Justice Pirate

wife, homeschooling mom of 2 sons, photographer, abolitionist to end modern-day slavery/human trafficking, aspiring missionary, vintage fashion wearer


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Living the Joyful Hardships When Cutting Out Christmas

Last year I made this post about how we celebrated Hanukkah for the first time while tying it into the celebration of Christ’s coming to light the world and save us from sin while leading us to Our Father.

Three years ago, Our minds were revolutionized by the power of the Gospel of Christ in regards to how we celebrate days of the year and how we started to think more about the Bible in general and how we read it as if we never read it before (Rob and I were both raised in Christian environments from the start).  We then researched a lot of history of the roots of the church and of the holidays that we celebrated all our lives.  Our mindsets were transformed a lot, so much so that many people have distanced themselves from us.

Photo of night one's candle lighting during Hanukkah 2014!

Photo of night one’s candle lighting during Hanukkah 2014!

The other week I was out with the boys.  A woman thought because they were out during the daytime (since they are homeschooled and most children are in school with other children) that we must be on our way to see Santa Claus.  My children smirked.  I told the woman, “No, not Santa. Sorry.”  She then tried to talk to them about how excited they must be about Santa coming to their house to give them presents.  They giggled a little.  I told her simply, “My children know the truth.”  She then seemed mad which was not my intent, so I said, “We celebrate Hanukkah.” She then said, “Oh!” She was very quiet after that and didn’t seem to look mad any longer.

At Micah’s ballet class, there were women showing their Christmas cards that they had made up.  They seemed so happy, and I joined them in their joyfulness.  I complimented the photos of their children and said, “How cute!”  One woman then asked me if I had mailed mine out yet.  I told her simply, “I don’t have the money for that.”  She said, “You can take the photos yourself though.” I said, “Right, I definitely could, but I don’t have the money to buy the cards at all.”  She then said, “Oh. I understand.”  She was then quiet.

The point is that during this season we are very respectful that we are not like others and that they celebrate as they do, yet, so many people have expectations for how we must be just like them. We don’t meet those expectations in various ways.  We have set ourselves apart from society, while living amonst the people.

I only have enough money to pay my bills.  Going into debt is not a good thing, and many people suffer financially during this time, as we had in the past too.  Micah’s birthday is only a few days before Christmas anyway, and I’d rather get him a present for that day than loads of presents for both of my children that will end up cluttering up their room.  They have plenty, if not more than they even need.  Why would I indulge more and spoil them when I can’t stop thinking about the thousands of homeless people or those living in slums hoping to afford a meal for the day?  I can’t live in this selfish culture. It is actually extremely difficult.  I used to be materialistic and would be upset in the past for not getting more than twenty presents at Christmastime. How terrible how there are some who think twenty is still not enough on top of it.  There are people who don’t have more than one set of clothes to wear. There are people who live with plastic as their house.  My husband told me the other day that living out the Kingdom of God is getting harder and harder in this culture while easier and easier on our hearts.  He said the easy way would be to go along with everyone.  The easy way would be to go all out like the rest of them this season.  We chose the hard road. It is not easy and we accept that, but we feel great peace.

I spent my $2.50 on candles for our Menorah. That’s that.  We’ll probably buy one present for the boys to share, and you know what? They’ll be thankful and so excited.  When Rob and I do tell people that we don’t celebrate Christmas, they look at us like we are lunatics and think we don’t care for our kids because we can’t dump hundreds of dollars to buy gifts for our kids.  The point is, we don’t want to.  We don’t want to raise our kids like everyone else wants them to be raised.  We don’t see how Jesus would want us to do that.  He wants us to help the oppressed, the poor, and the hungry.  He wants us to share what we have with others and to love our neighbors as ourselves.

You can see the excitement on Micah's face in the background.

You can see the excitement on Micah’s face in the background.

While most people try to teach their kids to be good so they can get presents from Santa, we tell our children that they can never fully be good because of sin in the world and that thankfully we have grace to free us from sin.  We tell them that because Jesus was given to us as a present to the world, sent to serve us and lead us to Our Father, they too will have to serve others and put themselves off as less important and might end up suffering as Jesus had.  Jesus gave up living in the rich and beautifully perfect Kingdom of Heaven to living in a homeless sinful disgusting environment.  If He can do that for us, I can’t understand why we should find it so important to lavish stuff that won’t last that are material rather than building character in them instead and to show compassion to others like Jesus.  God convicted us personally on this and we can’t convince a single person to be like us, nor is it our job to, as it is God’s. We are to just look towards Him.  The more we have done that, the more we have seen holidays like Hanukkah and Passover to be more amazing to us.

