watching, reading, and writing stories

Jackie Robinson and Making a Difference

Image Source

The other night I got to see 42 the Jackie Robinson movie that was released a couple of years ago. I love historical films and seeing how people who stand up for what’s right can make a change in the lives around them. I was so impressed with the Christian elements in this story, especially when Jackie had to face verbal and sometimes physical abuse and constant threats but that by doing it, he brought racism into the light and showed it for what it was.

As the movie progressed it showed more and more people realizing their own racist views were wrong and they began to change and see the need for others to change as well. Racism was and still is a big problem in the world, but seeing how things were and how they are now, I’m excited to see improvement. And it gives me hope that other issues in our society these days can change as well.

But the way you bring about change is just as important as what you’re trying to change. Just because what you want to change is needed and important doesn’t mean you can go about it however you see fit and to the hurt of others. We need to face this world’s problems with a heavenly perspective and rely on Jesus’s strength. I’m still learning what that means practically.

Sometimes it might mean staying quiet and not fueling arguments. Jackie Robinson did that a lot, he had to resist the temptation to lash out and defend himself. Sometimes it means speaking up on someone else’s behalf like Jackie’s teammates started doing for him. And sometimes it’s pointing people back to what the truth is, as Branch Rickey did when he told the people around him what the Bible said about what they were doing. He wasn’t very popular, but sometimes that’s what is needed.

But over all these practical things, the biggest thing to remember is that change ultimately comes from God. We can have good intentions, say the right things, be a godly example to those around us and still nothing will change. What only God can fix is the root of every single problem in our world: the sinful heart. Without that change, any other change can’t happen or won’t last. So pray, pray, pray for God to work and follow where He leads, and one day Jesus will return and He will restore this world to perfection.

Leave a comment »

Star Trek Beyond and Jason Bourne

Image Source

Image Source 2

This weekend I got to see two movies that I’d really been looking forward to, so I thought I’d review both of them in one post. It was odd seeing Star Trek Beyond and Jason Bourne so close to each other. I normally watch kid movies and the types of previews that come before these sort of films are not very uplifting. There were so many shooters, assassins, and thriller commercials that it got to be a bit too much for me. With all that’s been happening in our real world, seeing more violence in these previews was not at all appealing to me. It reminded me why I usually go for the more family focused films.

But despite Star Trek and Jason Bourne being more adult films and having plenty of action and violence, I still enjoyed myself. Star Trek was very similar to the last 2 films and Jason Bourne was very similar to the original trilogy. They both had cool action scenes, with flying spaceships and explosions in one, and fistfights and car chases in the other.

I felt like I was on a roller coaster ride in Star Trek, partly because I was in the front row and could barely see the whole screen with my peripheral vision. But the shaky cam in Jason Bourne did just as good a job of sucking me into the action. (Though it could make it difficult to know what was happening).

So if you like action films, check out either of these two films, and you won’t be disappointed.

Now on to a deeper level, I noticed that Star Trek and Jason Bourne have fundamentally different set ups. Star Trek is about a crew, almost a family, having to solve problems, work together, and use their varying skills and talents to overcome huge obstacles. No matter what they face, they stick together and don’t give up on each other. The villain in this movie, as in countless other movies, says this is what makes them weak. But the crew firmly believes that it is a strength to have each other.

Jason Bourne, on the other hand, is a protagonist that we’re rooting for but he doesn’t rely on others very much. He’s not on a team, he’s by himself. And though he occasionally works with others or shows care for others, it usually ends up being just him against insurmountable odds. But because he’s Jason Bourne, he always comes out on top.

Thinking of this in my own life, I would rather be in a Star Trek type situation rather than a Jason Bourne one. I like having a team of people around me that support and encourage me rather than being able to handle everything on my own. There is some discomfort in not being able to take care of myself all on my own, but there is such a sweet bond that people share when they help each other and depend on each other. And I’d rather have that than the ability to do it alone. It also reminds me of the Body of Christ and how we aren’t good at everything, but by working together we build each other up in love and glorify God. He designed us to be a part of something bigger than ourselves and to help others but also receive help from others.

Well anyway, those are a few of my random thoughts after seeing the movies. I hope you enjoy one or both of these films.

