Movie Monday: Miss Potter

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Miss Potter is based on the life story of author and artist Beatrix Potter, known for her best-selling “Tale of Peter Rabbit” books. Having a gift for art since she was a child, Beatrix continued to hone her talent and seek publication as an adult. However, as one from a wealthy and upstanding family in the early 1900s, Beatrix was expected to take a different route with her life – to marry, have children, and host social events in her fancy home. She, however, had a different dream – to see her stories published in book form.

miss potterWhen Beatrix receives an acceptance from a large publisher, she is ecstatic. However, her mother is less than thrilled, and we see the conflict throughout the entire film. Her publisher assigns the publication of her books to the youngest brother of the owners of the company, a man named Norman, who is almost as excited as Beatrix is about her books. Will their partnership blossom into something more?

This movie is appropriate for all ages, although those under 8 or so will not likely understand the story line and might become disinterested.  There is nothing objectionable in this movie, although there is an incident where Norman is less than honest when he slips a bit of brandy into the elderly governess’ tea.  Spoiler alert – be sure to have a tissue box because there is an unexpected tragedy woven in the movie.

Miss Potter is a delightful movie and I enjoyed it for so many reasons. First, as an author myself, I could completely understand how the characters came to life in Miss Potter’s mind and how she loved to tell the stories of each character. Secondly, this movie contained all of the elements of a great story: romance, drama, and a bit of humor. It encourages all of us to follow our dreams.

I give Miss Potter a five out of five stars.

Join me most Mondays for Movie Monday, reviews from a Christian point of view of suitable movies for families – and yes, there are many!

For a listing of movies, please see my collection of Mom-Approved Movie Listings.

 

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7 rules for gym etiquette

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It’s that time again! Time for New Year’s Resolutions, one of which is to get healthier. To do so, many people head to the gym.

Here are seven rules for gym etiquette. Follow these and your fellow exercise enthusiasts will thank you!

  1. Clean your machine after you are finished. You’d be surprised how many people fail to do this. With flu season currently here and the risk of other illnesses, including MRSA, always high where people (and germs!) congregate, it only makes sense to wipe down your machine, whether it be the treadmill, elliptical, or that weight bench.
  2. Stay home if you are sick. This goes without saying, but you’d be surprised how many folks show up at the gym hacking up a lung (and oftentimes not covering their mouths). sick person2
  3. Take cell phone conversations out of the workout area. Important calls do inevitably happen at the worst moments. When they do, be courteous.
  4. Don’t wear strong perfume. Many people have asthma and allergies. Resist the urge to shower yourself in perfume and cologne before heading to the gym. However, please do wear deodorant!
  5. Use modesty when workout choosing clothes. Make sure that you do the “bend, move, and twist” test at home. If things are hanging out, you’re wearing the wrong clothes. Make sure your outfit is not too tight, too low, or too see-through.exercise ladies
  6. Don’t be a fan stealer. In my experience as both a frequent gym user and a group fitness instructor at a couple of different gyms over the years, I have discovered that “fan” people fall into two groups. They are the pro-fanners or the anti-fanners. The pro-fanners are working out hard and need the fans on and circulating air, especially since cardio rooms tend to be stuffy and humid. The anti-fanners strongly dislike fans and don’t want them on. In my personal opinion, we need fans and they need to be on at all times. We are coming to the gym to sweat, after all. A great compromise if you are an anti-fanner, turn the fan away from you so that it’s still circulating air, but not causing you distress. And a note to pro-fanners: if someone has the fan blowing on them, don’t steal it and point it on yourself.fan
  7.  Watch your language. The best rule of thumb: keep it PG-rated, especially when it’s a gym that’s shared by families and children are present.

The best rule of all? Treat others the way you’d like to be treated – including at the gym.

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What are some of the pet peeves you’ve noticed while at the gym?

 

Movie Monday: Sue Thomas F.B. Eye

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IMGSue Thomas is a deaf woman who can read lips and speak. She’s lived a sheltered life for the most part, so when she’s accepted for a job with the F.B.I. hours from her hometown, she knows she’s embarking on an adventure.

Based on a true story, this series is one of the best I have ever seen and is on my top-ten favorites list of all time.  Sue Thomas F.B. Eye  has everything that makes a movie good – a touch of romance, drama, humor, action, and adventure. What’s more, the writers and producers managed to pull off this feat without the use of the distasteful Hollywood variety of violence, crass humor, foul language, and sexuality.

Sue Thomas F.B. Eye is a wholesome show, but it’s far from dull. Each episode includes the latest case to solve by Sue’s F.B.I. team, which includes:

Sue, a talented lip reader who helps solve many cases, but who struggles with being accepted because of her disability;

Jack, the lead investigator (with a dash of romance between he and Sue);

Lucy, Sue’s best friend and roommate, and the administrative assistant for Sue’s F.B.I. team;

Bobby, the Australian agent with a flair for fighting for the underdog;

Tara, who can figure out just about anything on the computer and is the technology guru of the group;

Demetrius, the serious, yet kind, agent who learns a lesson the hard way about how his workaholic tendencies affect his family; and

Miles, the annoying know-it-all who has it out for Sue in the beginning.

