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Little Women Movie – 2018 release

I’m always suspect when someone decides to remake a classic book into a movie or TV show.  So, it was with intrigue that I requested the link to review this movie that hits theaters Sept. 28th, and my screening was provided by Graf-Martin Communications and Pure Flix.  To them I say, “Thank you.”

Little women 2018

I think it must be my age, because the only actor I recognized was Lea Thompson as Marmee.  And because of that, I was able to watch the story unfold with basically no “history of roles” to cloud my viewing, or give in to expectations.

What a wonderful way to spend my afternoon off this week! I was completely enthralled, and had to get the tissues out more than once.  The story stays quite close to the book, but the updates for a 2018 audience are spot-on and quite clever.

The relationship between the girls and with Marmee is so special, it almost jumps off the screen.  And then throw Laurie into the mix, and well…it’s just as I pictured things in the book.  This movie has all the feels – and none of them are out-of-place to the situation.  It’s wholesome without being campy.  Proof that Hollywood can do quality family films, this is one I’ll likely invest in the DVD when it is offered.  I know I’ll want to see it again and again.

This is the 150th anniversary of the book, and with this wonderful version – a whole generation will discover this classic, and see just how timeless good writing and stories can be.  Fitting for the whole family, although rated PG-13 (not for language, but a few tense situations), I highly recommend an evening together enjoying this movie.

 

 

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Posted by on September 26, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Paul: Apostle of Christ – a movie review

Paul movieThe latest faith-based movie has hit theatres.  Paul: Apostle of Christ starring Jim Caviezel, better know as Jesus in Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ”.  As Executive Producer, he was able to bring this movie to life.  In a recent interview he said it was just something he had to bring to the screen.

The scene is Rome in AD67.  The situation for Christians is not good, in fact – we know that they are being used as candles for the Roman court – and Paul is in prison, nearing the end of his life.  Luke, the author of the 4th gospel, and the doctor among the disciples heads to the prison to write down Paul’s memories.  This account will become the book of Acts that we know today.

We see the compound where the Christians are living, and where Priscilla and Aquilla are living.  They are amazed at the gifts the other communities have been sending them.  One of my favourite lines to describe this was, ” even the Corinthians gave generously, if you can believe it!”.   One of the residents is a young boy Tarquin, and he offers himself to be a messenger between this community and some sympathetic Roman families who may be able to assist the Christians in leaving the city.

Luke is able to get someone to covertly get him into Paul’s cell, and he begins to record the accounts of Paul’s journeys.  I always find it fascinating to learn how the events in Acts connect to his letters, and this movie does that well.  For one not acquainted with the Pauline letters though, the skipping of the timeline would be confusing.  It’s impossible to present Paul’s writings in a chronological order when presenting them as memories.

I enjoyed this movie, although I found the settings dark in their lighting.  It would be better in a theatre setting I’m sure.  There were moments that tied themselves up just a little too neatly – but to delve deeper into these issues would have necessitate a much longer presentation.

Thank you to Graf Martin Communications and Sony Pictures for the opportunity to independently review this movie.

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Delilah – Treacherous Beauty by Angela Hunt

Delilah book cover

I had the privilege of an unexpected week off – and the joy to spend it at a friend’s cottage.  This was the perfect book to take with me.  I love when time affords me to be able to read a book completely interrupted.  I have yet to be disappointed with this series, “A Dangerous Beauty”.  The first two women we met were Bathsheba and Esther.

Angela’s newest book is perhaps my favourite in the series.  Biblical fiction that makes me have to pull out my Bible to rediscover pieces of the story is alway worth my time.  We don’t know many details of Delilah’s life, but this book paints a picture of a woman, desperate to save her family and her rightful place in a community that wouldn’t recognize her.

Angela weaves her vision of who this very maligned woman in Israel’s history with the Biblical account of her encounter and ultimate downfall of Samson and his enemies.  We see her move from a very broken young woman, to a caregiver and mother needing to take action to keep her family safe and fed.

