No Time To Complain Today…..

….I know, weird for ME not to write a whole blog complaining about something!  Some miracles do still exist in this day and age!

Let me just say that God takes better care of me than I could even request.  He knows what I need better than I do.  He MEETS those needs more powerfully than if I were to take all my efforts, combine them into one powerful force, and throw it at anything.  He puts into place things more perfectly than my best laid plans, not only addressing the most pressing need, but establishing long term success.  And for that, I am utterly amazed.  And blessed.  And humbled.  And rejoice.

And, therefore, cannot express a complaint even if I wanted to!

Parenting 101

Now let me start by saying, I am not the most amazing parent.  I have my myriad faults.  But, I guess because I’ve been a parent for almost 20 years, I’ve been able to learn a thing or two…..

  1. The more you disdain other people’s kids and harp on their “bad behavior”, the more your child’s bad behavior (that you don’t bother to correct, btw) appears to be offensive to all around you.  Your expectation for perfection should at least apply to your kids, too.  And when they don’t, it really just means that people are going to not like your kids but DEFINITELY will think you’re a bad parent.
  2. If you have a rule that no one is to correct your child in your presence, they maybe you shouldn’t harp on other people’s kids right in front of their parents.
  3. Children need to be on a schedule.  Letting them sleep in until 10am, not giving naps, and letting them stay up until 11pm or later is not good for any kid, especially a toddler.  Yeah, they will probably fight a bit when you say it’s bedtime, but who is running the show?  You, the adult, or the toddler?  And the other people in the house that go to bed before 10pm really don’t like when said toddler is yelling and having a good time and no one THINKS to tell her to be quiet…….
  4. If your child is intelligent, you best realize that even at a young age they will work you.  Screaming at the top of their lungs when they don’t get their way would be less effective if you don’t ALWAYS hold them for 20-30 minutes to calm them down each time.  And ultimately, if they end up getting their way you are reinforcing their bad behavior AND the fact that if they scream enough, they will get their way.  And, probably, those around that have to hear this screaming 3 or 4 times a night don’t appreciate it, either.
  5. Telling your kid, even in a yelling voice, to stop over and over again only works if they stop.  If they don’t stop, try doing something else.  #4 applies to this as well.  Kids can figure out pretty young when you really mean stop (or other directives).  I know it’s probably easier to yell stop and leave it at that, but no one said parenting was easy.  And I can tell you, it gets harder if said toddler grows into a teenager and they still don’t listen to you……
  6. Remember item 1?  Well this is especially offensive when you ask the toddler to not do something with items in YOUR ROOM and they immediately do it as their parent watches and does NOTHING to correct their child.

Hello Blog Universe!

Sorry I’ve been too busy to write here!  Long days at my fantastic job, more time with the family instead of the laptop… know the deal.  Have you been enjoying the Olympics?  Have you heard of Benny Hinn’s divorce?  Have you watched any Academy Award movies you’d like to chat about?  Come on, it’s quiet on this blog – post some comments!  Sheesh.  LOL.

Okay, I will write more later peeps.  Keep up the good fight.

Academy Award – Warm Fuzzies

So today we saw The Blind Side.  I fully admit it was a heartwarming story, especially since it is based on a true story.  I may even have to start paying attention to the Ravens now that Michael Oher is on their team.  Sandra Bullock did an excellent job as Michael’s adoptive mother, and the story overall was a great one that leaves you with a sense of triumph for those who work hard and are loyal to those they love – despite where they may have come from.  However, I just can get a sense of OSCAR from this film.  It WAS very good, VERY touching, and well acted.  I just can’t get the OSCAR feel for it.  ……..Best Picture?  I don’t think so.  Best Actress?  Probably not.  Hmmmmm……we shall see.

More Academy Award Reviews

So a free Netflix membership allowed me to see two other films that have several nomations.  Here are my reviews of them!