My pastor’s wife recently asked me about why my son didn’t want to sing a song that had the word “Christmas” in it during choir practice (ones about Jesus’ birth and such we sing with much joy).  I was able to share a bit of my heart and she actually decided she liked what I said, so she made a change in the song list to be more focused on Jesus (such as “O Holy Night”).  I told her she did not have to do a single change on our account at all and apologized to her.  She then asked me more about our newer traditions and why we do what we do this time of year.  She was very understanding and didn’t look down on us like a lot of people seem to do.  I truly appreciated that.  Another woman from our church gave us a bag of tiny gifts to give to the boys each night for Hanukkah, when she didn’t have to do that at all and she doesn’t celebrate it either (She got them little things like tiny dreidels, winter gloves, little necklaces with a bell on them, gelt chocolate, and other very small things).

Our boys aren’t missing out on anything.  This week we started celebrating Hanukkah.  They really have enjoyed it and can’t wait to light the Menorah each night!  They have been having fun with it and love learning more about who God is and how He has helped us time and time again.  I like that it is meaningful to them.  The love of Christ has been planted into their hearts so naturally and it makes our hearts swell!

May God guide you all in this holiday season. May His son fill you with God’s light and may you spread that light to the world.  Let us remember to do this daily throughout the year!


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Our Family in Weekly Photos (2014) – 50 of 52

Heartblouse7thumbLetointhesunthumbtheslidethumb suninhiseyesthumb1. This season (the end of Autumn) is so strange. Some days it is very cold and others it feels so sunny and warm.  I love nature and being outside.  I need to get a little bit more of it before the cabin fever begins when Winter starts.
2. Leto is at the age where he is learning to be less like a little kid and more like an older kid.  He gets confused sometimes and doesn’t know how to act; often resorting to acting like his little brother.  It has started to annoy older kids who are pre-teens and he doesn’t understand it, but then again they expect too much of him as if he should be like them and he definitely should not.  Being nearly eight years old is a lot harder to watch as an adult than it was when I was that age.  I relate a lot to Leto because I annoyed a lot of people too and it made me very lonely.
3. Micah making a silly face as he comes down the slide in the empty playground.  I guess most kids don’t go outside in this weather.
4. Rob walking with the sun in his eyes, unable to see where he is going. Keep walking towards the Sun, my darling.


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Our Family in Weekly Photos (2014) – 49 of 52

littlevainboythumb whoopiepieeatingthumb1. Micah hates taking showers and usually cries when he is about to go in.  He no longer fits in the sink and we don’t have a bathtub.  I tried to cheer him up by putting his washcloth on his head.  He thought it was funny and walked around like that for about 5 minutes before finally feeling confident enough for a shower (and he did great)!
2. I had made my Whoopie Pies and we all love to eat them.  Leto thought he was being funny by having bad table manners. . . .I tend to tell him that he needs to do better in that way or he’ll embarrass his wife (I speak from experience since I have always had bad table manners and have embarrassed my husband and now my children are becoming me).

No pictures of me or Rob this week.  Forgot!


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Loving Your Post-Pregnancy Body

As a skinny newly pregnant 22 year old, stretch marks weren’t something I was that concerned about.  My mom had three children without a single mark left.  She told me to put cocoa butter on my belly regularly, and so I did.  You can’t truly predict what will happen.  After cookies and brownies being my staple diet in my first pregnancy, I didn’t realize I was racking on the pounds so quickly.  At 34 weeks in, I weighed 45 pounds more than normal and gained a small mark on my belly.  I figured one wouldn’t be a big deal.  My mom said, “I only gained 30 pounds with each of you kids!  You’re gaining too much weight.”  She also had 7 pound babies.  I didn’t realize I’d be birthing a baby that was 9 lbs. 14 oz. I gained 60 pounds total in my first pregnancy all because I truly thought I was supposed to eat for two rather than just needing 300 calories more per day. Whoops.

When I was immodest & showy.  We were newlyweds here. I was 21 (april of 2005 & September of 2005).

When I was immodest & showy. We were newlyweds here. I was 21 (april of 2005 & September of 2005).

I can’t go back to fix that.
My belly was one I used to show off and took pride in.  It was “perfect” to me. I loved it.  God truly humbled me and told me that my pride is something to set aside.  Yes I am very into modesty now, and am glad I cover up, but my belly wasn’t the only thing I tried to show off anyway, so in case you are wondering if this incident made me become modest, the answer is no.  I was however extremely embarrassed by my belly’s stretch marks.

4 weeks pregnant and 38 weeks pregnant with Leto (I still had 3 weeks after this and got even bigger).

4 weeks and 38 weeks pregnant with Leto (I still had 3 weeks after this and got even bigger).

