September 08, 2014

Movie Review: The Maze Runner (2014)

The Maze Runner is the latest film adaptation of a best-selling teen novel. Written by James Dashner, the book was published in 2010, so it took only four years for this book-to-movie project to come to completion, which is similar to the Hunger Games book-to-movie conversion. Four years is really not that long in the adaptation business. But I digress . . .

Thomas wakes up in an rickety, rusty elevator, which is rising at an alarming rate. At the time, he doesn't know who he is or why he is here. Disoriented and nauseous, when the elevator stop, he is greeted by a welcoming committee of boys that would rival Peter Pan's the Lost Boys or the gang of thieves in Oliver Twist. They speak to him roughly, won't answer any questions, and lock him up. Welcome to the Glade, Thomas.

August 27, 2014

Movie Review: Now You See Me

Now You See Me makes for the perfect flick to kick off the 2013 summer movie season. The movie takes the classic heist/caper storyline and combines it with the thrill of an eye-defying magic show. We get to watch attractive movie stars "stick it to the man"-the man being banks, insurance, and other corporate entities, plus people who don't believe in magic.

What makes Now You See Me work is that you will stay involved and entertained by the many twists and turns ahead. If you've seen the trailer, you know that the magicians are going to rob a bank and the police are going to be befuddled by their schemes. What the trailer doesn't show you is that while watching this movie, you will continually question the motivations of each character and question what you are seeing. Some of the things you will guess, but the film makes good use of one of the magician's trick of misdirection to keep you looking at only part of the picture. Only at the end do we see the reveal, and we're glad.

Movie Review: After Earth by M. Night Shyamalan

If you've seen any of M. Night Shyamalan's previous films, you know he likes to take the mundane and turn it into the epic and mythological. His films are about seemingly average, ordinary people who end up discovering they can do extraordinary things. When put into critical situations, they discover their faults become assets. In Unbreakable a man who works as a security guard discovers he is actually a superhero. In Signs, we find out a boy's asthma saves his life because it protects his lungs from breathing in toxic air. In Lady in the Water, an apartment complex maintenance man and the washouts that live there all realize they are part of a great story, where each of them has a role to play. And this trend continues in After Earth, starring Will and Jaden Smith, where we learn fear is just a story we tell ourselves.

After Earth is a science fiction movie, but like most good science fiction, it uses its alternate world to teach us something about our current world. Kitai (Jaden Smith) is a cadet in training, but it's hard for him to live under the shadow of his father, who is the hero of his people, General Cypher Raige (Will Smith). General Raige was the first person to discover "ghosting"--appearing invisible to the ursa, who find and track humans by the scent of their fear. By mastering his fear, he was able to hide from the ursa and conquer his enemy. It's not important really to understand what ursa are and or why they are a problem. We know they are the enemy to this people.

February 21, 2014

Preparing for a Fast



When I was growing up, there were times my church leadership would encourage the church to fast for one reason or another.  I didn't really understand the purpose of it all, and honestly, the few times I tried it, I failed miserably.  No one told me that you can and should prepare for a fast.  Preparing for this type of spiritual act will ensure a higher level of success and help you carry through what you feel called to do.  

Here are things you can do to prepare for a fast in a spiritual and physical way. 

January 05, 2014

Product Review: SAF Organics feat. Lotion Bars

I wanted to write about a line of products I've just been introduced to called SAF Organics.  The founder is actually a personal friend of mine, so I've received some samples.  I was so impressed with the products, I wanted to let my readers know about them, particularly the lotion bars!!!

I have very sensitive skin that always becomes very dry in the winter.  I always complain that my hands look like "old lady" hands in the winter because they develop scales from the dry, cold weather.  I also get dry feet, which I hate.  Regular lotion doesn't help; it just seems to absorb and last only a short time before my skin feels dry again.  The last thing I tried was a hand cream.  A nurse recommended cream rather than lotion because she said it was stronger.  So that helped a little.

When Stephanie Ferguson, owner of SAF Organics, gave me a lotion bar, I was skeptical.  I have never liked bars of any kind.  Once I discovered liquid hand soap, I never went back to soap bars.  I wasn't sure that a bar would release lotion of any kind that I could rub into my hands.

However, I am in love with these lotion bars. 

December 14, 2013

Giving with Esteem

I know I skipped a day.  I was making merry on my birthday, and a blog just wasn't in the program.

Yesterday, I was reading my Language of Letting Go Daily meditation, and there was a great post on giving.  It was talking about healthy giving.  If you struggle with codependency, this is another tough area.  I like the definition of healthy giving, which was giving with esteem for both the giver and the receiver.  Giving is note the same as caretaking.  We can give with esteem.  I want to explore this topic today. 

The Giver--Real giving requires sacrifice.  However, it is sacrifice of a thing of value not my value as a person.  It is sacrifice of something I might enjoy, such as money or time, for the other person.  When I am a giver, I am showing love for another person.  We give with esteem for ourselves when we don't give what we cannot afford.  Here are ways you could give without esteem for yourself, the giver:

December 10, 2013

Book Review: Language of Flowers

Jonquils, the flower of desire
Since I have been writing about a lot of heavy topics lately, I am going to take a post to talk about something that makes me really happy.  One of the books I read this year and really enjoyed is called The Language of Flowers (2011) by Vanessa Diffenbaugh.  The plot revolves around this woman, Victoria, who has come out of a painful past.  She was a foster child who only remembers one positive home experience.  She lived with this woman for a time who wanted to adopt her, but after a myriad of events involving this woman's own past, Victoria ends up moving on to the next home instead of with the woman she almost considered to be her mother.

Victoria is now emancipated from the foster care system, but has nowhere to go.  She ends up living homeless in a park.  She honestly feels more comfortable by herself, so it feels safer there.  Her path towards healing and love begins because this park is near a flower shop.  Victoria ends up getting hired to make floral arrangements.  The boss is very impressed with her skills.  But the business takes off like crazy when Victoria begins using her knowledge of the language of flowers to make special bouquets for her customers that say just the right thing.

This language of flowers thing is nothing new.