Sunday, March 23, 2014

God's Not Dead

Taking my son and his friends to see God's Not Dead... a movie in theaters starring Dean Cain and Kevin Sorbo. Heard it was good. Let you know.  5:15pm Sunday, March 23rd.

Ok. So, quick tip. If you are going to keep food in your purse to take into the movie because you didn't have time to eat it before... probably shouldn't make it sushi. Don't get me wrong, the sushi was good, it's just that eating it in the dark can be dangerous. As I popped a slice of California roll into my mouth, I was feeling proud of myself for making a better choice than the greasy, fried or other choices the kids made. Sadly, my pride was quickly replaced by an overwhelming sense of stupidity as I reached into the styrofoam box pulling out what I thought was the last slice of California Roll but was actually a blob of fresh ginger and Wasabi and quickly popped that into my mouth. Now if you are not a sushi eater, you may not know that Wasabi is a very spicy Asian mustard and fresh Ginger, although delicious, is not really to be eaten in a clump. Thank heavens I had a large bottle of water. I am thinking no more sushi at the movies. 

God's Not Dead. When we exited the theater after the movie, we ran into my son's fourth grade teacher who informed me that she read that this movie,,, without much hype or advertising was number three for the weekend. I felt so happy about that. 
The movie was really good. The acting ( aside from the boy's girlfriend) was quite good and the direction was good. It is difficult to tie several stories together to one theme without making it feel choppy, or too contrived when the stories converge. I really liked that the main character, Josh, was a fairly mild mannered guy. I imagine Jesus himself was not a foot stomper, or a loud, imposing person. Josh made his point through his faith, his intelligence and his passion. It was his trust in God that gave him the strength and courage to stand up to his Philosophy professor who insisted all students start the term by signing a declaration that God is dead. This was meant to explain away the atheism they would encounter in the Philosophers they would study. Josh just couldn't bring himself to sign that declaration, and that is where his uphill battle began. 
The movie also touches on many other subjects such as greed and materialism, religious oppression, cultural differences, and an almost viament hatred for Christianity. 

My favorite character was the black missionary who was visiting a local pastor and kept reminding him that God is Good all the time, and all the time God is Good.  He was so peaceful and gently convincing. There was a short but interesting appearance by Willie Robertson of the Duck Dynasty clan which I thought was unexpected. He is really likable and believable. 
The movie ends with a performance by the Newsboys, who I had heard of , but not really heard. Loved their music. I'll have to check it out. 
The movie challenges you to text God's NOT dead to all you know. 

Here's my recommendation Take your kids, go with your bible study, or your MOPS table. Bring some tissue. Fill your heart and mind with something good and wholesome and have some good discussion afterwards. 
I asked the boys in the car on the way home if they would have stood up to the professor. The boys said, "Zack would."   Zack is my kid. I am not entirely sure that was a vote of Christian confidence or an expression of the obvious ( he is a talker, and isn't afraid to say things which can be troublesome at times)
Zachary assured me when we got home that he would indeed refuse to sign that declaration because "it is the opposite of what I believe Mommy."  

God is good all the time, and all the time, God is GOOD!

Easter Decor to Display or Give

Are you crafty? artistic? creative? talented?  Well, even if you're not... think about trying one of these.
An Easter Birdhouse!! It can be as easy or ornate as you like, and something you work on a little each day, or finish in an hour! Soooo cute as a decoration or to give away.

FIRST  Visit a craft store like Michael's, Joann's, or Hobby Lobby. Get one or more paintable wooden birdhouses.