The Hurt Locker (best film, best screenplay, best actor, best director, and more) – I began watching this firm knowing nothing about it except several film critics praising it as “the one” to take the statues.  I didn’t know it covered American soldiers in Bagdad and the danger they faced, AFTER the Iraqi war had ended.  I didn’t know the actors or the history of it. And it proved to be a thought provoking piece that definitely made me realize just how hard it is even today for our young men and women serving in the middle east.  I can see why  Jeremy Renner was nominated for best actor – he did a good job.  And, truth be known, I was shocked that a woman was the director – Kathryn Bigelow.  Even still, I almost felt gipped when the movie was over.  Yes, I have discussed some of the subtle messages within the film, but overall was not overwhelmed with admiration.

A Serious Man (Best film, best screenplay) – I think this film would have been amazingly relevant and funny if I were Jewish.  The story, a black comedy, revolves around a Jewish family and is loosely based on the story of Job.  This was very well written and the acting was also good……but I was like “did I just spend two hours watching that?”  Maybe I AM a snob……

And that’s it.

More Academy Award Viewing

Let me just say that Deana found an AMAZING theater in Plano that is situated in what we like to call “very Los Angeles-ish” setting.  The theater itself was smaller, was showing mosting movies that have been nominated for an Academy Award or “artsy” in nature, and was very…….let’s see…….NOT commercial.  There was a coffee bar and…..well, we loved it.  And to add more bennies, we needed to watch two movies, so we stopped at a little french cafe across the street that was AWESOME!

Our luck was also on our side because yesterday Sophia decided to gash her head open.  She was spending the night at her counsin, Kaylie’s house.  They have a HUGE walk in shower there, in which Sophia decided to run.  Yep, you pictured it – she fell backwards and gashed the back of her head open.  But, as fortune would have it, this happened RIGHT when the second movie was over!  So we met Aunt Julie at the hospital and went from there.  Sophia was a huge trooper – ended up getting 4 staples in her head WITHOUT a shot (her choice) and she pulled through with only a few tears.  Deana practically RAN out of the area because she was so scared!  LOL  But Soph is fine and has huge bragging rights because her brothers have never had staples.  GIRLS RULE!  🙂

Anyway, here are my critiques of the movies:

An Education – the was a lovely British film talking about a young girl (she turns 17 during the story) in the early 1960’s and the exposure to various aspects – besides her drive to attend Oxford – to life’s education.  I walked in knowing NOTHING about this film other than it had been nominated.  The story was REAL, filled with profound subtleties, and the acting was superb.  The title role, played by Carey Mulligan, was quite good actually!  And as a picture, I think it is a strong contender for an oscar.  The story touches, ever so lightly, on controversies such as anti-semitism, views of blacks in the early 60’s, women’s role in society and their reliance on men, and the typical coming of age concept of fun verses hard work.  Even with such standard fair, it never seemed preachy or made me feel like there was an agenda that the powers that be wanted to push.  I loved this movie.  I am holding back tagging this for sure,  either for Carey as best actress of the movie for best picture, but they are high on my list.

Up in the Air – this was another movie I really didn’t know much about, other than George Clooney was in the movie.  I assumed that he was nominated for Best Actor, and I was right.  I was excited to that Anna Kendrick, of Twilight fame, was in the film and even nominated for Best Supporting Actress!  Also nominated for best supporting actress is Vera Farmiga – both did a fantastic job in this movie.  As did George, really.  And the movie WAS entertaining, it DID have a message (or several) and also offered enough pain points that aren’t resolved to say to me “hey, this is typical Oscar”.  I think it was worth the $7.50 I paid.  But I am NOT feeling the immense, “oh my word that was AMAZING” feeling that I think a Best Picture should do.  Of the two we saw, I vote this second.  Is it worth your time?  Absolutely.  And I will probably be eating my words when George wins (or either lady), but I just don’t feel it.

Will probably not have time for any more movies today – it’s Super Bowl Sunday!  While I am intriqued by the historic fact of the NO Saints being there, I am still bitter that they beat my Vikings.  Hence, GO COLTS!

Gina OUT!