A few weeks after having Leto out of the womb, I cried and cried because of my stretch marks on my belly, breasts, thighs, and calves that I hadn’t had before.  I cried more than my own newborn child over something that really should not be so trivial.

I learned my lesson and in my second pregnancy with Micah, I gained only 30 pounds and had a 7 lb. 11 oz. baby instead.  I jumped back to my normal body quickly, but was still really down about my stretch marks I was still left with.  I honestly tried using many products to ease my vanity.  I had read reviews of loads of products that could rid of stretch marks.  I probably spent a total of $400 over several years to get rid of them.  I think maybe some of them did go away, but regardless, I spent money I should have used for something less selfish. I could have helped people in desperate need with that money.  My skin wasn’t a big deal, but I made it to be so.

30 weeks and 35 weeks pregnant with Micah (with 4 weeks left before birth).

30 weeks and 35 weeks pregnant with Micah (with 4 weeks left before birth).

The problem is we live in a showy society that says that blemishes, marks, and such are imperfect.  They make it seem like you aren’t attractive if you have those things.  You need to have smooth skin.  You need to be in shape.  You need to not have cellulite.  You need tone in your muscles.  These are the lies we are told.  It is important to maintain a healthy body but if we are so obsessed about it our bodies have certainly become idols.  We praise and worship the body and shape of one another and ourselves.  We forget to praise the One who created us. We forget to be thankful for what we have.  We forget to love and accept people no matter what shape or size they are or what marks they may have on them.  We forget that those imperfections can be beautiful and lovely and that God loves every piece of those things but hates the emphasis we make on wanting to tend to man’s ideals of those things.  We need to focus on His Word and His people and love who they ARE not how they LOOK.

Post pregnancy nearly 6 years after last giving birth. A ruined bellybutton and all, but I am beautiful regardless.

Post pregnancy nearly 6 years after last giving birth. A ruined bellybutton and all, but I am beautiful regardless.

I’ve come to accept my skin.  I have come to love the marks that my child left on me.  I have a beautiful 7 (nearly 8) year old son who gave those marks to me.  He is so smart and handsome and has such compassion for others.  He laughs so easily and feels pain so easily too.  He was worth every scar left on me.  That is love.  My husband looks at these marks on my body and he actually likes them and smiles at them.  He finds me very sexy and is not turned off by what motherhood has left on my body.  He loves that I carried his children for 41 and 39 weeks with this body.  He is glad that I nursed each of them for 15 and 12 months each and was able to keep them alive with this body.  He loves that I gave up working and making money to teach his children that we were blessed with.  Sacrificing myself is something that I have been getting more used to, and that is okay.  Now I am 31 and aging and so is my husband.  We love that we can love one another and still find each other incredibly sexy even though we’ve known each other since we were teenagers and had “more attractive bodies” according to society back then.  God has blessed us. Though our flesh fails, He is our portion forever.  He is what sustains and maintains us. He is what keeps us going and helps us realize that these bodies are not something to stress so much over.


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Our Family in Weekly Photos (2014) – 47 & 48 of 52

whatintheworldisgoingonthumb puppiesformepleasethumb inthecornerthumb cookingformethumbhangingoutinthecoldtogetherthumbplayinginthesnowtogether2thumb hangingoutinthecoldtogether2thumbplayinginthesnowtogether1thumb1. Micah being silly as ever. He loves to make strange faces throughout each day.
2. At Rob’s job, there was a day where puppies were brought in by a shelter in hopes of finding homes.  We went and I held this puppy.  I love dogs so much and wish we could have a bunch, but unfortunately we can’t where we live due to the landlord’s rules (our 12 year old dog lives with my parents currently).
3. This is “The Corner” where we tell the boys to go when they disobey consistently.
4. Rob cooked me lunch (scrambled eggs on a English corn muffin) and I found him to be so adorable that I had to take this of him.  He’s so good to me.
5. The sun was beginning to set on the lake near where my in-laws live.  The snow was on top of all the trees and glistened so beautifully.  Rob and I took a walk on the lake to see it better.  It was so cold though, but lovely.
6. Leto was having fun in the snow at an event that I had helped out with.  He kept throwing chunks of hard icy snow at more snow and was having a grand time.
7. Rob looking at all the snow on the trees.  He was cold too, but wasn’t as eager to leave as I was.
8. Micah always says, “I look cute right?” or asks, “Did I look cute?” After I take a photo of him.  He was throwing chunks of snow with his brother too.