Leave a comment »

Finding Dory and Worry

Image Source

I got to see Finding Dory, finally. I loved Finding Nemo and I’ve been waiting for this sequel for forever! Anyway, I noticed in the movie that Dory is very worried about her short term memory loss and that she will forget something important. And then I read this article about someone who deals with anxiety by keeping herself distracted and doing all these things to keep her busy. And then one of my good friends was in a car accident and she’s been dealing with all of the crazy stress and thoughts of why this happened to her. So anyway, I thought I’d sum up all my thoughts on these things in one blog post.

So here it goes. First off, if all you want to know is how Finding Dory compares to Finding Nemo, then it was great! If you loved the first movie, you’ll love the sequel. There are old characters that still make you laugh and a lot of new characters that are just as charming and hilarious. I definitely saw some similarities in the storyline to the first film. But there are enough changes to this movie, that it’s not a problem. I loved that we get to see Dory’s past, especially since she had forgotten what it was in the first film. It was great to see her piecing together her history and where she came from and who she is, but also realizing that her current relationships are just as important as her past ones.
Now I don’t want to ruin the movie for any of you out there who haven’t seen the film, so I’ll just leave you with a preview:

But as for the bigger picture, Dory, along with all of us, can get caught up in life and what is happening now and forget to think about the big picture stuff, like why are we here? What’s our purpose? Does my life really matter? I think these kind of questions can sometimes cause anxiety if we never address them.

And the article I read brought up some similar points and mentioned other negative thoughts that people who are anxious have running through their head. Here are some of the thoughts that I found familiar:
“You’re not good enough.”
“You’re a bad friend.”
“What are you doing with yourself?”
“You’re a fraud. Just good at faking it.”
“Everyone else has it together but you.”
“So many people have it tougher than you.”

Click here to check out the original post

So whether you’re dealing with a traumatic event, or just the everyday busyness and life’s little problems, anxiety can trap us. We get stuck thinking negative thoughts and we need to stop. Dory “just kept swimming” to deal with this problem and focused on just doing the next thing. And the lady in the article I read suggested taking a second to stop and be still.

But what I’ve found is that no matter what situation I’m in, the best thing to help me not be anxious is taking my problem to God. Remembering that He is in control, He is good, He has a plan, and He loves me puts those negative thoughts back in their place. They are lies and attacks and I don’t need to listen to them. As I turn my gaze to the One who loves me, who died in my place, who has good in store for me and will never leave me alone or abandon me, I find a peace that transcends understanding.

So I hope this post encourages you today.

Leave a comment »

Me Before You

Me Before You (film).jpg

Image Source

Movie review time again, yay! I’ve been waiting to see “Me Before You” for a long time and I was excited that it worked out with my friend to watch it last night. This is definitely one of those chick flick movies, so if that’s not your preference, feel free to stop reading. But I found the film very enjoyable. It’s definitely more of a tearjerker movie and not as much of a romantic comedy. Although, there were definitely a lot of funny moments in the film and I enjoyed laughing along with the rest of the audience.

But in the end, this is not a happily ever after type movie. From the beginning we can tell that this romance is mixed with tragedy. One of the main characters William, is involved in an accident at the beginning of the film and has to deal with the pain, humiliation, and changes that come from having a spinal cord injury. The plotline focuses on his growing relationship with Louisa. She tries to brighten up his life, make him smile, laugh and focus on the good. It is fun and sometimes laughable to see her efforts at cheering him up throughout the film.

But then we find out that William has decided to end his life. It’s a decision that he made before he even met Louisa, and the audience cheers her on as she tries to change his mind. But despite her best efforts, the film progresses toward this assumed ending. This definitely brings out the tears. But more than that, it brought up some questions and a good discussion with my friend.

As Christians, we could see something missing from Louisa’s efforts to save William. She was trying to convince him to keep living in a world full of pain, loss and disappointment. She wanted to make him happy, but he didn’t want to trap her in his world and keep her from living. No matter what she said, she couldn’t change his mind. Then my friend said, “If only he’d known Jesus.” It was a short comment, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it. There are so many people that live through horrific circumstances and don’t give up. They may live in pain every single day and a lot of people see them and think it would be better if they were put out of their sufferings. But they have a hope and they refuse to stop living.

I went home after the movie thinking about this and then happened to read this passage:

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”

2 Corinthians 1:8-10 “For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.”

I think if William had known Jesus, he could have kept living. Because Jesus not only comforts us in our hardships and delivers us from our despair, but He also gives us a hope and a promise. No matter how hard this life gets, He has promised that those who follow Him will have eternal life. All of the hardships from this life will be redeemed, and will be worth it. All of the sacrifices we made will mean something. Jesus gives us a reason to keep living.