I was completely captivated by this telling of the story.  I found the telling of the life circumstances a fascinating possible connection to the sate of mind she must have been in to trick Samson in to sharing his secret.  At the same time, to read of the development of her relationship with him breaks the typical view of Samson as a weak man who falls instantly to the temptation of a beautiful woman.

If you are looking for a book to bring Scripture to life with a fresh new breath – this should be at the top of your list.

This book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Live Loved – Margaret Feinberg

Live Loved BookTo say that I am a fan of Margaret Feinberg and her Bible Studies would be a huge understatement.  I find that she writes about things in a way that comforts and challenges all at the same time.

I was delighted to see that she had designed an adult colouring book.  I recently discovered the calming effect that these books have, and was excited to be able to spend some time with this one.

Each page has a floral colouring design, as well as a Bible verse to focus on while adding your own flair to the creation.  I found it a form of lectio devina.  To be able to pray the words of the verse, to say them repeatedly while working with my colours – it was a very soothing time of refreshing.

To take the experience one step further, each page has a complimentary on that allows for you to write your conversation with God.  It’s a loosely guided reflection.  I have been quite skeptical of this approach, but gave it a couple of honest attempts.

After having coloured the page, praying about what God might be saying to me through the Scripture passage – I remained in a prayerful attitude and let the pen just be on the paper.  I was amazed at what flowed as I wrote.  A true conversation with God.  Truths about how much of God’s love I often miss appeared on the page.  Reminders about the promises that he makes to his children were a great reminder to carry with me through the day.

I found each coupling took about 1 hour to complete and reflect upon. A wonderful, guided way to spend some quiet time – just the individual, the pens and God.  Honest moments of “be still and know that I am God”.  I know I need more of that in my life – and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

While the Adult Colouring Books are quite trendy right now, I can see this book playing a part in the devotional life for people who are looking for a creative outlet at the same time.  I am grateful to Graf-Martin Communications and the Nuts About Book program for the opportunity to independently review this Bethany House publication.

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Bathsheba by Angela Hunt – Book 2 in the Dangerous Beauty Series

bathsheba coverI love it when an author drives me to my Bible while reading a work of fiction.  This latest offering from Angela Hunt proved to be just that kind of enjoyable read.

I truly believe that God teaches us many things through story, and this wonderful glimpse into “the rest of the story” of Bathsheba’s life opens the reader to many facets of her life.

I have read the story of David and Bathsheba many times, know the Veggie Tales version, and loved the ending of Francine Rivers account of her life in her series “Lineage of Grace”.  Angela let us feel the anger and grief that Bathsheba must have felt after David’s horrible actions towards her and her household.  We follow along as she learns to forgive and even love this King she has been brought to.  We grieve with Bathsheba and David as they lose their first-born son, and we understand her fear as she watches and waits for a very real threat to Solomon’s life to pass.

The telling of the story is shared by Nathan and Bathsheba.  It provides us with a complete view of life in and around the castle of this Royal family.  I found it a fascinating theory that Nathan had long been in love with Bathsheba from a distance…not sure about that, but it certainly added some interesting sides.

I have always been taken by Bathsheba and her story.  How one so broken could find such favour from a king (a broken man himself).  How from such a sinful beginning, God would raise one of his most faithful rulers.  It is truly a story of redemption, God’s grace, and his love and favour for those who faithfully seek him.

Once again, Angela Hunt has reminded me why she is well nestled into my top 5 favourite authors.  She certainly does not disappoint in this novel – one I had to slowly read, so as to be able to savour the story so masterfully woven.  I am thankful to Graf Martin Communications, the Nuts About Books program and Baker Publishing for the opportunity to independently review this book.

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

The Memory Weaver by Jane Kirkpatrick

Memory weaverThe settling of the Western United States is not a piece of the American story I am familiar with.  Through this latest offering from Jane Kirkpatrick – I want to know a little more.

We meet Eliza Spalding Warren after the death of her mother, and just as she is coming of age.  She struggles with past memories of a time when she was held hostage during an a Cayuse Indian uprising.  Without naming it, we are very accurately walked through moments of PTSD shown through flashbacks.