NEXT  Decide what medium or mediums you want to use to decorate it. Let's talk about options:

1.  Paint   Acrylic paints work well on wood.
2.  Stamp  Stamps and the right ink can be used also.
3. Decoupage:  You could use stickers, magazine cut outs of eggs, chicks, a cross, bunnies, flowers, etc.
                        and paint over all with Modge Podge. Magazine cut outs of phrases like Happy Easter or
                        Spring can be added too.
4. Cover:  Paint the house with glue and cover with finely cut Easter grass, confetti, moss, wood chips,
                leaves, etc. then finish with a bow, or little eggs around the bottom or a birdie on the roof.
This one has lace, rhinestones, paper flowers, and a fabric fence with a pom pom chick peeking out. CUTE!

They sell unpainted little houses that look like churches too if you want to go that route.
Or.. you can just paint the house a pastel color like pink, mint green, or yellow and sprinkle with flaked glitter. Add a few foil covered chocolate eggs and you have a darling centerpiece!
Look at this fancy one!! Paper flowers, butterflies, birdies, pearls, lace and bows. What little girl wouldn't love this in her Easter Basket, or collage one herself to display on the mantle.

The important thing about "Creating" is to have fun, to try something new... not to expect perfection. 

Heck, Have a birdhouse decorating party with some friends. Give them to an Assisted Living Center for the elderly to enjoy. 
Let your kids create, watch The Easter Beagle together, bake some bunny shaped cookies. 
Have Fun!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Make a Fairy House!

Spring sings of flowers and gardens and birdies and such. Especially if you have a daughter, consider making a Fairy House in your backyard. Find a little spot near a tree or under a bush that you can easily reach. Flatten the dirt with a spoon or small shovel and sprinkle with blades of grass, flower petals, or even moss from the craft store. Outline the area with pebbles or bark. You can even make a little fairy bed of leaves and petals if you like. The fun is in the discussion you have with your child while preparing the fairy house. "How big do you think a fairy is?" "What do they eat?" Where do they go during the day?" etc. There are lots of fairy books available at the library. Check out a used book store to hunt down a child's fairy book or even a well read copy of Peter Pan. Watch one of the Disney Fairy movies.

* Here's the real fun! Tell your kids that the fairies need a place to sleep in the garden, so you are building a house in hopes they might pick your garden (or patio, or porch... whatever you have.) You can check the fairy house each day to see if one might have been there. Are the leaves of her bed moved? Is the blueberry you left eaten? Make a little blanket of fabric, put a small solar light nearby. Remember making things for your Barbies? Have fun with it. Make sure if you leave a berry, that you remember to take out a small bite when no one is looking. The thrill on the faces of your kids is so worth it.

* If you really want to get fancy, you can buy little pieces of fairy sized items at a nursery, or check out this fairy door sold in the Victorian Trading Catalog. Super cute.
Did you know Fairies leave teeny tiny notes? Did you know Fairies leave behind sparkles? Did you know that Fairies can leave teeny little gifts like little jeweled rings and bracelets? (party favors work great)

When a Fairy has finished her work in a particular garden, she may leave a goodbye note or a trinket and be on her way. Fare Thee Well Little Fairy, and come again next spring!!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Everything's Coming up Green!!

I know, St. Patrick's Day is celebrated here in the states for just a few reasons:
 1. An excuse to drink green beer
 2. An excuse to pinch someone
 3. A reason to wear green 
 4. A reason to cook a big pot of corned beef and cabbage
 5. A great reason to bake Irish Soda Bread. 

Consider some of these fun family ideas:

1. Call your kids by name with a Mc or an O' in front of it. 
   i.e. My kids would be McDarcie and O'Zachary
2. Make a leprechaun trap with an empty box,a stick to hold it      up, and either gold coins or lucky charms left underneath to 
   tempt the leprechaun.When kids are away,take out the coins,      and drop the box. Let the kids find it. That naughty    leprechaun took the gold!! Finally, on St. Patty's day,take 
   out the coins, but leave a treat..a green lollipop,green
   beads or funny glasses.(party store has it all) 
3. Make little green cupcakes with white frosting and gold 
4. Cut out four leaf clovers and hide them around the house. 
   When one is found.. a prize is won. 
5. Make green playdoh. 
6. Leave little signs that the leprechaun has visited.( a chair  
   on the table, a picture hung upside down, a vase of flowers
   in the fridge... etc. 
7. Play Irish music. 
8. Read an Irish Folk tale. 
9. Watercolor rainbows and pots of gold. 
10.Have tea and cookies.     