So anyway, those were my thoughts after seeing this movie. If you enjoy a good chick-flick, check it out.

Leave a comment »

Mother’s Day

Image Source

Well I got to see the movie “Mother’s Day” today with my good friend. So I thought I’d write a review for the film. It’s similar to the movie “Valentine’s Day” released a few years ago and also follows the lives of several families as they celebrate the holiday. Unlike “Valentine’s Day,” however, this movie covers more than just the one day. It gives us a look into the families varied lives before the holiday happens. It is a touching movie with many heartfelt moments. I did tear up a couple times. But there are also plenty of hilarious moments to laugh at and keep you entertained. All in all it was a good movie to watch, and a good reminder that mothers and fathers are all important. They definitely deserve more than one day of appreciation. So even though Mother’s Day is over, and Father’s Day isn’t till next month, I’m going to take a moment to thank my parents for all that they have done and still do for me. And I hope you do too.

Mom, you’ve been there for me, before I can even remember. You’ve done so many things without being thanked, even once. Countless dishes have been cleaned, the laundry washed and dried, floors swept, mopped and cleared of toys. You bought me clothes and taught me to sew. You made so many meals for me and then taught me how to cook my own food. If I ever have a problem, or a question, you’re the one I go to for advice. I love you so much! I’m so thankful for your constant presence in my life, and for not only your care, but your friendship. I’m so glad you’re my mom.

Dad, thank you for working so hard to provide for our family, for putting in the long hours and pushing through the stress and difficulties with your job. I’ve always had what I needed because of you. Thank you for taking the time to play with me as a kid, to read me bedtime stories and teach me to ice skate. Thank you for all of the Daddy-Daughter dates and teaching me what I should expect from a man. You taught me how to dance, how to navigate, how to organize and make wise choices. You’ve given me such a great example and I am so thankful for your love. I love you! And I’m so glad that you are my dad.


Leave a comment »

Civil War

Official poster shows the Avengers team factions which led by Iron Man and Captain America, confronting each other by looking each other, with the film's slogan above them, and the film's title, credits, and release date below them.

Image Source

I’ve been joking with all my friends that I’m going to spoil the Civil War for them, then I say “Lee Surrenders and Lincoln dies.” But of course they aren’t talking about the American Civil War, they’re talking about Marvel’s latest movie: Captain America: Civil War. I will try not to give away any big spoilers, but in case you don’t want to see anything about the movie, just go watch it for yourself.

So, first impressions after the movie: wow a lot happened. This movie is over 2 hours long and there are so many characters now in this Marvel Universe, that it can be a bit hard to keep track of them all. I have to admit, I got a little lost with the villain in this movie. He didn’t have red skin, or a metal arm, so I didn’t always realize it was the same guy when he kept popping up in different places. But I think that was part of the point: villains aren’t always trying to take over the world. Sometimes, they’re just normal people who are reacting to their situation in the wrong way. One of the main themes in this film is revenge, which makes sense, I mean we are dealing with the Avengers here. But so many characters are dealing with the loss of someone they really cared about. Tony Stark’s parents and more specifically his mom, were killed when he was younger, one of Steve Rodger’s last friends Peggy Carter dies, a new character loses his father in a terrorist attack, and even our villain has lost his family.

But how the characters respond to this loss is varied. In Cap’s case, Peggy merely died in her sleep. She was old, it was her time. There’s nothing he could do. So he deals with her death in the best way. He goes to her funeral and moves on.

Tony seems to have moved on from his mother’s death, but this is because he doesn’t know who is responsible. He has nowhere to place blame, so he tries to just deal with the sense of loss with technology and recreating how he would have said goodbye to his mom. However, when he discovers who is responsible, he immediately thinks that person should pay, and tries to kill them.

Our villain has lost his entire family and blames the Avenger’s team for their role in it. Though it was not intentional, and the Avengers were trying to save lives, he still holds them responsible and decides to seek revenge by breaking up their team.

