Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Eternal Salvation: A Movie Review


Even with all the joys of outdoor activities and events in the summertime, there's nothing like settling in to a movie night with some popcorn or ice cream on a summer evening-- even better if you can watch it outside on a laptop or at a local drive in theatre.

P. and I recently enjoyed a pizza and movie night with a DVD sent to us by Fish Flix. This sweet company hails from Mora, Minnesota and not only sells a huge variety of Christian DVDs but also uses some of their profits to support Christian ministry and evangelization in the country of Turkey. I absolutely loved their statements on their website about media and entertainment being gifts from God that we as Christians need to use for His glory, instead of allowing the secular entertainment business to do the opposite. It's so important for us to spread His light into every area of the world, and I agree that media-- specifically movies-- are a great way to do this!

Before I share about the movie we watched, I want to share with you a fun offer from Fish Flix just for you! If you join their email list, you can receive a $5 coupon to use on the website!! (Or if you're a text person, you can text 5-GIFT to 44222. Pretty fun, huh?

So the movie. As much as I loved the company and their website, we were not hugely impressed with this particular film unfortunately. Eternal Salvation told the story of Jonathan Wright, a business man with a beautiful wife and daughter, a huge home, and a recent promotion at his job. However, after a medical emergency that puts him in a coma and then subsequently forces him to begin his life again with extensive rehab, his job becomes in jeopardy. He is forced to look at the way he's been living for worldly success and a friend begins to share Christ and His way with Jonathan. Despite everything outside beginning to crumble, everything inside is finally falling into place for him.

Sounds like a great storyline, right? And we liked the beginning a lot. But somehow, it just didn't keep our attention or approval as time went on. As I reflected on the movie afterwards, I realized there were three main things I didn't care for in the movie. First, it was somewhat corny. I feel like Christian movies have hugely increased in quality over the last ten to fifteen years and as more and more are being produced. But this one the acting and characters were just a little too predictable or simple in their character development. Secondly, I did not agree with the theology in several parts of the movie. A specific instance was baptism. I loved that they emphasized the importance of baptism in the movie, but they stated it was a public expression of what happened personally when you got saved. However, we know and believe from both the Church and the Bible that it is a both/and situation-- Christ saves us through Baptism (1 Peter 3:20-21, John 3:3-5, Acts 16:31-33). Thirdly, the end of the movie felt like the false "prosperity gospel" movement. Everything turned out even better for Jonathan now that he was following Christ. The "bad guy" had died in a car accident, Jonathan got a better job, he still had his huge mansion. Not that God doesn't want to bless us in this life and the next, but sometimes He asks us to give up our earthly comforts for His kingdom, or to take up our cross when we follow Him. Again, it's a subtle thing but I think the tidy way the movie ended felt a little fake and overshadowed the greater message of true joy and peace in Christ--prosperity or not.

I hate giving a less than stellar review on any item for my blog, but these are my honest and original thoughts on this one. I so appreciate the opportunity from Fish Flix and our complimentary copy of the DVD, and I think their company is doing great things. This particular movie just wasn't my cup of tea. :)

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Tuesday Talk #40: Happy (Belated) Independence Day!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend with family and friends!! Our weekend was quieter than usual for the holiday as we normally travel to either family for a get together and fireworks, but different circumstances found us home sweet home in our little town for most of the weekend. We both missed being with our families, but we enjoyed exploring the local activities. We had (per my husband) the "best bbq ever" at the local fireworks festival, invited friends over for a cookout, visited my sister and her adorable family who were 'camping' in their backyard for the weekend, and enjoyed another cookout with a sweet friend and her family. Now that I look back, I guess it wasn't that quiet of a weekend!!

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Rosary Roses: A Review

 P. and I have had several conversations about how we want to pray with our kids and incorporate prayer into our daily lives with them-- like a beautiful monastic rhythm in some ways, where praying together is as normal to them as eating and playing together. However, we're still learning our own rhythm of praying together as a married couple, so any and all tips are always welcome!

Sweet Little Ones has great tips for praying as a family and it was on her blog that I first saw these Rosary Roses from Annery's Handmade, an etsy shop. I'm so excited to review them for you!

This beautiful set was mailed to me by the artisan, Annie Tillberg, from her etsy shop mentioned above. The roses are crocheted with 100% cotton yarn and are beautifully intricate, yet quite hardy for little hands. As a crocheter myself, I was impressed with the quality and workmanship! She has a great, tight stitch that keeps them from feeling flimsy or fragile! (Much better than me.) They're also washable (because again, little hands ;) and they come in 9 beautiful colors!