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Movie Suggestion Post #98

Movie Ratings are on a scale of 1-5.  I tend to start at a 5 star rating and deduct things based on content, plot, photography/direction, and acting.  Anything rated over 3 stars and is in bold, which means I enjoyed it and would probably recommend it or watch it again.  (5 star ratings are very rare with me)! –  Content is listed for those who are careful about what they or their children view (or what to be aware of)]

Parental Guidance 2012 (w/ Billy Crystal, Bette Midler, Marisa Tomei, Tom Everett Scott, Bailee Madison) – 3.25 stars – This is a funny family film (I chuckled sometimes), although some of the things in it that they show…I don’t really know if I’d want my kids to see (such as poles in a living room that are used for exercises, though no stripping is in it at all).  It definitely is good for older kids and parents though.  It is about a couple who decide they want to have the wife’s parents watch their three children so they could be together on a mini-vacation.  The kids have some strict rules to follow, though they are adjusted to them.  The grandparents are going to watch the kids and are doing their best to help, but the wife has hard times with her own past to want her children cared for a weekend by them. You definitely can see how the style of parenting has changed over the past couple of generations.  It is so interesting.  I see my own sons acting like the two little boys in this at times (not liking being outside too much and such). Billy Crystal and Bette Midler are a fun pair!  The pre-teen girl in this . . .I have seen her in so many things now and she has grown so much and is still a sweetheart (I hope she stays that way).
content: kissing, throw up shown, a guy gets whacked in his man-area by a baseball bat, a man is about to spank a child in public (but doesn’t), a child is allowed to watch a rated R film against the parents’ wishes, some innuendo, potty humor throughout, a married couple are known to “role play” (they show them fully dressed and teasing one another in a sweet way – not a sexual way), a kid is shown with a black eye after he got punched, alcohol shown being consumed (no drunkenness)parentalguidance

Godzilla 2014 (w/ Ken Watanabe, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Sally Hawkins, Elizabeth Olsen, David Strathairn) – 2.5 stars – I have a father who loves terrible B films.  He’d watch all those dubbed movies all the time and Godzilla films were some of the only ones I actually enjoyed.  This movie didn’t have enough of Godzilla in it.  It didn’t have enough Japanese people in it.  Why do we always have to have lead roles of White people?  I’m growing weary of it.  The only well known Japanese actor IS in this movie and he is always amazing in all his films.  The idea of this is that there is a creature that has been spawned and has an attraction to radiation.  It pretty much is an Atomic bomb when near it.  Godzilla is “the savior” monster who lives in the water and only Ken Watanabe’s character seems to know about it.  Ford Brody’s family lived in Japan during a radiation meltdown in a factory his parents worked at.  He and his father left and both react differently.  One buries it and the other researches it to not let it go.  When Ford realizes his father is not completely crazy and things definitely go crazy and turn the world upside down, he needs to take action.  This movie had great graphics and such, if anything.  My husband bugged out about this movie and walked out of the room for one simple reason.  If a warhead atomic bomb goes off. . . .it takes out 1,000+ miles span, not just a little section like depicted in this film.  Therefore the main character in this movie should be dead and so should the whole California area shown in this film.  It was a very poorly thought out concept and I had to hear yelling and outrage for 5 minutes (he turned the movie off on me and I had to turn it back on to see the last scene).  He then started to educate me about the damage done by Atomic bombs and how movies like this and the third newer Batman movie completely lie to people (he bugged out about that film too for the same reason).  Mass destruction is inevitable.  He even showed me how newer bombs made lately cover 100 miles with the actual radius of the bomb and that it is much more powerful than it was in the last ones dropped.  This is a fictional movie and yes, they should try to get things right in certain aspects like that.  I agree.
content: bomb shown blowing something up, an accident site shown, people that you know are going to die are shown, kissing, a married couple shown kissing as the woman is clothed and on top of the clothed man (the wife is wearing tiny shorts and her husband holds her near her bum), a piece of rock falls on a man (not shown closely. . in the distance), people stepped on, people fall to their deaths, lots of guns shooting creatures/monsters, buildings go down and harm people in the process, creatures shown being destroyed or harmed in brutal ways, dead bodies shown lying around, language: (“d” word, “s” word, 4x, Jesus’ name used blasphemously, “hell” used incorrectly)

