Thursday, December 29, 2016

Sing - Movie Review

This animation is about an entertainment business koala who is about to have his theater foreclosed on. In a desperate attempt to keep his theater, he promotes a singing contest, but things are not what they seem. Also, in the storyline, we get to see into the lives of several contestants and their various plights, and most of us could identify with at least one of them. I, personally, identified quiet a bit with Rosita the pig. 

What a fun movie! I saw this with my 8 year old daughter and we both just loved it! There was even a time when I had to force myself to stop laughing because I thought I was starting to annoy people - if you go see it, it's the Koala car wash scene towards the end. Oh my! I'm chuckling here thinking about it!

The plot wasn't as predictable as I thought it would be so that made it even a better movie. And the music is fantastic. 

If you like reality shows like the Voice or American Idol you will really enjoy this movie. All the contestants have extraordinary voices. Meena - the elephant, all I can say is just "wow". I read that there are about 85 different songs in the movie, so the kids will be entertained.  

Here is a pretty funky "Sing" original by Stevie Wonder and Ariana Grande:

 To the Christian: This movie is a great movie to watch with the kids and will not be a hardship to watch for parents like other animations can be. All the songs are secular. Except if you want to count "Hallelujah" as a non-secular song. (K-love might. Don't get mad, you know it's true!)

A great topic to talk about with your kids is what common grace is. God has given all a common grace and one of those common graces is the ability to sing beautifully. Most singers are not saved, but can still produce beautiful music that can point us to a Creator. "How does God use music and other forms of art to reveal His beauty?" and "How can the world use it to influence us negatively?" are both good questions to ask your kids after watching this movie. 

There is nothing that really stood out to me as being inappropriate in the movie.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Star Wars - Movie Review

Don't worry, no spoilers!

My husband introduced me to the Star Wars movies, and I have been a fan ever since. My favorite character being Chewbacca. I just love him! Deep down inside, I think Chewy would understand me. 

Anyway, a couple of days ago, we saw the new Star Wars movie, Rogue One. And although the movie did start off a bit slow and was a little confusing because of the lack of introduction, we soon figured out what was going on. To help you out if you haven't seen it, the movie ties part 3 - Revenge of the Sith and part 4 - A New Hope together. If I would have known that going into the movie, it would have helped me a lot to understand what was going on.

I was a little disappointed that they didn't start the movie with the usual music score that will be forever famous in American culture. And like I said before, there was no traditional written introduction that helped us understand what was going on as the movie opened. I felt lost for about 20 minutes trying to figure out where exactly the movie was in regards to the series.

The director does do a great job in bringing back that Star Wars feel the older movies have. The CG is awesome, but it still feels "old", but not in a bad way at all. It's nostalgic and the director does a superb job in reproducing that, especially in the garb of all the characters.

The end of the movie was spectacular and reminds us that the hope that was given to the Rebellion in The New Hope - Star Wars IV, did come with a tragic cost. 

I recommend this movie to the star wars fan. You will love how everything ties together! It is not a good movie to start with if you would like to begin watching Star Wars movies.

To the Christian: The movie is great and clean! It also contains a good message of sacrifice and selflessness that you could talk about with your kids afterwards - if you decide to take them. As 21st century Christians we too are standing on the shoulders of many who sacrificed a lot for Christianity. A good subject to talk about would be how we got our Bible in English. I took my 8 year old daughter and she did mention that it wasn't as exciting as Star Wars 7 - The Force Awakens.  

Friday, December 9, 2016

Pilgrim's Progress - Take 1

Last Sunday, my pastor gave us a brief biography on John Bunyan. What a beautiful life! Obviously, he also spoke about John Bunyan's famous book, Pilgrim's Progress. I vaguely remember a very poorly drawn cartoon I saw as a child about this book. Regardless, I decided to check the book out and read it to my daughter. 

There were two books to choose from at our local library and I picked the one with the prettier cover. (YES! I broke the first cardinal rule of book worms! Stop judging, you've done it too!) Although the illustrations were great, this particular book (published by Christian Focus) was in its original text, and I had all kinds of trouble reading it out loud to my daughter. So as I read, I "translated" it to a more modern English, but that got a little frustrating. Also, there were asterisks almost on every page about odd sentence structure and word usage and where I could go in the book for an explanation of what the heck I just read!

Needless to say, we didn't finish the book. The story - regardless of my choppy reading - was interesting to my daughter though, so I still think it will  be a great book to read to her. I will just get a version that uses a more modern English. 

I do not recommend this specific translation of the book, unless you are studying the English language or want to expand your knowledge of the language. It was a tough read, even for me. 

