Saturday, February 28, 2015

McFarland, USA Movie Review

McFarland, USA
Image Credit:  McFarland Movie Press Release Image

McFarland, USA Movie Review

In honor of her 20th birthday, my daughter wanted our family to get together to see a movie.  She chose McFarland, USA.  As a former Cross Country runner, she was interested in the story line.

Kevin Costner plays the part of Coach Jim White.  Coach White’s lack of control over his temper gets him relieved from his football coaching job, forcing him to move his family to McFarland, a predominately Latino community in California.  The town is also one of the poorest communities in the country – or at least it was in 1987.  McFarland, USA is based on the true story of Coach Jim White and several young students who form a small “under-dog” Cross Country team.  During the team’s quest to rise from the bottom, Coach White has a lot to learn about the culture of his new community and the lives of his new students.  The 7 boys who agree to form the team learn a lot about Coach White too.

This movie is a fantastic family movie highlighting family loyalty, excellent work ethics, setting priorities, friendships, and of course,  overcoming obstacles.

This film is a Disney movie which is rated PG for thematic material, some violence, and language.  It is directed by Niki Caro and written by William Broyles Jr. , Grant Thompson, Bettina Gilois, Christopher Cleveland, and Chris Cleveland.  It runs approximately 2 hours and 9 minutes.

Watch the movie trailer!

I am passionate about clean family drama films and even though this movie does have a couple of words that I consider bad words and there are some adult themes that very young children will not necessarily understand, I recommend this film.  You can take your entire family and leave the theater knowing your kids learned something about life, inspiration, overcoming obstacles, family loyalty, work ethics, cultural differences, developing relationships, and making and keeping commitments.  You will also know your money was well spent.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Christian Marriage: What Romance Looks Like

Christian Marriage
Images Used by Permission via Fireproof Press Release

Christian Marriage: What Romance Looks Like

“You never, ever leave your partner, especially in a fire.” ~ Caleb Holt, Fireproof

That is one of the first lines in one of the first scenes from the movie, Fireproof.  Kirk Cameron’s character, Caleb Holt, was referring to a standard rule in a fire fight, but his passion for this rule proves powerful in marriage as well.  The rest of the film builds on this truth.

Marriage is hard even in the best of circumstances.  Even the strongest Christian marriages are not immune from destructive influences.  In fact, Godly homes are a threat to the devil, so he will most certainly try to destroy them.  In the movie, Caleb and Catherine Holt are ready to end a marriage destroyed by internet pornography, materialistic selfishness, and temptations of adultery.  Catherine wants out of the marriage and that is fine with Caleb

Caleb’s own parents have endured their own marital problems, but one of them came to know Jesus and God led the couple through something called the Love Dare.  Through the Love Dare, couples learn to nurture their marriages by honoring God first and then loving one another selflessly.  Caleb learns about the Love Dare and then, half-heartedly at first, begins his 40 Day journey.

As a fire-fighter, Caleb knows the life-saving value of sticking with your partner in a fire fight.  He knows this rule is vital for survival and if abandoned, can result in the death of the abandoned fire-fighter, permanently ending the partnership.  Caleb learns to apply this truth to his failing marriage and he is resolved to “never leave his partner, especially in the middle of the fire.”

I don’t want to give away too much for those who have not seen it, but when I was asked to participate in a collaborative post effort about Biblical marriage and what romance really looks like, I could not think of a better example than the one given in the movie Fireproof.

When we think of romance, we tend to think like teenagers.  We associate romance with flowers, candy, and surprise date nights.  Those things are wonderful and as a wife of almost 24 years, I love those things but I’ve also learned that romance is much more than that.

Honestly, sometimes romance within the boundaries of Biblical marriage is nothing like that at all.
Romance within a Biblical marriage sometimes means doing the hard thing.  It means we realize that love is not just a feeling, but also a commitment.

So to answer the question, what does romance look like in the context of a Biblical marriage?

It is a decision to remain committed through better or worse.  It is a decision to love intentionally, unconditionally, and selflessly, like Christ loves His church.  It is a decision to show that love even when it is hard.  It is a commitment.  It is a covenant before God to be protected and honored, not a contract to be broken simply because life together gets tough.   It is a resolution to never, ever leave your partner, especially in the middle of the fire-fight. When married couples learn to love in this way, the candy, flowers, and surprise gifts and date nights are more fun and meaningful than ever before. - The Love Dare

I know that sometimes, in spite of all their efforts, some couples choose to end their marriages.  Sometimes couples have Biblical grounds to do so, but sometimes they just give up because their idea of romance is out of touch with reality, leaving them hopelessly disappointed.  If you have not watched Fireproof or have not been introduced to the Love Dare, then I encourage you to view the following official trailer and clip, then see the film and go through the materials offered after the videos.  The truths presented about marriage and romance will change your marriage and your life.  I promise.

Enjoy the official move trailer: 

How do we show love to someone over and over and over again who constantly rejects us? We have a good example.

Bible Verses Concerning Marriage 

Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman, ‘ for she was taken out of man.” For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. ~ Genesis 2:22-24 

Haven’t you read,”that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’ ? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” ~ Matthew 19:4-6 

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.- 1 Peter 4:8 

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. – Ecclesiastes 4:12 (The third cord represents God.) 

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? ~ 2 Corinthians 6:14

Christian Marriage:  What Romance Looks Like
What Does a Quiet Time Look Like?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Mema’s Chocolate Oatmeal No-Bake Cookies

Chocolate Oatmeal No-Bake Cookies
Image Credit:  Abundant Family Living (Tina Truelove)

Mema’s Chocolate Oatmeal No-Bake Cookies

No one could make desserts better than my grandmother (we called her Mema).  I am blessed to be the first of fourteen cousins and when we were younger, we all gathered at Mema’s house often.  At Mema’s house, we could always count on lots of food including the best desserts ever made.  One of my favorites was her chocolate oatmeal no-bake cookies.  It is a simple recipe with no secret ingredients, but it does take a little bit of practice to get them just right.

2 Cups Sugar
1/2 Cup Milk
1 Stick Butter
1/4 Cup Cocoa
1 and 1/2 Cups Quick One-Minute Oatmeal (I use Quaker)
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Flavoring
1/4 Cup Peanut Butter

Directions:  In a boiler, add sugar, butter, milk, and cocoa.  Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.  Once the mixture reaches the boiling point, reduce heat from high to medium-high and continue stirring for another 1 min. 30 seconds.  At the sound of the timer, remove from heat and add peanut butter immediately.  Stir in the peanut butter quickly.  Add vanilla.  Then add the oatmeal.  Stir quickly as the mixture will begin to harden immediately. Spoon onto aluminum foil and allow the cookies to cool.  Enjoy with a tall glass of cold milk.

Tips:  These cookies can be tricky.  If they turn out too firm, try adding less oatmeal.  If they don’t harden at all, add more oatmeal.  If you still have trouble getting them to turn out just right, adjust the amount of peanut butter.  They also turn out differently, depending on the humidity.  The trick is to experiment with the recipe until you get it just right.


Need a visual?  This lady might do things slightly different but this is a great video to show you how it’s done.

Remember, humidity can make a big difference so you might have to play around with the recipe a few times until you get it just right. 

If you like this recipe, you might also like this chocolate cobbler recipe. It won't disappoint! 

Mema's Chocolate Oatmeal No Bake Cookies
Chocolate Cobbler Recipe

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