Some of the episodes include some scary parts that may be inappropriate for those under 10 only because of the theme.  One episode “Simon Says” is particularly scary and may frighten those younger than teens.

However, there is nothing objectionable in any of the episodes and Sue Thomas F.B.Eye is a perfect series for the entire family and one of our family’s favorite shows of all time.

I give the Sue Thomas F.B. Eye Series a definite five stars out of five and highly recommend it!

the importance of priorities

the importance of priorities

Laura enjoys taking her three-year-old son to the playground. It gives her time to text her friends, catch up on Instagram and Facebook, and stream her favorite show on her phone. The only downside? Her son is constantly saying, “Mommy, look at me!” Without looking up, she usually just nods and continues spending time on her phone.

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Chuck doesn’t understand what the big deal is about going to church. Sunday is his only day off, and he’d much rather sleep in than wake up and attend some boring church service.

Megan seeks perfection. The perfect husband, the perfect kids, the perfect house in the most prestigious neighborhood (even though her mortgage has made it necessary for her husband to take on a second job), and the perfect SUV. Her children attend the best private schools in the area. In short, Megan wants – no demands – the perfect lifestyle. And she’ll do just about anything to get it. Besides, why would she want anyone to think she was anything less than perfect?

Damien is a workaholic. He is set on advancing up the career ladder as quickly as possible and trampling anyone who stands in his way. As such, he’s not a very popular guy at work. When he finally does arrive home in the evenings, he has no time for his wife and family and continues his work at home. Damien rarely clocks in more than four or five hours of sleep at night since he believes sleep is severely overrated.

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What do each of the above examples have in common?

They have mixed up priorities.

When we get off track, how do we get our priorities back in order?

We start by realizing what’s important in God’s eyes.

He places a great value on spending time in worship, fellowship, attending church, and spending time with Him. We are commanded to ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” ~ Matthew 22:37.

The Lord also places a high value on loving your spouse and your children.

We are told in Matthew 6:24 that no one can serve two masters. Things such as money, status, and power can quickly overtake us.

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There is nothing wrong with having nice things, but they shouldn’t be our priority. Instead, Seek to make your priorities those that are eternal. Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. ~ Matthew 6:19-20

There’s nothing wrong with working hard at your job or enjoying texting friends or spending time on Facebook. It’s when we elevate those things and they become idols in our lives that they become issues.

Pray that the Lord would show you where you have erred in your priorities. Pray that He would assist you in getting back on track so that the important things in your life are Him, your family (both immediate and extended), your friends, and doing your job well (but not by being a workaholic or perfectionist). Do your job as if doing it for the Lord (Colossians 3:23).

Ask that the Lord teach you to number your days so that you may gain a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12).

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Movie Monday: God Bless the Broken Road

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A gifted singer, Amber Hill takes seriously her role in directing the choir at church. She and her young daughter, Bree, are counting down the days until their husband and father returns home from his tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Unexpectedly one day while in church, Amber receives the news…her husband, Darren, has been killed in the line of duty.

Her life changes in a moment.

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Things take a dramatic turn for Amber and Bree. No longer interested in relying on God or anything to do with faith, Amber tries to get by on her own. Bree still attends church, but without her mom.

Cody Jackson is a race car driver given a second chance. Can he take the time to listen to advice and have a teachable spirit? Will he be able to get his career back on track? When his path crosses with Amber’s, will he be the friend she so desperately needs even though his heart might wish for more?

God Bless the Broken Road is a story of faith, love, and patriotism. It is a story honoring our vets. It’s a movie that shows the reality of what one faces when a loved one loses their life while serving their country.

This movie depicts the struggles even Christians face when going through difficult times. It does so effectively and realistically.

Excellent background music, which included the likes of MercyMe, Hawk Nelson, Citizen Way, and Audio Adrenaline. Micah Tyler, one of our family’s favorite Christian artists, makes an appearance in the movie and sings a couple songs as well.

There are a few intense moments depicting Darren’s last moments on earth. However, there is nothing objectionable in this movie, and it’s appropriate for older tweens and up. My only recommendation? Be sure to have a box of tissues nearby.

I give God Bless the Broken Road a full five stars out of five.

 

 

 

 

the importance of new beginnings

new beginnings

At the beginning of every New Year, many make resolutions that they aim to keep throughout the year. Decisions to make them healthier, fitter, more organized, etc.

In the classic 80s song New Attitude, Patti LaBelle sings of starting a new beginning with a new attitude “from [her] head to [her] shoes.” Every time I hear that song, it brings to mind a crabby lady in need of a personality overhaul.

But what about a new beginning in Christ?

Paul in the Bible received a new beginning – a “start over”, if you will. A harsh man who made it his life’s goal to persecute Christians, Paul was the furthest thing from one who could be used effectively by God. Wasn’t he?

On the contrary. God used Paul in a mighty way. After Paul’s conversion, he was one of the greatest apostles who ever lived. He endured beatings and spent much time in prison for the sake of the Gospel.

Could you be used for God’s Kingdom?