More Mad for British TV and Movies

Really? Downton Abbey is over already? What kind of a "season" is that? Listen, I grew up in the 70's and 80's and even the 90's had the same TV programming schedule. The new seasons used to begin in September, just like the school year, October at the latest. We used to look forward to the first shows of the season because we had waited all summer to see what would happen next. In the summers were all reruns so you could watch the shows you missed during the season. There was an order to the world!  Now there is no knowing when something starts, when it is over, if it is returning, let alone which of a million channels it will be on.
 I have to say, the Downton Finale was pretty darn good. That Mr. Barrow, what a weasel. So are they coming back in a few months, or a year, or what? How long was this "season" anyway? Seems like only 6 or 7 weeks. Well, in the mean time, have you seen "Call the Midwife?" It's fantastic! Season 1 and 2 are available on DVD or streaming on Amazon. The contrast of the happy go lucky music of the fifties and the dreary streets of the East End of London is a great backdrop for this series about young midwives and nuns working in the lower class areas after the war, each week offering more than just plots to be acted, but life lessons, tears, and laughter. I am loving getting to know the characters, especially Chumley, the overly tall, often bumbling nurse who is in her own way the strongest of them all. Like other British series which are so vastly different from anything being produced here in the states right now, I feel as if I am reading instead of just watching the episodes. There is a depth and building of characters that pulls you in and makes you want to follow them, not just the stories. 

The Devil Runs the DMV

Welcome to the Department of Motor Vehicles 

If this photo brings back any memories for you, I am sorry to remind you of such a sad time in your life. I was describing my Wednesday at the DMV to my bible study girls, and they insisted I blog about it. Lord help me, I had no appointment. I usually try to deal with any and all DMV business at the Auto Club office near my house. We had recently been forced to visit the San Clemente Ca office for my daughter to take her permit test. This is the office we usually choose. It is near the beach, which somehow takes a bit of the sting out of going. It doesn't seem to be as crowded. Right now, it isn't open. Building refurbishment or some such. 
My daughter's driving test was approaching, and although the registration on her car "to be" had long been paid, we still needed the license plate tags which were held up by a proof there was no lapse in insurance when we got the car. The gal at the AAA had told me I could only take care of this issue at the DMV office itself. I shuddered, and immediately put it off as long as possible. 
Well, there was no more time. Those tags had to be on the car for my daughter's test. So, Wednesday mid morning which I was told was a good time, (there is NO good time to go to the DMV) I headed for the DMV office in Laguna Hills, California. I got in a line much like the one pictured above.There were at least 40 people in the line outside the building, another 20 or so inside the building. And that was just to get to the desk to get a number!!! I spent two and a half hours making small talk with the people in line around me, people watching (whoa!! they let these people drive??) and shifting from one foot to the other on the hard cement. I was tired and my stomach was growling. I started to smell a mix of bad breath and slight perspiration... maybe it was mine. Gross. 
I briefly showed the man at the info/number desk my paperwork and explained my dilemma very quickly feeling jabbing eyes all around me calling; Hurry up Hurry up! He said O.K. and handed me a number. B082. 

So, here is my monster mistake. I asked the man how long the wait would be now that I had obtained my number. Gargantuan Error. Huge Blunder. Enormous screw up. Get the idea?

