Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011: A Good Movie and A Good Book

Day 19: A Good Movie

When it comes to movies there are very different ideas about what makes a good one.  There are movie critics and reviewers who will offer freely their opinions, but I find it doesn't always mean I will agree after seeing the movie myself.  Especially now the movie industry is heavy laden with crude humor, violence, and many inappropriate scenes and story lines that I really am not interested in putting in my head.  Once something goes in your head, it's hard to ever get it out. 

I am very thankful for those movies that I catagorize as good.  A good movie to me is one with a creative story line, good acting, good editing, good cinematography, and a message that matters.  Humor and good one-liners go a long way, too, but at the end of the movie I would like to be glad I watched it.  I don't like the feeling of watching a movie and then regretting it afterwards.  I'll never get that time back that I wasted on movies that for one reason or another made me regret spending my time on it - especially if it cost me money.

It is so nice to just relax with my husband and watch a good movie.  We have seen some good ones lately that I was glad I watched.  One of those was Soul Surfer.  I hadn't seen it until a couple of weeks ago even though I wish I would have supported it while it was in the theaters.  What an amazing story!

If you are unfamiliar with the story, the movie is based on the true story of professional surfer Bethany Hamilton.  When she was a young teenager she endured a shark attack that left her without one of her arms.  Determined to get back in the water again, she persevered and continued surfing eventually turning pro.  The movie was very well done, there were quite a few known actors such as Dennis Quaid, Helen Hunt, AnaSophia Robb, and Carrie Underwood.  All of the elements I mentioned before that make a movie a good one for me were present with this one.  We really enjoyed it.

Another good movie we enjoyed recently was No Greater Love.  I really didn't know what to expect with this one, but it turned out to be really well done.  This is a great story about forgiveness, true love, and God's providence.  It had me drawn in and made me cry at times.  It was an enjoyable movie, and I recommend it.

I really want to go see Courageous.  I have heard nothing but great things about this movie.  In fact it is still in theaters and has been there for weeks longer than many people expected.  After all of the good reviews I keep hearing I recommend going and seeing it before it leaves the theaters.  When there is a good, wholesome movie that people are enjoying we need to support it in the theaters.  This shows movie makers that people actually care about these kind of films.  I think Sherwood Pictures keeps getting better and better with each film they release. 

A good movie stays with me and keeps me thinking.  A good movie challenges me to remember its message.  A good movie is just plain fun.  There are many good movies out there.  I think it is very exciting when independent companies are successful in putting out a good film that grosses enough for them to make another one.  I pray more companies like Sherwood Pictures will have the funds to make movies that make a difference instead the many films that just provide people with two hours of worthless or at least indifferent entertainment.  Some people like that I guess, but I am thankful for a good movie.

Thank You, Lord, for the amazing talent that goes into making a good movie.  Please provide more of them for people to learn truth and be entertained at the same time.  Thank You, Lord, for good movies.

Day 20: A Good Book

I also love a good book.  I am always amazed by authors who write good books.  It takes a lot of work to produce a good book that people will read.  There is a lot of time devoted to it, a lot of patience, and then a long road of exposure for people to even know the book exists.  It is remarkable to me when the front cover of a book boasts, "1 Million Sold."  That is a lot of people reading one book.  Usually this happens over the course of many years, but depending whose hands get on the book that time can be shorter. 

We have so many books.  There are so many books on my shelves that I have read and would like to read again and many more that I have not read, yet.  They are on my list, and I do hope I get to them. 

When I begin reading a book that already is good right off the bat, I have a hard time putting it down.  I want to know not only the ending, but the middle, as well.  Usually the books that are not so great (in my opinion)  I end up trying to finish in order to have a completed opinion about it, especially for reviewing purposes.  However I find myself painfully getting through those and often skimming quickly to get the jist hoping it will get better.  I feel badly for authors whose books I feel that way about.  I rejoice with the authors whose books I love and enjoy telling others about them.

One of my favorite books is by W. Philip Keller called, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23.  This book is so good!  It is a little, inexpensive book (You can find it at a bookstore for $5) and one I hope to read again and again through the years.  I wrote a bit about the subject covered in this book here and followed it up with part two here.  This is such a great little book!  Keller has many other books that I look forward to reading.  I have also read his Lessons From a Sheepdog, which was also excellent.  I can't recommend him enough!

I also enjoyed Culture Makers: A Worldview Approach to Re-Engaging the World, by Josiah Vencel.  I have read it twice, and I highly recommend it.  In fact, I happen to see this book as one that will always be either on my shelves to re-read again unless I have lent it out for someone else to read.  I couldn't explain it any better than this description from the book itself:

"God did not call Christians to sit on the sidelines of society. But that is precisely what has happened for nearly a century as believers have forgotten about their divinely appointed role in the world. Yet history testifies to the remarkable salt-and-light influence of Bible-believing saints who have applied their faith in all areas of life, not just within the walls of a church. Christ came to transform you into an agent of reconciliation ... not just to save souls, but to redeem entire cultures for his glory. If you¿ve ever wondered how to apply your faith consistently, to think about life christianly or to engage the world for Christ, Culture Makers will not let you down. Culture Makers will answer questions such as: Is there a biblical way to see all of life? What is Christianity¿s role in society? How do my personal beliefs shape culture? How do I respond to unbiblical points of view? How can the biblical worldview revitalize my faith? And so much more. Discover your place in the world. Fulfill your calling. Become a culture maker."

Recently my husband and I both read the book Heaven is For Real, by Todd Burpo.  This book recounts the events surrounding a little boy's death, visit to Heaven, and return back to life (all in about three minutes).  This book is a quick and easy read with a lot of moments where I just had to read on to find out what was next.  We both really enjoyed this book.  It has also spurred great conversations about Heaven with others.  This is a great weekend read.  Actually I read it in a little over a day. 

As we approach Christmas break I have been thinking about what books I want to tackle during more down time.  I am still not sure which books I will be reading on my own, but we have some Thanksgiving and Christmas books I look forward to reading to my children.

I love how my children enjoy being read to daily.  We've been reading to them since they were babies, and they love it!  There is such a joy when I get to sit on the couch with children in my lap reading good books to them.  These books are almost never what I call "fluffy" books - just a few words with little meaning or educational value behind them.  I love reading good books to them that help them think, imagine, learn, and enjoy that time together.  Even my toddler says, "Rwead. Pwease," with a book in her hand as she starts climbing in my lap.  I hope they continue to love books.  I look forward to them learning to read and enjoy them on their own, as well, but I hope we always share read aloud time, too!

I have to be careful with what I read.  I chose to not read some books that have been recommended to me because I know I couldn't handle the subject matter and/or it is contrary to what I want to fill my mind with:

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." (Philippians 4:8)

This is the measuring stick by which I measure what I will chose to sit down and spend my time reading.  I am so thankful for good books!  Thank You, Lord, for giving authors good ideas that glorify You and promote Your truth.  May You continue to give more ideas and provide the means for those ideas to be published and sent to the hands of readers who will be changed for the better as a result.  Thank You, Lord!

I hope to produce some good books of my own in the future.  May the Lord be glorified and may His will be done in His timing.

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