This is something Charles Spurgeon had to say about the book: 
"Next to the Bible, the book I value most is John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. I believe I have read it through at least a hundred times. It is a volume of which I never seem to tire; and the secret of its freshness is that it is so largely compiled from the Scriptures."

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Alchemist - Book Review

If you are looking for a good book on audio, then this is a great book!  I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it! I had never read a Paulo Coelho book, but had heard of him. This book came as a recommendation from some of my family members, and I am so grateful to them for it.

The book is about a young man who is looking for his treasure and his personal legend. Throughout the book the reader is unaware if the treasure is actual gold and jewels or if it's a person or if it's some form of knowledge. The young man sets off to find this treasure and meets several very interesting characters along the way. The story is set in southern Spain and North Africa and there is a lot that I learned from that part of the world in regards to their culture and customs. The book also provides a bit of magic in the book that is just enough to make for a great story. 

The book is easy to understand and at the same time it is very deep and profound philosophically. There are a lot of life lessons and positive perspectives that could be learned from this book. The boy in the book is a natural optimist and that was very attractive to me. He learned a lot on his travels and we learn with him as he journeys to find his treasure. 

Recommendations: I recommend this book to the wanderer or traveler at heart, to the person who loves stories about wonder and adventure, and to those who may want something easy and fun to read. I also recommend it to anyone who has an unfulfilled dream that they may still aspire to accomplish one day.

To the Christian: The book is clean and at its center it reveals a God in control of His creation. Knowing the history of southern Spain and northern Africa, you would assume that there is a lot of mention of the Muslim faith, and there is. There is even mention of some Hebrew practices. I had a slight problem with God and Allah being interchangeable in this book, but I took all this very lightly due to the magical and fantastical subjects found in the book. For example, one of the characters found a way to change any metal into gold; and the sun and wind can literally speak. There is also transfiguration and immortality is attainable. So I didn't take his interpretation of God too seriously. The alchemist in the book does cite Jesus' words several times as words of wisdom, and unlike a devout Muslim, he even mentions Jesus as the Son of God. There are also dreams and visions that are important within this book and the author references back to Joseph the son of Jacob and his ability to interpret those dreams and visions. My only caution would be that Mr. Coelho does have a universalist leaning, but again, to me that wasn't a problem due to the fantastical prose of the book. There are some beautiful things written about God. If you have a young reader this would be a good book for them to read. You could discuss with them later about who God truly is and what God's Word has to say about man and the nature of his heart. Mr. Coelho believes that God can be found if we look within ourselves. I would argue that we, ourselves, are found if we look within God. 

You can get the book here. 

Friday, December 2, 2016

Collision - Poem


In the womb of a virgin girl, the spirit and the flesh collide
Never before has this kind of contact opened so wide
The understanding that God is now also man and abides
With His creation that can now see Him and not hide

Now He is born and the mystery is revealed
That God has shown himself and has sealed
The eternal promise to save and to heal
His betrothed from the grasp of the one who kills and steals.

And when He died and rose for his bride to save her from her sin
We experience something that has never been.
The sinner is sinless and the wrongdoer does right
The deaf can hear Him and the blind have sight;

But not the sight of physical things, but of the spiritual
We worship, learn and love without monotonous ritual
For now, it is ingrained, it is part of our nature within
To seek out the holy, and purge out our sin.

This cannot be, this could not have existed
Without God who sought out and persisted
To live a life completely obedient to every single law
Even unto  death without blemish and without flaw

So now my eyes see, but they see so much more
Because they look to a Creator who never before
Had taken on flesh to give me his Spirit
That now even my ears can hear it.

Can hear, the Spirit, the Spirit of God
As I worship with the angels and my brothers here and abroad.
As I hear His Words spoken from words written long ago,
I cannot help but to kneel and just be smitten now that I know.

Now that I know who He is and what He did and continues to do
There is no lie in Him, He is forever true.
And I cannot wait to join Him or see Him return
To go home and no longer yearn,

For something better, something more than this life I live
Something this world can never provide and never give
It sometimes makes me sick at the things I seek for pleasure
Knowing full well I am His and He is my treasure

So though there is beauty and joy for me here
I want to be with You and no longer fear
Of what may come or may not come my way
In, you and you only I want to stay.

So help me remember the reason why you left your home
Help me remember you left it, to make one for me and I’m not alone
So, as I use my heart, soul and mind to get closer and closer to you
Knowing that no matter my circumstance you will see me through

Yes, I am never alone, you are with me always
Let me share this knowledge through all the highways and byways
Enjoying what you have provided and not getting lost in the mundane
Not worried if all those around me think I’ve lost it or insane.

And when the world disappoints me, like it always tends to do,
Let me remember it was I, it was I, who forgot You
Let the things of this world grow more and more dim
As I focus on what is eternal, as I focus on Him.