He answered quickly, "At least an hour." and went on to the next victim. 
Oh! I thought brightly. Oh good! I thought foolishly. I have time to run to the little restaurant 3 doors down and grab a bite. And that's what I did. I gave myself only 35 minutes just to be safe. and returned quickly to the DMV and plopped in a chair awaiting my turn. As I fidgeted in the plastic seat, I noticed I did not recognize any of the faces from the people who had been in line with me. Where did they go? There must be at lease one here somewhere. Oh! there's the balding guy with the grey pants... no, that's not him. Wait, the lady with the stroller. Oh. There are loads of ladies with strollers. No, none of them were here. Did I miss my number? How could that be? I was only gone... then I knew it. For the first time today, maybe in DMV history, and the precise day I came, the line with numbers went faster than expected. This is a miracle! This is unheard of! This... totally sucks. I missed my number and now I have to go slinking up to the side of the information desk where you are instantly invisible and dodging the dagger glances of those in the official line. I have to ask the man if I missed my number, which will likely encourage an Are you kidding me, lady look from him, and an  Are you an idiot?  look from anyone in line who overhears me. I feel like yelling, "No, I am not kidding, and yes I am an idiot!" before I even get up to the desk. I nervously and a little too loudly and the guy if I missed my number. As is suspected, he looks at me with a mix of pity and disgust. He checks. "Yah, they called that a while back." A while back? I was only gone 35 minutes. " You told me it would be over an hour." I said weakly. He just looked at me with droopy dog eyes and said, "It went faster." 

The man handed me a new number. B108. Great. Not only am I now 26 B numbers behind, they are calling mostly A and H and some C's. Ugh!
One and a half hours later, an electronic voice calls B108. I jump up from my catatonic state and head for window 6. The lady behind window 6 takes my paperwork and smiles at me. "Oh!" she says. Uh oh, I think. 
"You can't clear this in a field office," she continues. "You need to go on line or call this number (pointing to a number on the sheet the AAA have given me) and get a claim number. She smiled and gave me back my paperwork. I was stunned. I spoke quietly and through clenched teeth. "I have been here for four hours," I told her. "I showed my paperwork to the man at the desk and he gave me a number." I said. "Why didn't he tell me I couldn't do this here?" I think the woman could tell I was about to go postal at the DMV. She smiled carefully and asked, "Do you have a phone?" She suggested I go outside and call the number on the sheet, and if I can get a claim number I could come directly to her window and she would help me. 
I went outside. I plopped on the steel bench and pulled out my phone. 4% battery. A digital voice on the other end of the line said, "The waiting time is now one and one half hours. Please leave a call back number or stay on the line." 
I jumped in my car. It was about 3pm and if I could retrieve this number on line, I could race back and go to her window and be done with this nightmare. I called my daughter at High School. "I can't pick you up." I screamed accidentally. "But Mom, what am I supposed to do?" "Figure it out." I said quickly and hung up. 2% battery. 
I flew to my mom's house which is closer to the DMV than my own and asked to borrow her computer real fast, it was an emergency. She said she thought I had been at the DMV that morning. The look on my face must have said it all, because she left the room and told my dad to leave me alone, it was important. 
My hand shook a little as I typed in the address on line and navigated the site. It asked for a pin number. I had no stinking pin number!! Another hurdle. I called the AAA office and explained my plight. The angel on the other end of the line lead me back to sanity. "Use this number," she said sweetly, "and I will stay on the line with you and we'll figure this out. She must have sensed my desperation. We got the claim number, and I think my blood pressure dropped 10 points. The AAA woman said I didn't need to return to the DMV and that she could finish the job at her office which is near my house. I drove there in a fog. TEXT: I got a ride home. Oh good. 1% battery. 
The lady at the AAA office took care of everything. She printed and stapled and put everything my daughter would need into a special envelope. She told me that gal who had told me to go to the DMV with this issue had since been let go. "Oh really." I offered, no emotion whatsoever. 
When I arrived home, my daughter asked annoyed, "Where have you been all this time?" I wanted to say hell. I imagine hell will have long lines with completely uninterested employees and windows where they tell you "Sorry I can't help you get to heaven after all." And then they make you get in a new line.