Noah’s Ark – New VeggieTales Movie

In February, Family Christian sent me an advance copy of the latest VeggieTales release, Noah’s Ark, in exchange for a review.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get my review out before it was released.  {The twins had ear infections (first Michael and then Andrew) and then pinkeye (first Andrew and then Michael).  The joy and reality of motherhood.}
veggietales-noahs-arkMy oldest and I used the movie as one of our Mommy-Son dates.  The first thing we both noticed was that the opening credits are different.  Same song, but instead of the whole VeggieTale crew, it’s just Bob and Larry.  Also, the animation is different – looks a little more computer generated.  We felt pretty cool when Bob and Larry alluded to the changes in the opening scene.

The singing within the movie was different, too.  More polished than it normally is.  Not to say the singing hasn’t sounded professional in the past, but this was a little too “produced”.  Maybe I wouldn’t have paid much attention, but with the animation and opening credit changes…it was just a lot of change to take in at once.  My son didn’t mind at all, though.

Although the story presented a good lesson in trusting God, the movie strayed from the Bible in many ways.  Maybe my expectations were too high, since this is the first Bible based release from Big Idea in several years.  I figured that they’re so good at weaving themes of repentance and redemption into their movies that Noah’s Ark would have been a no-brainer.  I know that it’s a kid’s movie, but I really felt that the creators got a little trigger happy when it came to taking creative licenses in the retelling of the story of Noah.

My son liked the movie – changes in production and all – but I still have mixed feelings about it.  Have you seen it yet?  If so, what are your thoughts about the story and changes?

From Good To Grace

Christine Hoover’s latest book is an invitation to have a daily reprieve from an addiction to goodness.

I received a copy of this book as a Family Christian Blogger.  The opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced by Family Christian or anyone else.

Years ago, while reading Lysa Terkeurst’s Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl, I received such freedom from God that I thought “Whew, I’m so glad I learned all of those powerful Biblical truths!”  I truly believed that I was cured from the need to be good in the eyes of others.  But in the years since then I find myself continuously surrendering my desire to please others, just to pick it back up.  And then surrender it again.  It’s exhausting.

I know that’s why I connected with the cover of Christine Hoover’s latest book From Good to Grace: Letting Go of The Goodness Gospel.  It shows a woman (probably a mom) sitting in a laundry basket as she thumbs through a book.  I can totally identify with her – too tired to find a “proper” place to recline and read.  Like her, I have to steal away moments to read.  And I’ve loved every moment I’ve spent reading this book.

Godo to Grace 2

She had me at “Good, Bye”

Yes, that’s totally a reference to “Jerry Maguire”.  High five for those of you who got it.  And for those of you who didn’t, you can look it up later.  The book is split up into three sections, each covering three chapters (the math teacher in me was tickled by the symmetry of that).  I’ve only gotten through the first section which is titled Good, Bye (hence the heading above).  Although I’m only three chapters into the book I know that Christine wrote this book just for me.

Sure, I know it’s her story, but it’s just as much mine as it is hers.  She talks of her obsession with being good – trying to win the approval of others and God. My heart winced as I let her words sink in that the gospel isn’t just for salvation; it’s for everyday life.  Too often I wave the banner of God’s power and tout what He’s done, totally neglecting what He is still doing in my life.  I accept that salvation is by faith alone, but somehow expect sanctification to be a different story. Thinking and acting as if I need to go it alone.

The goodness gospel that Christine describes is all about caring more what others think of us than what God does. She writes about putting chains on ourselves and I can most certainly relate.  I take the chains of bondage that Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection freed me from and I wear them like jewelry.  They weigh me down and I remain stuck for fear that whatever I share will be judged, or the presentation of my thoughts won’t be witty or compelling enough.  I question and doubt not only my ability to write, but my calling to be in this arena, or any other for that matter.

Christine spoke directly to my heart when she confessed “Unfortunately for me, a large part of a goodness obsession is an addiction to self.  Goodness is evaluated by activity, completed tasks, responses from others, and results.  It requires a focus on appearance and image and maintaining some semblance of religious behavior […] Goodness fed both my pride and my self-condemnation”  Oh how I wish that I could just create the perfect checklist and be better once I’ve completed all those tasks.

Alas, I know that isn’t possible.  What’s more, I know that isn’t what God wants from me.  Or you.  As Christine succinctly puts it, “He simply wants us to follow him, receive him, submit to him, and […] let what we receive from him compel us outward to serve and love others.”

I’m looking forward to reading the rest of From Good to Grace.  I smile just thinking about stealing away moments to read it.  I must confess that I almost added it to my daily checklist.  I decided not to.  I decided instead to let it remain a “get to” rather than a “have to”.  I highly recommend this book if you, like me, struggle with a goodness addiction.

becoming myself

I don’t remember when I picked up my first copy of Stasi Eldredge’s becoming myself: embracing God’s dream of you.  Funny, I remember where I bought it, but not when.  Also, I’m pretty certain that I picked it up because I misread the title as God’s dream for you.  For the past five years I’ve been torn between wanting to go into full time student ministry working full time as a teacher.  Although I have accepted that teaching middle school is boot camp for God’s next assignment for me, I would be lying if I said there weren’t times that I desperately want to speed up the timetable so I can walk into God’s dream for me.