Academy Award Update

Okay, here are my updates so far:

Inglourious Basterds – I knew that with Quentin Tarantino involved, the story would have amazing layers and that “weird factor”.  That became even more evident when I learned he worked on the screenplay for ten years!  And it WAS an amazing story with swists and turns and people doing things to the bad guys that we always hoped would happen.  One thing that suprised me a bit was the humor that popped up here and there, beautifully really, in places that were so horrible or tragic.  I understand that takes genius – not only at the screenplay level, not only at the director level – but for actors to pull it off without looking like they’re pulling it off is commendable.  HOWEVER, maybe I am slowly becoming an Oscar Snob, but I just didn’t see this as a Best Picture.  Maybe Quentin deserves one – I am not rooting for him to win though, and probably I will eat my words when Christoph Waltz wins Supporting Actor.

Precious – many that I’ve discussed this movie with are suprised when I tell them I found Inglourious Basterds much more disturbing than Precious.  This IS a heavy movie for sure – but perhaps that is what I really tend to expect from a movie that has been nominated.  The story was amazingly real – devastatingly real – filled with moments of “life sucks” that appeared relevent and real.  It broke my heart is was so real.  But hidden in this devastation were even more powerful moments of triumph – even if ever-so-small – that would sneak in and at times subconsciously smack my psyche so that I felt HOPEFUL.  I actually asked myself at one point – why are you HAPPY for her, her life SUCKS?  THAT is amazing.  And impossible to produce had it not been for an amazing screenplay, an awesome director, and acting beyond belief.  It’s early in my AA Viewing process, but my favorite thus far for Best Supporting Actress in Mo’Nique.  She WAS the character!  And, I am not sure how she did it, but I had hints of feeling sorry for this pathetic mother!  THAT is talent!  I think Gabourey Sidibe as Best Actress may be a favorite, but I am not 100% there yet…….although she did an amazing job.  Director Lee Daniels did an amazing job as well and I have great respect for him.  I am still not sure if I am tagging him at this point though.  Let me get further in the process and I will let you know.

In plans for viewing this weekend:

Up in the Air – Best Picture, Best Actor, Director, Supporting Actress (2 nominations!)

An Education – Best Picture, Best Actress

Netflicks DVD’s on order:

The Hurt Locker – Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Actor, Director

A Serious Man – Best Picture, Best Screenplay

Still trying to see who is screening foreign films and documentaries in Dallas!  DOH!  Fingers crossed!

2010 Academy Awards – The Rush is ON!

So, I like movies and I have been blessed to be influenced by friends and family in my life to now have a mini-tradition in my life.  Mini?  Who am I kidding.  I am very dedicated this time of year.

I will write more later on this, but know that I am frantically trying to see all of the nominated movies that involve Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Actor, and Best Actress.  I will try to get others in too (best director, best documentary, etc.) but time and the fact I am in Dallas where some docs may not be shown may prevent me. Fortunately, I feel like I am on track.

Last night I saw Inglourious Basterds.  Interesting.  Hmmmm.  Not sure I think it’s award worthy, but I will give it a few more hours to digest and will update this site.  I am rushed right now.

Gina out!

PS – Another shout out to Kate!  Stay warm there woman!

“I Don’t Associate with Sinners!”

Have you ever been told that by a Christian?  Or have you, more indirectly, felt like that was a Christian’s view of you?  I have been told that directly, by a former co-worker actually – said co-worker still having a job at a prominent Christian organization.  Let me say that, definitely, rejection is never comfortable.  But it can evolk several responses in a person:

  1. Wow, $%(^ you!
  2. Wow, I AM a sinner, what do I need to change?
  3. Wow, you’re right, I am going to go kill myself.
  4. Wow, you holier-than-thou Christians really kind of suck.

Honestly, especially for non-Christians, do you think #2 is often the response?  Doesn’t the Bible suggest that the Holy Spirit is the best at convicting us, and that we should love our neighbors?  But I am not a theologian – I just know the response I got didn’t immediately make me want to repent of “the sin” in my life.  I do not put “my sin” because I believe there is no sin in my life; actually, I am very good at sinning at times.  However, I have a Biblical view of my salvation and changed life thanks to Andrew Farley’s “The Naked Gospel”.  But I am not going to get into THAT today.  However…..