Probably not if you have a “checkered” past, right? If you’ve done things you’re not proud of, sinned in ways you don’t care to admit, you certainly can’t be used. And definitely, God isn’t going to forgive you for all of those things you did. After all, we’re not talking “minor” sins here.

Again, on the contrary.

God can and will use you.

We serve a  God who is One of second chances, and third chances, and fourth chances. Jesus took all of our sins, past and present, upon Himself when He went to the Cross. Your new beginning means your dry erase board is wiped clean from all of the junk that once cluttered it.

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So how can you have a new beginning?

Commit your life to Him. If you have not made Jesus the Lord and Savior of your life, that is the first step.

After you have made a decision for Christ, you are forgiven. You have a new beginning. You also have eternal life and will spend eternity with Him. Nothing can ever take you from His hand (John 10:28). But it doesn’t stop there. Find a Bible-based church where the pastor digs into the Word and preaches it each week. Find a mature Christian to mentor you in your walk.

Spend time in the Bible. The Old Testament is wonderful, and I would highly recommend reading it, but as a new believer, the best place to start is in the New Testament in the Book of John.

Turn your eyes toward Him. Listen and watch things that aren’t contrary to your new faith.

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you (James 4:8).

This year, spend time in prayer to dedicate your life to a new beginning for Christ. As 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us, “the old is gone, the new is here.” And that is definitely something to celebrate!

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Other posts in the “importance series:”

the importance of relying on God

the importance of gratitude

the importance of honesty

3 changes to make in 2019

3 changes to make in 2019

A high percentage of New Year’s Resolutions fail by February. Instead of making a Resolution (or having a list of them), why not decide to make some changes throughout the year?

Here are three suggestions for changes to make in 2019 for you, for your health, and for others.

For you…

Spend more time with the Lord. I have made it my goal to spend time with the Lord first thing when I wake up. I know myself too well that with all of the busyness of the day that He has to be my first priority. As such, the first words that I utter when I wake is “thank You, Lord, for another day. Please help me to glorify you, be a blessing to others, and please keep my family and me healthy and safe.”

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Don’t only take your time reading through a book in the Bible, but if you have a Bible with commentary, read those notes as well to fully understand what God is trying to tell us through His Word. Go as slowly as you need to in order to understand what you are reading.

Start a prayer notebook. Add in specific prayers for those you care about, plus any strangers (such as someone you read about online who just lost a family member). Also be sure to add in prayers that the Lord has answered.

Listen to upbeat music. There is so much negativity in some of the current songs these days. However, there is also an abundance of options for positive and hopeful music.  K-love radio is a wonderful alternative solution when listening to music.

Cut back on news consumption. Watching and reading too much news can be overwhelming and discouraging.

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For your health…

Eating healthy is an important goal. But if you plan to make it a goal just to “eat healthier,” you may not succeed. Instead, choose one or two food items to add to your menu that you are able to commit to eating. For instance, I detest broccoli – always have. But I determined last year to incorporate it into my diet slowly and intermittently. So far, my plan has been successful.

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Revamp the typical resolutions. Losing weight and getting fit are at the top of New Year’s Resolutions. It’s common at the gym where I workout and teach a cycling spin class that January will be a crazy busy month and then return to “normal” attendance by mid-February. Instead of just saying you’ll lose weight and get fit, make  your goal specific and manageable. Plan to go to the gym three times a week or take one new class for the next six weeks. Or plan to incorporate 20 minutes of weight training twice a week. One of my goals last year was to be sure I spent ample time stretching after a workout. Too often, sufficient stretching would (unwisely) be the thing that would suffer if I ran out of time.

Listen to music while working out. It will your game and make the time go faster. Check out these workout song suggestions or this ultimate list of workout songs.

Offer yourself small rewards at several junctures of attaining your goals. You made it through the first session of kickboxing. How about that new workout top you’ve been eyeing as a reward? Just be sure not to make sugary treats your motivation for working out. 🙂

Declutter your life and your home. Again, start small and aim to declutter one manageable area at a time.

Speaking of decluttering? Sometimes, sadly, it’s time to weed your garden of friends as well.

Rethink friendships. God tells us in His Word to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44). Thankfully, He doesn’t say we have to hang out with toxic people – those who cause us undue distress or are cruel or unkind. If you have someone in your life who is jealous, hateful, abusive, a gossiper, or any other type of negative person, it’s time to spend less time with them. Not to be unkind or to retaliate, but to distance yourself from that person and the negative effects they can have on you and your health.

Learn to say no. Easier said than done, but sometimes we have to cut back on the massive amount of things we undertake on a daily basis. Pray for God’s wisdom this year, that He would show you what to cut back on and not feel guilty about it.

For others… (click on the blue links for specific suggestions).

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Volunteer. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Volunteers spent a median of 52 hours on volunteer activities during the period from September 2014 to September 2015.” Volunteering can range from coaching a soccer team for kids, to delivering meals to the elderly, to teaching Sunday School.

Bless others in unexpected ways and perform random acts of kindness.

Encourage others.

Help those going through a difficult time.

Instill in your children the importance of serving others.

What are some changes you plan to make this year?

From my family to yours, Happy New Year!

 

 


*Note: Movie Monday will return next Monday.