night with my mom and Caitlin and felt all my happy little fangirl feels. Which I will, of course, blog about, but not quiiiiiiiiite yet, and there's a reason why.

Because my Frank Langella Blogathon is coming up in a little over 2 months, running from May 16th - 22nd!

If you're interested in participating, I'd love to have you! There's a long list of his movies on the above link and you can sign up for a blog post there!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016



Yes, the Star Wars post has mysteriously vanished! Of course, nothing vanishes entirely when you're dealing with the internet, but oh well, this is as good as it gets.

To be quite honest with everyone, my opinion matters very little on such topics and there is much wisdom in James 1:19-20 where it is written, "everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God."

You may not have noticed this before, but I'm still learning. I'm still extremely young and have extremely virulent and explosive passions when it comes to things that go against my personal belief system. But I am not always called to speak. In fact, most of the time I'm likely called to be silent, especially if my speaking may mar my testimony. And pretty much no part of my Star Wars post met the criteria listed above (except for T), criteria I find very convicting in its truthfulness.

So, if I managed to offend any of my readers, I apologize. Not for my opinions, which are mine to hold, but for voicing them in a way that did not uplift my readers or achieve the righteousness of God. Not everything I think or feel needs to be shared, and so I will attempt to never engage in political talk again on this blog. I will engage in faith-based talk when the need arises, but that's another matter entirely.

They say we learn by our mistakes. Here is yet another in a long line of mistakes that I must learn from. I certainly hope all of my readers know that I'm not perfect. If you didn't know it before, you know it now, and that's why I'm acknowledging my imperfections to all of you, apologizing, and asking for your forgiveness. May we look ahead to a bright future of blogging together that will likely include many, many, many more introspective and film-related posts that focus on the positive instead of the negative and hopefully leave politics out of it! ❤

Monday, March 7, 2016

Is Sherlock an introvert?

How do you tell an introvert from an extrovert? It has nothing to do with how socially comfortable you are, it really doesn't. How do you recharge? If you recharge by being around people, then you're an extrovert. If you recharge by spending time alone . . .introvert. It's really that simple.

In that same vein, how does Sherlock recharge? Where does he get his juice, his pep, his vim and vigor? Let's be honest, the temptation, and I succumbed to this myself a few years ago, is to assume that he's an introvert because he spends so much time alone. But what does his alone time accomplish? It accomplishes boredom on a massive level that sinks into depression at suicidal rates! Do not let that man spend too much time alone is your take-away lesson for this evening.

So, Sherlock in Sherlock is actually an EXTROVERT. Which sort of amazes me since Holmes in the canon is an introvert. But he's not the first extroverted version of Sherlock Holmes, so hey, it works. Sherlock requires people, gains his energy from people even if it means sniping at them, and when he isn't around people, he's lethargic and broody. Simple analysis, end of story . . . extrovert.

But I'm not about to guess what personality type on MBTI he actually is because he embodies several different types. Go figure. Must be that high-functioning sociopath coming through again.

Purity at the Heart of Things (When Calls the Heart)

 Written for the Period Drama Challenge hosted by Laurie over at Old-Fashioned Charm.

What happened to purity? What happened to shows like Touched by an Angel, Little House on the Prairie, The Waltons, and a myriad of other family-friendly shows that used to fill night-time viewing hours? Even Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman had a fairly wholesome atmosphere, despite the steam rising between Dr. Mike and Sully.

Ads for tv programs like Quantico, How to Get Away with Murder, and Scandal run rampant every time I turn on the tv, it seems. And every time I see an ad for the next episode of almost any show, one thing is always the same . . . sex. ALWAYS. It doesn't matter what show we're talking about or what episode it is. Even Castle, a show I used to love, has its fair share of sex scenes. There might not be outright nudity, but it's close enough and definitely enough that your imagination can fill in any blanks.

This is television as we know it today.

Except for one small, shining light, a beacon of hope known as When Calls the Heart.

Lori Loughlin as Abigail Stanton, Erin Krakow as Elizabeth Thatcher, and Daniel Lissing as Jack Thornton

Have you heard of it? I should hope so because the name is getting out there! Yes, it runs on the Hallmark channel, but don't just dismiss it because you don't watch Hallmark. I've heard people won't watch WCTH just because of that fact, which means you're really missing out on a show that almost makes me believe we could someday have family television back again.

I'm throwing this in now so I don't forget . . . When Calls the Heart runs on Hallmark on Sundays at 8/7!

It is set in 1910, right smack dab in the middle of the Edwardian era. Young Elizabeth Thatcher, wealthy socialite decides it is her calling to become a teacher in a small town known as Coal Valley, deep in the heart of western Canada. She wants her life to make a difference, but she never imagined that she would fall so deeply in love with the people of Coal Valley. And that she would find such a dear friend in Abigail Stanton who lost her husband and son in a recent coal mining disaster. Or that the flicker of possibility might burn when she meets the local constable, Mountie Jack Thornton. In Coal Valley, she finds a home.

Kavan Smith as Lee Coulter (SIGHS) and Pascale Hutton as Rosemary LeVeaux

And as time progresses, Elizabeth realizes just how much she needs Coal Valley. The second season finds the series in a turn-around, with the coal mine closing down and a charming businessman named Lee Coulter deciding he wants to set up housekeeping and build a sawmill, taking influential power from Henry Gowan who had run the coal mine and risked the lives of his miners. An old flame from Jack Thornton's life, Rosemary LeVeaux even makes an entrance, trying to snatch Jack's heart from Elizabeth, only to find herself possibly falling for Lee instead, a much better match for such a determined and forthright woman. And now the town, once known as Coal Valley, is Hope Valley, a much better name and so well-suited to the group of people determined to thrive and care for each other.