It ALWAYS amazes me how many Christians (and yes, there are some that don’t fall into this category) have this view of Christianity that you become perfect and somehow “untouchable” after years of being a saint and being regenerated by God.  Theology aside, they act as if their poop don’t stink and they have somehow risen above the taint of sin on earth.  They go to their churches, live a “perfect” life without sin, and raise their noses, brush off their three piece suit or their pleated skirts to show us just how high they’ve risen.  They SAY they “sin”, but are saved by grace.  They may even SAY “love the sinner, hate the sin!”  Yet, the minute they are exposed to a “fallen” person who do not meet their earthly measurement of what a Christian should look like, they respond with something like, “I don’t associate with sinners!”  Sometimes they might even justify this response by saying Christ admonished them not to be “of the world”, and by associating with sinners, they would somehow condone the sinful practices and even taint the name of Christ?  “How will they know we are even Christians, if we wallow in the same filth they do?  How will we shine like a beacon on a hill, if we sit with common sinners, partaking in the lust and debauchery that their lives represent?”

They make a great point.  And, as someone who has sinned pretty well, and as one who has sometimes thrown her middle finger at dogma and “God inspired hatred”, I say this – I believe you got it wrong.  How will they even know you are Christians, you ask?  I argue that it would have been that you LOVED the ones that the WORLD (yes, especially the CHRISTIAN world) that convention says you should not.  I argue that, a true beacon cannot be seen when it is standing next to the sun, but when it walks to the dark.  I say to be an ambassador of Christ, you kind of need to act like Him on occasion.  Your fruits will be that you are turning those TO Christ instead of pushing them out of His house!  And what DID Jesus do?

We know that Jesus was accused by the Pharisees of hanging with sinners.  Even DINING with them, a HUGE faux paux!  And most examples in the Bible suggest that Jesus was first LOVING and FILLED WITH COMPASSION when confronted by a sinner.  The woman at the well, the woman caught in adultery, the rich young man who was unwilling to give up his wealth to follow Jesus, even when his OWN disciple rejected Him THREE TIMES…..the list goes on.

Ah, but you say, what about the time he threw tables over in the Temple?  He was SO MAD and let everyone around know it!  THIS proves that we can say, with the authority of God, that we will not put up with the sin that is all around us!  Let’s think about that.  The Temple was considered holy.  Yet, the religious leaders of the time were taking advantage of those that wanted to do what their God commanded, and only in the name of making money.  Many would trek to the temple with their sacrifices (animals), only to be told their goat was marred or their calf was not perfect.  So, conveniently, there the leaders were there with GOOD animals that could be bought and the sacrifice could be accomplished!!!!!  And wow, such a deal too!  Or the money changers were gauging the people, all in the name of God.  THAT is what ticked off Jesus – that these supposed holy men were using God to make a profit.  And that is NOT how it’s done!  (But, alas, perhaps it’s still happening today?  Another post for sure!)  I won’t even get into the story of the Pharisee’s prayer vs the pauper….

Finally, especially to the person who told me they will not associate with me because I am a sinner…….what makes my sin any bigger than yours?  Are you truly suggesting that you have risen to a higher level than me somehow?  Because, again sorry to bring up the Bible, I am a Christian and I am saved by the same Jesus as you.  Are you implying that His blood was less effective on me?  Because I know with certainty that the Bible said I would continue to sin – not that it is giving me license to sin – but it’s pretty darn clear that it also says the blood of Christ – and Christ himself – is the same Yesterday, Today, and Forever.  And it also tells me nothing I can do can get me into heaven.  And that suggests that nothing I can do, once I have been saved by the awesome power of my Savior, can keep me out of it.  Unless, of course, I reject Jesus……which is highly unlikely, despite the crap I’ve been thrown by those of some of His followers!

So, to recap – have fun hanging around those people you deem as “righteous” enough or “redeemed” enough to meet your standards.  As for me, I am REALLY going to do what Jesus does, and love my neighbor as myself without adding criteria that shouldn’t be there.

Please, I welcome your comments.  If you think I’m off base, please let me know.