And our last character who is dealing with loss, or at least the last one I’m going to look at is the Black Panther. When he first loses his father, he reacts the same way as the villain and Tony: he wants revenge. He tries to kill the person who he blames for the attack, even though we eventually find out that person was framed. As he continues to seek the real cause of his father’s death, he eventually finds the villain. But instead of killing him, as he had unsuccessfully tired to do to the original suspect, Black Panther comes to a realization. Seeking revenge is not the answer, killing this person will not make everything better.

I love this message, especially as a Christian. I couldn’t help thinking of the Bible verse: “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written, ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the LORD.” (Romans 12:19) Seeking revenge is consuming and hurtful, not only to others, but to yourself. Jesus teaches us to instead forgive our enemies.

So anyway, this movie was fun, it had plenty of witty dialogue and cool action scenes. The characters were believable and enjoyable to watch. So I hope you enjoy watching this movie as well.

Leave a comment »

The Jungle Book and Community

Image Source

I was hanging out with some girlfriends this past Saturday and one of them mentioned seeing a movie. I suggested the Jungle Book, since I thought the remake looked interesting and I’d heard some good things about it. The suggestion was met with exclamations of “Yes!” So a few hours later I went with 3 close friends to the mall to see this remake of a childhood classic.

In many ways this movie holds true to the original animated Disney movie. Most of the characters are the same and they even have updated versions of the classic songs “The Bare Necessities” and “I Wanna Be Like You.” However, there are some noticeable changes, most of which I enjoy. For example, we get a lot more screen time and character development with Mowgli’s wolf family, especially his mother. This was sorely lacking in the original movie, and I appreciated seeing the pack or family mentality woven into the film.

The movie also has a darker tone than the original. There is a lot more action, fear, and a more developed villain. Sher Khan doesn’t just hunt Mowgli, he is the one who killed his father. And he even kills the wolf leader because they don’t hand Mowgli over to him. And Kaa isn’t a bumbling snake that easily loses his prey, instead she is a cleaver seductress that would have killed Mowgli if Baloo hadn’t shown up.

Mowgli is also shown to be a very unique and likable character. He realizes he is not like the other creatures around him and develops his own solutions or “tricks” to problems, such as making a scoop to collect water. He gets in trouble for these “tricks” at first, but later it is seen to be his strength. He also is very aware of other’s needs and wants to help. When he sees how his staying with the wolves is causing a conflict, he decides to leave, and when he sees a baby elephant stuck in the mud, he helps it out.

I also love how Sher Khan is defeated in this film. Instead of Mowgli tying a burning stick to his tail, all of the animals of the jungle pitch in to help Mowgli. Ultimately Mowgli is the one who has to trick the tiger into his death, but I really loved seeing all of the other creatures taking part in the action. It reinforced the importance of the pack, or community. I especially enjoyed this because I love the message for us as well.

If we try to face our problems on our own, it’s hard and we probably won’t make it. But when we look out for each other and care for each other, we can overcome huge things. I’ve seen this firsthand with how my city has gone through disastrous flooding over and over again. If we just let our neighbors deal with their own issues and don’t offer to help, the whole community suffers. But when we come together to bless each other, it strengthens everyone.

We all need friendship and community to get through life’s personal or communal tragedies. And this movie does a good job of showing that. At the end of the film, I expected Mowgli to go back to live in the man village, just as he does in the old movie. But he doesn’t, instead he stays with his real community, his jungle friends who he’s helped and who have helped him. They really have become his family.

So I hope you take the time to go see this film, I really enjoyed it and I think you will too.

Leave a comment »

God’s Not Dead 2 Review

Image Source

Yesterday I went to the theater with my good friend and we saw God’s Not Dead 2. This is the sequel to God’s Not Dead. I wasn’t sure exactly what this film would be covering and I was pleasantly surprised to see some of the previous film’s characters appear again in this movie. Though the main story line is new and there are several new characters in the film, it was enjoyable to see how people’s lives had continued since the previous story. Therefore I would suggest seeing the first movie before watching this one, though I think you could enjoy it either way.

Whereas the first movie is centered on a college campus and one student standing up to his professor about the existence of God, this film instead focuses on a high school teacher who answers a question about Jesus in her classroom and then faces the school board and a jury to decide if her action was in line with the law. The story, though fictionalized, reflects several real court cases around the United States and at the end of the film, these cases are referenced.