Eliza is largely responsible for the care and maintaining of the family home while her missionary father continues with his work- how ever joyless it is for him.  She falls in love and longing for a different life – she and Mr. Warren elope.  Life is hard for them, but they are a determined to succeed, despite a myriad of personal demons they both carry, as well as simply the challenge of life in a wilderness state.

Always trusting in a God who is very real to Eliza, her husband comes to know and follow God’s plans.  We learn from Eliza’s mother’s diary of events in the past, and the foundation of Eliza’s inheritance of faith.

We learn that although facing the past – even as our own recollections might not be the exact way things happen – is healing.  Eliza has occasion to revisit the site of her trauma, and by talking with people who were there with her, she sees that God was placing every detail of her protection all along.  The lesson for us all is that by facing our past hurts and wounds, with God’s help, we can see the truth of our triumph through and in spite of them.  We might even see that God uses these to make us stronger and healthier for it.

I enjoyed this read – it was great to learn an aspect of American history I had not known before.  It was also a great way to illustrate the brave steps we each must take, as we seek to recover from past traumas.

Thank you to Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications for providing this book for my independent review.

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage – Shelia Wray Gregoire

9 thoughts book coverI wish I had been able to read this book about 23 years ago, this week.  You see, as this appears on my blog, my beloved and I are 1 day away from our 23rd wedding anniversary.  While we did pre-marital counselling (after a fashion really, it’s hard to have those conversations with your dad!), went through an Prepare (R)  Inventory (which was bang on about what our growth areas would be), it still was not always an easy and perfect path.  A grace-filled one, but certainly not perfect and not always bliss filled.

Shelia speaks and writes with an honesty and candor I love.  Her desire is that couples experience marriage in all it’s fullness, as God planned it –  and she pulls no punches when she tackles topics that might make most of us squirm.  Her latest offering is no exception.  Each of the 9 thoughts is a great challenge to every married couple, no matter how many years together they are preparing to celebrate.

Now, I am in no way saying that we are not happy.  Far from it, we have a wonderful marriage.  We make each other laugh every day, we know that we are each other’s priority, and there is no one I would rather spend time with.  He is my rock, cheerleader and main prayer warrior – and he knows the same truths for me.  But…I truly found myself challenged to find better ways to be a better wife.

Thought 1 – “My Husband is my Neighbour”, Thought 2 – “My Husband Can’t Make Me Mad” and Thought 7 – “Being One Is More Important Than Being Right” hit me right between the eyes.  I sometimes think that I forget that he isn’t the only one in the house responsible for the way we function as a couple.  Yet, on days when I’m easily irritated – I could convince anyone that he is.  And some days, those irritations come just a little to easily.  Just this week, I’ve tried to walk the talk of these 3 thoughts, and you know – it’s not the easiest change I’ve ever made, but I can see that it will be worth it.

If I stop and realize that the things that make me not happy, are not his way of making me crazy and really are more my issue that his, then I don’t snap and things don’t get tense…and then, well, then things are just much more pleasant in the house.  A prime exmple of this is how we both re-energize.  I married a man who is an “off the chart” introvert.  He married an extreme extrovert.  Now, an introverted preacher tends to come home from any service of worship as a small puddle.  I want to talk about all the conversations I had after the service, and he just wants to be quiet, and preferably alone.  I can take this need of his as a personal slight, or know that if I respect his need for peace and quiet – I will get all the time I need when he is ready, and when he can do that with the emotional availabilty and energy levels I need him to have.

We recently attended a wonderful wedding.  It was a meaningful celebration as 2 young people joined their lives and faith together.  My beloved and I were honoured to be a part of the day.  While the wedding is over, and they’ll be home from the honeymoon soon – there will be one more gift for them.  I believe that this book is the perfect first building block (after a good Study Bible) for a solid, God-honouring marriage.  I’ll definitely be recommending it for many weddings, and even suggest it as a part of any pre-marital counselling.

I am thankful to Shelia Wray Gregoire and Waterbrook Press for the opportunity to independently review this book.  I have received no compensation for this review.

marriage shadow picture

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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