Hotel Rwanda 2004 (w/ Don Cheadle, Sophie Okonedo, Joaquin Phoenix, Nick Nolte, Desmond Dube) – 3 stars – I have wanted to see this movie for a long time and when I saw that it was available on Netflix instant play, I had to see it.  I also just read a book that Don Cheadle co-wrote called “The Enough Moment” which is about the atrocities in Africa, not specifically Rwanda.  This film is based on a true story about the horrific genocide that happened in Rwanda, Africa between the Tutsi and the Hutus – mainly to wipe out the  predominately Roman Catholic Tutsi tribe.   This movie is about a hotel manager named Paul Rusesabagina (who is half Hutu and half Tutsi) who tries to help save his family and the lives of many during the genocide.  Don Cheadle did such a great job in this movie and his accent was great too.  No wonder why he was nominated an Oscar for this character!  As you may know, the US and UN did nothing to help those in Rwanda (and they were helping Bosnia instead).  Paul wanted to make sure to contact many people and let them know what was happening so they would want to help them.  Because the hotel was on Belgium property, he did whatever he could to make sure to protect it and help it to not be harmed while holding refugees especially.  Because he was not white, this made it difficult since the foreigners were not present any longer while he was holding refugees there.  It was very good and very sad and happy too.  I would have rated this 4 stars if it were not for the content.
content: immodesty (a little girl’s midriff showing, women tourists wearing bikinis at a hotel’s pool, cleavage, a woman breast feeding her child,  a woman lounging in a bikini, sex slaves shown in a gated outside area naked and trying to cover their bodies where some backsides in the background are shown very briefly, a woman shown in the background getting her clothes ripped off as she is in well covering underwear (this was to portray the constant rapes that were happening there without showing it happening, a man shown without a shirt on), racist remarks,  people shown smoking, people shown drinking and pouring drinks on people, kissing, a man shown in boxers and a boy shown in underwear, violence: much shooting, blood shown, people shown being shot or sliced in the face with a machete (with blood), punching shown, bodies shown lying on the ground dead, dead bodies are all over the place in one foggy scene that people didn’t realize they were driving over them, a man gets slapped, houses shown burning, a man gets kicked in the back and hit in he face with a gun, in the background people are shown being beaten to death (no blood shown)), language (“s” word 4x, “f” word 1x, use of the “n” word, small “a” word 1x)

Edge of Tomorrow 2014 (w/ Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton) – 3.5 stars – This film has a Groundhog Day/Run Lola Run type of story to it.  It is basically about a man in the military who has never seen actual combat action who is sent to the front lines against his desires even though he is ranked high.  He sees things that are pretty intense.  An alien race is trying to destroy the earth (the aliens look a little like the Sentries from the Matrix series).  He will have to re-live a day multiple times and looks for a woman who he thinks understands what he is going through.  He wants to put an end to the bloodshed.  The graphics in this were so amazing!  I like that even though there was war violence, there was not nasty gore or things that would cause me to have images I want erased.  The story was really well done, though I will admit I was confused by the ending at first until I sat and thought about it and then discussed with my husband and started to see things in a cool way of “Woah!” . . .and I like movies that make you have to think things through afterwards because then you keep thinking about it.  This was based off of a book that I have not read, by the way, though I know my husband wants to read it because he’d probably give this much more stars than I have.   There was a lot of mech-warrior anime-type of armor in this which was neat.  You can tell they based this off of a Japanese novel.
content:  threats made, men shown without shirts on, man shown wearing a cup with armor on and his bum was shown, a man gets punched, a man gets hit with a tazer, people get blown up and seriously hurt and killed  through blasts and different things falling on them (no grotesque stuff, but very scary), a woman in immodest clothing where some of her back has skin shown (same sequence of her like this shown a few times), aliens shown killing people, a kiss, talk about having sex to spread something happening in the movie mentioned briefly, a man being burned by something lava-like and a part of his face melts away (this is the only gruesome image we see in the whole film), language ( “hell” used incorrectly 4x, small “b” word written out 5x, small “b” word said 3x, “f” word 1x, “s” word 3x, small “a” word said)EdgeoftomorrowFlame in the Streets 1961 (w/ John Mills, Sylvia Sims, Brenda de Banzie, Earl Cameron, Johnny Sekka, Ann Lynn, Wilfrid Brambell) – 3 stars – In England, there was no segregation like in the US during the time in which this film was being made, but it certainly shows the bigotry and cruelty brought forth in that time even there.   This story focuses on a white family and how they live and how their daughter is beginning to fall in love with a man “of color”.  It also focuses on an interracial married couple in which they interact with in some way.  The film was slow at first and I wasn’t too into it until after some time.  The message was certainly clear and good.  It actually horrified me at one point with sadness/anger.  A film that can get my emotions going that boils my blood because of my heart in fighting racism and seeking peace with all people and loving all no matter where they are from or what skin color they have – is worth seeing or talking about.  So watch this film.  It was really great to see some actors I recognized too and love some of the films in which they appear in outside of it, so that was neat.  The acting was well done.

content: racism and throwing the “n” word around several times in hatred often used, kissing, a woman’s leg and figure are stared at for a second, fighting, people throwing things at others, cruelty towards people, a man gets hurt in a fire, a scene where a woman barges into a home where a man and woman are in bed together (the woman is in a slip seen from the side) and the man invites her to join them.