I don’t want to spoil the whole film for those that want to see it for themselves, but I’ll say that I enjoyed it. I really liked seeing the old familiar characters still growing in their new faith or applying the lessons they had learned from the previous film. It reminded me that real life isn’t like a Hollywood movie where everything works out in the end and there are no problems once the credits roll. These recurring characters have to explore their new found faith, decide what they really believe and if they will hold to their decision despite the consequences. However, I don’t think the “God’s Not Dead” tagline worked as well in this film. The prosecutor claiming that this court decision would prove that God was dead, didn’t seem to make much sense. And everyone claiming that God’s Not Dead near the end of the film, though fun to watch, didn’t seem very realistic either. I know this tagline comes because it is a sequel to the first film, but I just don’t think it fit in as well with this plot.

One last tidbit in case you are planning on seeing this movie: there is an end credit scene. I was lucky enough to stay till the end of the film so I did see it, but everyone else in the theater had left, so if you do go see this movie, stick around till the very end.

Leave a comment »

Miracles From Heaven Review

Image Source

So I saw this movie last week and since I couldn’t think of any other topic to write about this week, I thought I’d review it. This is another in a long line of Christian based films that have come out in recent years. It is nice to have high quality films in theaters that have faith based messages and compelling stories. This particular movie is based on a true story of a girl in Texas with a horrible stomach issue that was slowly killing her. In the course of the film she undergoes several tests, treatments, and a lot of pain. She gets to the point of not wanting to live anymore and her family takes her home for the time she has left with them. And then she has an accident and falls inside a dead tree. Miraculously she does not have any serious injuries from the fall and is also cured from her disease.

It is a heart wrenching story and I admit I cried several times during the film. I have had family members and friends go through horrible heath problems and it’s so hard to feel like there is nothing you can do about it. But what I really loved about this film, is that is shows not only the big miracle of this girl being healed, but it also showed the little miracles or ways that love was shown throughout the film: A friend taking care of the remaining kids while the parents rushed off to the hospital, or a waitress taking off work so she can show the mother and daughter around her hometown and lift their spirits. All those little moments of caring for someone else more than yourself, was a little miracle, a little reminder that God cared.

And what excites me about this, is that we all can be a part of God’s miracles, of His work in this world. We can show love in those little ways by encouraging a friend, praying with them and for them, bringing over a hot meal, or even crying with them over what’s happened. God’s miracles are all around us and He wants to use us to do them. He invites us to be a part of what He’s doing. So I’d like to encourage you today to say “Yes!” to Him and obey when He asks you to do something. It may be as simple as opening the door for someone, or smiling and saying thank you to the cashier. It could be buying someone a meal or watching someone’s kids so they can have a night out. Whatever it may be, God can use your little acts of obedience and love to do amazing things that affect eternity.

Leave a comment »

Zootopia and Discrimination

Well, I got to see Zootopia today and boy was that a great movie. I love any movie with an animated world and a good story. And Disney has done a phenomenal job with this one. Not only were the characters well developed, likable, and the story intricate, believable, and entertaining, but this movie strikes a cord with our own current reality. Just as in Zootopia, we cannot help but look at people’s appearances, whether it’s their height, weight, skin color, how they dress, or whatever. We stereotype and discriminate based on people’s appearances. Until we actually stop and get to know someone for who they are, it’s hard to move past these first observations.

Zootopia is able to deal with these adult themes and issues of discrimination and prejudice by creating an animal world that mimics our own. Instead of “white” and “black” or “wealthy” and “poor” we get “predator” and “prey.” But just as in our own world, what you look like on the outside is not what makes you who you are. The villain could be a predator or could just as easily be prey. It isn’t just what you look like, or how you’re treated that defines you, it’s what you do, what you say, how you react, and how you live.

Our heroine Judy Hopps doesn’t give up, even when everyone around her says she can’t be a cop. She doesn’t let other’s discrimination keep her from being who she is. But even though she tries her best to be unbiased towards others and even does noble things like stepping in to make sure a fox gets fair treatment, her own prejudices are still evident. Seeing a person and not just outward appearances is something that she, like everyone, has to learn throughout her life.

I love how this movie takes complicated issues like stereotyping and discrimination and deals with them. There are plenty of surprises in this movie, and several jokes where Disney pokes fun at itself. (Hint: keep a look out for Frozen references). So I highly suggest checking out Zootopia, it’s a great movie for the whole family.

I’ll leave you with some fun photos from the cardboard set up they had at the theater:

Leave a comment »