Aren't they pretty?

The idea of rosary roses is to give little ones a way to pray along with the older kids and parents as you pray the rosary as a family. They will enjoy the soft roses and counting along with the ten Hail Mary's as they lay the roses out. For fingers that are just too small for rosary beads--or too distracted-- these larger, softer "beads" are perfect for them to learn and participate in such a beautiful family devotion!

My adorable niece tried these out the other day and was very intrigued with them. She kept repeating "rosary roses" and enjoyed lining them up. Having just turned two, I think she was right on the border of using these. I'm not sure they would keep her attention for the whole rosary, but I think one decade is realistic for her age. I think a 3-5 year old would enjoy them even more and would learn the concept of praying with them quickly.

K. and I both give them a big thumbs up (or in her case below, a big smile) and I look forward to using them someday with our little one due in August. They would make a fabulous gift for Baptism or a toddler godchild's birthday. Annie also mentions that these roses can be used at the other end of the lifespan-- for the elderly and those who have trouble holding beads because of numbness or other difficulties. 

Make sure to check out Annie's etsy shop for these roses and more. I loved learning more about her shop as well as her inspiration for the roses. As she writes, "Prayer is for all of us, big and little."

And hey! One last thing! A coupon code for free shipping if you order by July 1! :) Just add code SHIPFREE16 with your checkout order at her etsy shop. Thanks, Annie!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Summer Book Reviews!

I am devouring books this summer! Some years I find more time than others to read and this year has proved to be a year of the books. I've been on a fiction kick lately and working my way through some page-turning Christian fiction mysteries but here are a few different genres that I've also enjoyed.

This book has been beautiful. It's like sitting down with a lovely, feminine mentor for a cup of tea and some great marriage advice. The book itself is gorgeous with gold lettering on the cover and a white ribbon bookmark, but the words within are just as treasured. In the nine chapters, author Barbara Rainey compares marriage to things like dancing or a garden or architecture. These themes provide each chapter with relatable, solid advice, reassurance, and conviction for wives. With ways to better understand your husband and ways to be the wife God intended you to be. I definitely have benefited from the wisdom of the author and I've enjoyed the companionable, motherly way she writes-- both smiling with understanding of the things we as women/wives experience, yet also nudging me to continually strive to be a better wife for my husband and for God. Five stars for this one. It would make a great bridal shower gift!

[Thank you to Bethany House/Baker publishing for a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a review. This post contains my honest and original thoughts.]

Summertime brings out the southern cook wannabe in me. I think it's the idea of "grilled meats, potato salads and cole slaws, and sun tea" kind of meals. And then there are all the fruit pies...don't get me started. Mmmm...

So even though I do NOT like the whole 'redneck' trend, I'm a sucker for southern cooking. Don't let the title of this cookbook misrepresent it. These are not recipes cooked by a rebel with Confederate flag flying high...no, ma'am. These are just amazing, mouth-watering recipes you'd likely be served in any country kitchen, particularly down south. 

I love the layout of this cookbook. Cute type/print, easily numbered instructions, gorgeous photography, a little quip from the chef before each recipe. All the things in a cookbook that inspire me to try the recipes. The majority of recipes only have a handful of simple ingredients, which is further enticing. And to sweeten the deal, there's a whole chapter on desserts (as well as an additional chapter on holiday baked goods). So let's just summarize: not only do I love the layout, I just love this cookbook!! 

4.5 out of 5 stars (and this is only because my favorite country cookbook, Farms Chicks in the Kitchen, is the ultimate 5-star comparision). 

[Thank you to Blogging for Books for my complimentary copy in exchange for a review. This post contains my honest and original thoughts.]

And my bookshelf would not be complete without another children's book. Baby Wren and the Great Gift, by Sally Lloyd-Jones is a sweet story about a baby wren who sees all the other animals with their special talents and wonders what her talent might be. In the end, she sees a gorgeous sunset and the beauty makes her sing with all her might. The other animals love her song and she realizes each animal has a unique gift and hers is to sing. The illustrations by Jen Corace are gorgeous in this book and little ones would definitely enjoy seeing each colorful page and each new animal. I think the story would have been just a bit sweeter if it had mentioned God being the giver of the sunset and the giver of Baby Wren's gift. 3 out of 5 stars for this one.

[Thank you to BookLook Bloggers for my complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a review. This post contains my honest and original thoughts.]