February/March 2021 Media Picks

Of course, I have to plug my upcoming Proverbs book. It’s my excuse for not blogging lately. 🙂 It’s not necessarily the reason BUT it sounds better than my bed is so warm and my office is so cold. Or that it’s easier to edit my husband’s books than to write my own sometimes! But we are going on a vacation/writing retreat for a few days and I hope to finally finish my Pruning with Proverbs book while he starts his next Bible study. (He currently has The Book of James out while I’m editing his Book of 1st John. I’m also waiting on the illustrations to be completed for the sequel to Gumbo the Bayou Dog so we are enjoying our writing side careers very much!)

In the meantime, we are available for ministry 24/7. At first Covid slowed down some outreach but lately we have 8-9 people (some strangers; some we know) stopping by regularly for help, counseling, or prayer. We’ve done middle of the week weddings and last-minute funerals. We consider it all a blessing and I LOVE that we live and work next door to the church so that our home becomes an extension of it.

My song for this month comes from a couple of funerals we’ve done. It was released in 2015 but I heard it for the first time last year when we did a funeral for the daughter of church members. The family of another church member also selected that song for a funeral we did last week. It’s similar to I Can Only Imagine but told from the perspective of those left behind. It is a sweet song but definitely sob-inducing if you are grieving. Listen to Dancing in the Sky here or visit the Media Page:

The movie I chose is an upcoming Netflix release. It’s their first faith-based film and I’m excited to watch it while also being nervous about recommending a film I haven’t yet seen! Proceed with caution! Here’s the info listed for A Week Away:

Based on an original idea by Alan Powell and directed by Roman White, the pic centers around Will Hawkins (Kevin Quinn), a troubled teen who has a run-in with the law that puts him at an important crossroad: go to juvenile detention or attend a Christian summer camp. At first a fish-out-of-water, Will opens his heart, discovers love with a camp regular (Bailee Madison), and a sense of belonging in the last place he expected to find it.

Additional cast includes Jahbril Cook, Kat Conner Sterling, and Iain Tucker. The film, which was shot in Nashville, will feature reimagined songs from some of the biggest hits in Contemporary Christian Music history as well as original music from the film’s music producer, Adam Watts. Paul Becker and Melena Rounis choreographed the dance numbers.

Music! Choreography! Romance! Redemption! This really does sound like my kind of movie!!

OCTOBER: MEDIA THAT MOVED ME

For my October picks, I decided to go look for NEW songs and books instead of sharing the ones I already treasure.

We can always learn and grow, and it’s great to make a little room for something (or someone) new.

(Note: The exception to this rule is holiday dinners. Families want to eat the same meal with the same sides made the same way. They do NOT like it, for example, when you try a new recipe that use Ritz crackers in place of french-fried onions for the green bean casserole. They will remind you of this as you plan the holiday grocery list for twelve more years.)

I listened to seven new Christian songs before I found THE ONE. This one came out in 2018 but if I’ve heard it before it didn’t quite move me like it did today. This is exactly what I needed to hear. I almost skipped over “I Will Fear No More” by The Afters because I used to have crippling fear, especially at night, and I’d overcome it.

But then I heard the lyrics. And I was reminded that fear is the opposite of faith.

I have a few areas of my life that could use a faith boost right now.

“You are greater than the battle raging in my mind…” Wow. I think we can all relate to that.

“Even though I’m in the storm, the storm is not in me…” How easy is it to let that storm in? It tornado-twists our minds, our stomachs, our hearts…

This incredible song reminds us that NOTHING can overpower the Lord in your life.

 

For my October movie I was privileged to attend an advance screening of “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” last night.

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I’ll have to admit that I had mixed feelings about posting it on my ministry blog. Ultimately, I decided to leave it here because the page is Media that Moved ME and it did move me. But this attempt by Affirm Films falls a little short of the standard set for movies in ministry use.

For personal viewing, it’s a good movie. A little weird but I embrace the abnormal. (A few unnecessary bad words ruin its chances to be shown in schools and churches. And while it is a feel-good movie, there is no mention of Christ or salvation.)

Tom Hanks brings the kindhearted Mr. Rogers to life on the big screen as only the versatile actor can. Focusing on the transformation of  journalist Lloyd Vogel through his relationship with Rogers, the movie is based on the true life Esquire article “Can You Say…Hero?” by Tom Junod.

A funny thing happened while Lloyd was discovering the value of his life through Mr. Rogers’ eyes: I discovered mine. I’ll admit, the day had been a bit of a pity party for me. Relationships, publishing, weight loss….nothing was going the way I wanted it to and I’d just had a 45-minute therapy session with my two dogs as I told them my life had no purpose or value whatsoever. (I know… I can be a tad melodramatic at times.)

Then Mr. Rogers came to life before my eyes and in his slow, soft way, I truly believed that he thought my life had value. And if Mr. Rogers (through a man named Tom Hanks) believed in me, I could believe in myself.

It sounds crazy, but I left the movie feeling so much better about life. Thank you, Mr. Rogers, for leaving such a legacy that affects people even to this day.

MY BOOK PICK

This past month I picked up several biographies to read. I normally prefer fiction but once a year, I read non-fiction. It started when we first moved to Jackson, MS around 2010. I liked to visit a neighborhood library and they had a big non-fiction section when you first walked through the doors. I was intrigued at the glossy photos staring at me from the covers of each book. Occasionally I’d read about someone historical but mostly I stuck with pop culture. It didn’t matter that I was basically reading a novel-length TMZ article, I consider ALL non-fiction to be educational!

I read several but the one that stood out to me was “50 Things that Aren’t My Fault” by the cartoon strip Cathy’s creator, Cathy Guisewite. It doesn’t necessarily go with my normal list of inspirational books, but it was inspirational for me because I find great comfort in reading about someone’s idiosyncrasies that mirror my own. From lamenting the 19.99 monthly contribution to the local gym (it’s only called a membership when you actually GO) to becoming trapped in an obviously mislabeled sports bra, I was laughing uproariously with her and feeling a lot less alone in the world.

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Check these three out or tell me about some of your favorites this month!