Mark Humphrey as Frank Hogan and Lori Loughlin as Abigail Stanton (❤ them so much!)
The third season has just gotten under way, heading into a redemption arc when the rumor mill starts grinding about the past of Hope Valley's pastor, Frank Hogan, a diamond in the rough who arrived in Hope Valley in the 2nd season. Abigail Stanton, after a distrustful relationship with Bill Avery of the mounted police, has just begun trusting again and finds her interest in Frank to be more than platonic. Now she decides if she is willing to stand by him and trust his story or step aside and let the chips fall where they may. And Rosemary, a woman accustomed to getting what she wants, is discovering that what she wants is Lee, more than she ever imagined possible.

One of the best things about When Calls the Heart is that Jack and Elizabeth do not carry the whole story on their own. This show is reminiscent of Road to Avonlea where you had so many delightful characters who you loved in their own right. Each one was individualistic and special, adding to the story in a meaningful way, growing the society through their presence. It is the same with When Calls the Heart. I love Lee and Rosemary so much this season that it makes my heart hurt. And watching Frank and Abigail together, feeling their way along, is so beautiful. Jack and Elizabeth are precious because they have the issue of their different upbringings to work through and you just cheer for them so hard, wanting desperately for their relationship to be a success.

Daniel Lissing as Jack Thornton and Erin Krakow as Elizabeth Thatcher (ADORABLE)
And all of this is accomplished without sex. You never have to worry when you sit down to watch an episode of When Calls the Heart what you might see. You never have to hide the eyes of your little ones or cover their ears. This show is wholesome, family-friendly goodness in every respect. I will say that the second season did deviate from the established norm of the show, putting Elizabeth back in her home town of Hamilton and trying to contend with Downton Abbey in style and flair, but the 3rd season is a return to Hope Valley, to the people and places that I grew to love in the first season. The season that won my heart.

If you're like me, tired of tv programs dragging down your purity, give When Calls the Heart a try! If we, as a society, as a family of believers, want quality television programming for the family, then we have to do our part by watching what's out there. When Calls the Heart fills a little hole in my spirit that I didn't even realize was there until one of my dearest friends, Lynn, introduced me to Hope Valley and all of its delightful inhabitants.

And let me whisper a little secret in your ear. There's a Facebook Group called Fans of Hallmark's When Calls the Heart. Oh my gosh, this group is amazing! If you give the show a try and like it then I encourage to take your love a step further.

Become a Heartie!

Because that's what we're called, Hearties, and this group is a total and complete GODthing! We are now over 32,000 strong and that's just the US Hearties on FB. There are groups for fans who are all over the world!

And the best thing? You can get involved. Every couple of months, I go to a Colorado Hearties lunch with a lovely group of ladies who I just ADORE. We sit, we talk about WCTH, we eat, and we love on each other as sisters in Christ. It's the best thing ever!

This show really is of God. It's also of Janette Oke, Brian Bird and Michael Landon Jr., but it is definitely God working through them and their vision. When Calls the Heart is something entirely unique, entirely special, and unlike anything the Hallmark channel has ever seen. We're trending, folks! Get in on the action! Try a little purity of heart and see how you feel! I just bet you'll bubble over with so much joy you won't know where to put it!

And now you know why I've taken to using ❤ in my posts lately. It's a reminder to myself to love and share about When Calls the Heart. Because it's time to make a difference and what better way to do that than through a show whose message is about hope, faith, love, and redemption!? ❤

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Period Drama Challenge February Tag Questions!

It's February already and I've actually reviewed 4 movies for this challenge. I didn't know I had it in me. The February link-up list and tag questions is now posted here on Miss Laurie's blog, Old Fashioned Charm. Head on over there and see what everyone else has watched and reviewed through the month of February.

And now on to the tag questions that Miss Laurie gave her participants!

 February Tag Questions: 
(Answer here in the comments or on your blog)

1. What period dramas did you view in February?

I only watched and reviewed 2 and neither of them turned out to be on my original list! How very bizarre! But anyway, I watched Ladyhawke (1985) which is one of my favorite movies of all time and then Risen (2016), which is a newer favorite movie. Both are terrific, as my reviews testify.

2. What is your favorite period drama musical?

Up until recently I would have said Hello, Dolly! (1969) with Barbra Streisand and Walter Matthau, but I've since discovered the 2003 version of The Music Man with Kristin Chenoweth and Matthew Broderick, which has now one-upped my one-time favorite!

Broderick and Chenoweth from The Music Man (2003)

3. If you could order up an adaptation of your favorite classic book, what would it be and who would star?

I LOVE The Princess and the Goblin by George Macdonald. Just love it. And I would give almost anything to see it in live action. They did make an animated movie back in 1991, but I'm afraid it was pretty terrible, something I didn't realize until I grew up. Since the lead characters are children, I'm not sure who I would want to cast, but I do know I would love Judi Dench as Irene's nurse and possibly Helen Mirren as her great-great-great-great grandmother (insert a few more greats).

4. If you could be a famous royal from history, who would you be and why?

Probably Queen Victoria because she actually lived a long and fairly happy life. I have a biography of her at home right now, actually, that I'm quite interested in reading.

5. What period dramas are you looking forward to viewing in March 2016?

Okay, so my list of movies to review is now in constant flux for this challenge. I've been listening to the Audible audio book of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn performed BRILLIANTLY by Elijah Wood and so now I'm fighting the urge to watch The Adventures of Huck Finn movie from 1993 that also starred a very young, very adorable Elijah Wood in the leading role.

So the above movie definitely, and then anything else that might happen to come my way.
Elijah Wood and Courtney B. Vance in The Adventures of Huck Finn (1993)
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