Transcendence 2014 (w/ Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Morgan Freeman, Paul Bettany, Cillian Murphy, Kate Mara) – 3 stars- A woman who wants to help the environment and people from diseases is married to a highly renown computer scientist who is targeted by many because of his ideas for the world.  His life is in danger and his wife takes extreme measures to keep him alive.  Of course in doing this she is left with new problems.  This was a Science Fiction film and was very unique and interesting.  I think sometimes it was a bit slow, especially in the beginning and sometimes in the middle.  This is basically a love story with many strange occurrences.  It is very hard to write a review for this movie without giving things away, so that is the best I can do.
content: a monkey shown to indicate animal testing, an explosion shown with dead bodies (no blood), a man shoots another in public and then himself (no blood shown and the screens change over when they happen), a man throws up (nothing shown), kissing, drinking, might be some scary imagery in regards to technology with connections to a human, a man is kidnapped and punched, robbery, blood shown after a man is beaten up, a married man is shown making out with his wife while on top of her in bed (she is clothed and he is shown without a shirt), some slight immodesty (open backed outfits and small amount of cleavage, a woman’s mid-section shown – but wounded and it is not focused on), explosions, shooting, people shown wounded with much blood, people shown dead,  language: (“s” word 2x, Jesus’ name used blasphemously, 1x)

The Fault in Our Stars 2014 (w/ Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Nat Wolff, Willem Dafoe, Laura Dern) – 3 stars – Hazel had thyroid cancer that became worse but she started to get better but still has cancer.   I think my biggest problem with this movie is that cancer patients don’t look as good as the ones portrayed in a lot of films, especially this one.  Too bright and cheery looking, in my opinion and not bed ridden enough.  I have known many cancer patients who did have a hard time and some easy times too, but I don’t know, You can tell when they are sick, it just seems off at times in this film too.  I liked that the mom was the actress from Jurassic Park which I haven’t seen act since then! haha.  Anyway, so Hazel goes to this support group at a church (which I also have a hard time when they make Jesus so corny and terrible sounding in movies as if God is a joke when He is anything but one).  Hazel meets a boy named Augustus at the group who is there to support his friend who is going to lose his eye sight.  Augustus lost a portion of his leg and had dealt with cancer himself.  He finds a connection with Hazel through books and their intellect.  They start to really enjoy one another’s company.  I think it is interesting how the actress (which both leads played siblings in Divergent, which I also recently reviewed) looks “plain” in a beautiful way.  It is rare that they have “normal” beauty with hardly a drop of make-up needed on an actress.  I would have rated this higher but I am tired of teenage movies that make it seem as if it is appropriate for people to have sex right after professing their love for one another.  The movie was great until they had to put the “love-making” portion in it.  I am tired of the typical.  Also this movie reminded me of a few other movies that are almost exactly the same which I’ve reviewed or seen.  This was not bad though, it was just not as good as I hoped it would be.  I loved the monologues!  So good.  I am a sucker for good lines in movies and there were quite a bit of them.  I have not read the book for this one.
content: kissing, a teenage boy gropes his girlfriend’s breast pretty crazily, a teenage boy puts a cigarette to his lips but doesn’t light it, ,a mention of herpes, talk about virginity a few times, a woman appears wearing a bath towel with her cleavage showing, a girl is shown wearing a bra mainly seen on her shoulders only, a girl’s naked back is shown for a few seconds while she is straddling her boyfriend in bed, implied sex as a couple is shown waking up naked but under sheets (their feet are shown intertwined), talk about death, some scary cancer imagery, language: (God’s name used in vain 2x, “s” word 2x, short “b” word 2x, “f” word once, long “a” word, “douche” used to mock someone)

Grace Unplugged 2013 (w/ AJ Michalka, James Denton, Kevin Pollack, Shawnee Smith, Michael Welch, Jamie Grace) – 3.25 stars – Most Christian movies have terrible acting and I have complained many times in my reviews about them and given them low ratings.  This one was well done.  Grace Trey is 18 and has been brought up in a Christian home and helps her dad lead worship in their church.  He was a one-hit wonder in the past and led a life that was terrible until Christ saved him.  Grace just wants to be able to make it big like her favorite singer.  She wants to be a recording artist like her dad once was but she feels like he doesn’t understand her dream at all.  She decides to disobey her parents and go on her own since she is an adult.  This causes for situations to happen in Grace’s own life where she struggles between wanting to do the right thing and wanting to become a big sensation.  Her faith is tested.  It was pretty good.  I would say to watch this if you have pre-teens (or are one) and older.  Younger children should not see this (check content).  My only issues with this film were that the beginning opening was a little lame (but once the credits were done it got better) and that the church had mainly white people and it was in Birmingham, Alabama. That bugs me.  I guess because I go to such a diverse mixed congregation where the white people are the minority.
content:  tons of deceit, talk about underwear/lingerie (which is shown being held up in a hand but not worn by anyone), underage drinking/drunkenness, talk about using a body to sell things and trying to manipulate someone into being more sexy, a woman is dancing in a music video and her bum is zoomed in on a bit as she shakes it while wearing tight leather pants, A husband and wife are lying on a couch together and his hands are placed between his wife’s breasts as she holds his hand, talk about a one night stand (it is a song that is mentioned but not performed), a kiss, a lot of talk about God  (to let you know as this is a Christian film)GraceUnplugged