Like so many other books I have bought over the years, becoming myself went untouched. (I have a list of books to finish in 2015) Then last month, as a Family Christian Blogger, I learned of an opportunity to receive both the book and the accompanying eight session DVD.  I didn’t even know there was a DVD that went along with the book.   I’m not saying that I would have already read the book had I known, but just maybe.  It wasn’t until I received the book and DVD did I remember I already owned the book.  The memorable book cover had me searching through my library to confirm my suspicion that I had not only seen it before but walked by it several times in my own home.

As a mother of infant twins and a seven year old, I do not have the luxury of pleasure reading like I did before I had kids.  What I do have though, is my morning time.  It isn’t as sacred as I’d like it to be, as it is often sacrificed in order to get my oldest to school on time.  And when I get to have it, reading a book is the last thing I do during that time.  I pray, read short devotionals, pray some more, and then read.  I say all that in hopes that you won’t judge me when I tell you I’m only about to start reading Chapter 4.  Seriously.  Although I thought I was cured from caring what others think about me, blogging and reading this book have made me keenly aware of my ever present desire to be accepted by others – especially women.

My friend Amia and I always talk about how you can’t help people if you haven’t walked through whatever it is they’re struggling with.  And although you can commiserate with your friend if you’re still in that place, two people in a pit are still in the pit.  One of the goals of Catalyst Movement – the dream God gave me for a girl centered ministry – is for girls to love one another as they learn to love themselves.  I know that God brought my attention back to this book so I can work through some stuff so I can better lead girls into a life of freedom and wholeness.

 

#FiveMinuteFriday – When

If you’re new to the Five Minute Friday phenomenon (this is my second time participating), here’s how it works:

Every Thursday a one-word prompt will be announced on the Five Minute Fridays blog at 10pm EST (and the blogging continues through Friday).  Before the prompt is revealed many in the Five Minute Friday community like to connect on Thursday evenings on Twitter using the #fmfparty hashtag.  I have yet to attend a Thursday Twitter gathering, but look forward to chatting with the ladies in the future.

Everyone who participates in Five Minute Friday will write for five minutes on the topic of the week, post it on their own blog and link up that post on the Five Minute Fridays blog.

If you want to get in on the fun but don’t have a blog, you’re welcome to post your five minutes of writing in the comments here each week, the comments section of the FMF blog, or on the Five Minute Friday Facebook page.

This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking (my inner editor is cringing), no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.

Today’s 5 minute Friday prompt is WHEN

When I think about the word when I think about moments gone by and yet to come.  I think about phrases like “I remember when…” and “When I grow up…”.  It’s nice to visit “when” but it isn’t the most productive place to reside.  Don’t get me wrong, I can get some good inspiration from the future I would like to create and I learn great lessons from the past I’ve already lived.  It’s just that I tend lose track of the here and now when I visit when.

Now is where my feet need to be grounded.

Now is where I get to enjoy time with my boys.  It’s where the laughter is.  Where the twins follow my husband, myself, and our oldest like they’re puppies.  Now is when I get to watch our oldest interact with his baby brothers as though they’re the most important people in the world.  He already likes to talk about when he grows up.  I don’t even want to think about when the twins will start doing the same.

No, I’ll stay here in the now and enjoy every minute of it, thank you.  I’ll wait on when another day.

Faith and Mommy Stuff

I just put my seven year old to bed.  We were praying using the ACTS method our junior pastor taught us last year.  DJ was finishing up his adoration of God – he blew me away with the beautiful things he said about God – when he asked me a question that caused me to pause before answering.  He asked “Is nature Mother Nature, or just nature?”

As a mom who was putting her kid to bed fifteen minutes past his bedtime I was tempted to rush through a simple explanation.  But as a former worshiper of Mother Earth, I knew better than to brush off his question.  So I told him, “There’s the short explanation and the long one.  Which one would you prefer?”  In typical DJ fashion he answered my question with one of his own. “Which one will give more information?”  So the long answer it was.

I’ll spare you all the details, though, and get to the thing I said that God used as a nudging reminder for me.  “When I see a beautiful sunset, I acknowledge the beauty of the sunset but I do not worship it.  I say what an awesome artist God is and give Him all the glory.  Why would we worship the created instead of the One who created it?”

I could tell from his breathing that he was fading.  To check for understanding and also to see if he was still awake I asked him, “Tu intiendes?”  He nodded and softly said “Yes”.

I’m so grateful that I get to put my kid to bed still.  To pray with him and have him ask me questions.  I don’t know how much longer he’ll want to cuddle and pray together, but I’m enjoying it while it lasts.

What’s your bedtime routine like with your kids?  Do you follow a particular prayer pattern?