 


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Thankful for Friendships

There was once a little girl who lived in a lot of solitude.  She longed for companionship and friendship with those around her.  Unfortunately, her tactics to receive friends were selfish and terrible.  She’d lie about things in hopes that they would be drawn to her.  Her life was too boring otherwise.  As she entered middle school, she continued on but decided the lying had to stop, for it just made matters worse.  She gave it up cold turkey, like a bad habit.

The only potential friends she had were boys.  She liked things they liked and had fun playing basketball, skateboarding, swinging on ropes in the woods, playing card games, video gaming, and drawing.  She smoked cigars about once a month that her brother would give her (he was legal age to buy them), loved going for walks and bike rides, swam and roller bladed regularly, and listened to music constantly.  Most of her time was spent in her bedroom.  She had a lot of anger but a load of love.

She’d go to camp every summer swimming, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, shooting rifles, and making friends who accepted her for who she was.  She’d go home after collecting dozens of addresses from her friends at camp and would write letter after letter.  Some of these people would write back once, some not at all, and others continued for a year to several years to even over a decade, until she no longer heard from them at all.

Once she became a teenager, her mother suggested having a girl from school sleep over each weekend or said she should go to their house overnight in hopes that she’d gain friends.  However, this girl never knew what it was like to go on the internet in the mid 90’s and wanted to experience chat rooms.  She’d spend hours on her “friends'” computers and this would irritate them.  She just didn’t know how to connect with the girls.  She didn’t know how to get to know them and would instead talk about her own dreams and hopes, because life was so boring that she didn’t have any hope outside of dreams.  These girls ended up backing away from her.  Another failed attempt at a friendship; one after the next.

The young girl loved long.  Her first “boyfriend” in school was when she was 10 & 11.  It lasted for five months and 10 days.  He stopped being her boyfriend simply because he was tired of being mocked for being with her, but he really did like her.  It took her a year and a half to finally get over him.  The next boy was one she didn’t think would like her, but he gave her a chance.  She fell in love at 13.  He was her best friend.  All his friends were her close friends, and they were all guys.  After many months, other girls started to take notice of her smart boyfriend who was getting better looking once he got a haircut and his braces removed.  She started to love him even more.  Then they broke up when their year anniversary was so close to arriving.  It was over a misunderstanding that was never dealt with properly.  He started to be cruel to her and stay away from her.  His friends continued to be nice to her, but she lost her friend and love.  It broke her heart deeply.

When entering high school, the girl was excited about her intent of finding friendship and regaining her love.  Everyone was tired of the girl and just ignored her.  She gave up and would cry in the art room during lunch times after the new freshmen girls that entered the school realized that she was weird and not as cool as some of the other kids.  She’d draw and draw and draw.  She wasn’t that good at it either, but it kept her mind busy. Her grades were terrible.

A girl who had left her school system after eighth grade started to show an interest in friendship with her.  She was so happy to find out this girl had no friends in her new school, so they connected and spent nearly every weekend watching anime together.  She’d spend hours on her friend’s computer (thankfully that year she finally had one to use of her own).  Her friend loved music and drawing too.  It was so much fun to be with someone and not feel so alone any longer, but in time, the girl’s friend would find her lifelong best friend who came into her school the following year.  The three got along well, thankfully for a few years.  During that time they all connected with a girl who was her first friend who went searching for faeries in the woods with her.  But the three of them when they were together worked best.  She got pushed out.

daisyyou'remydaisy4When freshman year came to a close, she was still so broken about how she had been treated over the years in her school, surrounded by the same people who mocked her every chance they could no matter how nice she would treat them.  She was tired of her love ignoring her and needed to get away. She was suffocating. It was time for a change.  She remembered a girl laughed at her once saying she’d never survive public school, but she knew she would do fine, or at least give it a try.

The second day of being in her new school, she met a freshman girl who was an outcast herself.  She too loved music and drawing.  They were very different, but they got along.

She opened up her Bible.
Comfort.  Assurance.  Love.  A Father.  Affection.  Life.

These things were vital to her.  She prayed regularly and soaked in scriptures.  She’d read her Bible in between waiting for her friends to message her on her computer.

She wanted love.  “Send me a man who will be my husband and love me too.  Help me to find someone who will love you.”

And then….

He was there.  In front of her.  Praying. A boy in a public school that was open about his love for God astounded her.  She was intrigued. He was intrigued.  Her heart swelled with hope.  Her life was changing.  She was trusting in God.  He was giving her friendship and in time; love. She felt blessed.

Her friends started to go through very hard times.  They didn’t like life.  She wanted them to see how precious life was. She wanted them to see how God had been there for her and how when she gave herself to God, He truly blessed her.  He was always there. He was always the one to help her, but she didn’t always look to Him for help.  She told them to not give up hope.  She wanted them to see how much she loved them too.

More friendships. More blessings. Eventually God told her the boy she liked would be her husband.  He was going to help encourage her in times that were not easy.  He was going to help direct her towards God and love her even when it would be hard.

Soon her friends went off to college while others did not.  They didn’t need or want her.  They would push her away.  She realized she’d have to let them go.  She was left with one friend who meant so much to her and who didn’t seem to have any other friends too.  This friend loved music, horror movies, and Jesus.

The girl became a young woman and married the boy God promised would be her husband. He was always there for her.  He would hear her cries about her desires for a friend time and time again throughout their marriage. He figured he was enough and that she should be thankful for that, but she wanted female companionship. In time, she only had him left. The friends she made  she either somehow pushed away or they pushed her away.  She was falling away from God. She was losing so many.  She then nearly lost her love, but his love for her was filled with Christ’s forgiveness.

Online friends. She was left with people who made her feel happy.  She would even go and visit them as much as she could even if they did live hours away.  Her husband was so supportive. He was always willing to be there for her.  He was not pointing her to Christ to fulfill her voids though.  He was having his own battles and so helping her was not something too easy for him.

Freedom. Her husband found it a few years later.  God changed his heart.  She was feeling even more empty though. She went to God. “Help me! Thank you for helping my husband!”  He was there. Her heavenly Father.  He was always there.  Why did she always push him away? Why did she not lean on Him for strength?

Friends came again. Friends left again.  Friends came again.  Friends left again.  Friends always came and went.

Her husband became her only friend, but that was okay.  She was going to not worry about it.  God was still there.  She was going to Him.  He was more than any friend could offer her.  She’d love them. All those who hurt her and all those she hurt. They were all going to be forgiven.  She realized she did a lot of wrong to people.  She’d tell them that she was sorry.  She’d tell them that she just doesn’t know how to be a friend.  She doesn’t know how to relate to women.  She now would put all of herself in God’s hands.  If He would give her friends again, she’d be grateful, but she understood that they come and went at various times.

Each friend she had was so dear to her heart. She’d always love them even if she was not close to them any longer.  It was great that she had time with them while she did.  She still had a couple online friends, though she didn’t see or talk to them as often as she once did, but she knew they loved her.  One of her friends who spent only a couple months in silence away from her started to draw close to her again.  They are now so much alike and yet once they were so different, but her friend will be a missionary.  She will not be able to see her as often, but she knows that they are very close as sisters in Christ.  Their friendship is honest and heartwarming. God is still there for her.  Her husband points her towards Christ constantly.

She is I.  I am me.  I am the little lonely girl who has grown and decided that at 31 years of age, walking away from my past with a smile is worth it.  It has brought me closer to God.  I might still scare people off (unintentionally), but so did Jesus, and even His best friends abandoned Him at His arrest for doing no wrong – all but one of His friends remained near.  For once I am thankful for the very small handful of friends I have.  I am extremely thankful for the best-friend-of-a husband that God gave to me to help me in my times of loneliness and physically wiped away my tears over relationships with my friends.

If you are someone who was a friend of mine, I want you to know that I truly love you and am thankful for you being in my life as an encouragement to me.  I am sorry for failing in my words and actions.  My heart has been softened a lot over the past year alone and I have learned how to love more deeply and to see all in the image of God as they are.  I long to live out the Fruits of the Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.  It is not an easy journey, but I am finally not lonely. I am His child.  It is not about me anymore. It is about caring about those I meet and interact with, for God loves them deeply and wants them (and you) to know that.

Thank you especially to those who I considered my closest female friends at one time in my life whether or not they realized it or not (some which are close with me now):  Rachel, Greta, Lori, Nicole V.B,, Danielle, Nora & Kate, Lauryn, Cristina, Sandra, Nicole (N.E.S), Sheila, Laura, Mellie, Emilee, Lynsie, Loryn, Janice, Brienne, Rachel D., and Megan & Kelly & Jenn.friendscombofriendsrachel friendsNora friendsLaurynandCristinaedit friendsLaura friendsEmileeMellieLorifriendslynsie friendsbrienne

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