Thanksgiving 14


0709-11-9017I’m thankful for animals.  I love nothing better than to be around animals.  I love to watch them, study their behavior, watch them move and live and be.  I’m thankful for all the pets I’ve had over the years and the wonderful memories they have gifted me with.  I’m most thankful for horses, owls and foxes….my favorite animals.   Barn Owlred-fox-on-tree-wallpaper

District B13


District B13.  Never heard of it?  That’s okay, not many people have.  Why haven’t you heard of it?  It’s a short, cheesy, parkour, French, action flick.  Yes, French.  They made a really fun action flick despite their desire to surrender at the drop of a hat.  (Kidding, kidding.)

My husband and I discovered this movie several years ago (if the parkour didn’t give it away) on Netflix.  You know how you can find the strangest movies on Netflix? This was one of those.  It details out the bonding of two men – one a cop and one a criminal.  The basic plot of the movie is they must work together to stop a bomb from blowing up the entire district and killing millions.  It involves gangs, the government, the criminal’s sister, and lots of fun parkour fights.  Out of all the parkour styled action flicks which came out when it was in vogue, this is my favorite.  It gets right to the point, doesn’t take itself too seriously and avoids several raunchy areas by just skating over them.  It could have indulged itself but it doesn’t, which is really nice.  One word of warning: don’t try to watch it in English.  The dubbing is like trying to watch an Anime that’s been dubbed.  And I’m not talking about Spirited Away.  I’m talk about the ones with the horrible voice actors.  This is the same.  Watch it with the subtitles.  Don’t worry, there’s not much talking during the action scenes.

The parkour is fluidic, creative, and shows cases its martial arts core.  The only bad part is that as you get older there’s this little voice in the back of your head thinking, “man, that must’ve hurt”.


The ultimate fight at the end is between the two heroes, one trying to do his job and one trying to convince him to look past his job and see the truth.  I think it’s one of the elements that makes this movie.  No one else can really match the heroes’ physical abilities, so a fight between them seems natural.  Instead of putting their fight at the beginning of their adventure to bond them, it’s put at the end to build emotional impact.  The audience knows which hero is right and which is wrong, but you don’t want them hurting each other, you don’t want them to fight.  You can tell they don’t want to hurt each other but the situation demands that they give their all for what they believe.  And that makes for a great fight and an emotionally climatic scene.

Action flicks are great for teaching basic story telling: keep the plot simple.  Simplicity doesn’t equal boring or show a lack of creativity.  Start by creating a very real conflict: Bomb going off in a city. Build to a climax: who’s right about the bomb and can he convince the other in the space of a minute. Tidy up quickly: The letdown should be short and sweet, not long.  If you’re new at writing, I suggest using action flicks as a way to learn the craft of basic storytelling.

And if you enjoy cheesy action flicks, I recommend District B13.  (BTW – District B13 Ultimatum was not nearly as good, just skip it.)

Sunday Thoughts: Freedom and Submission

SuValkyrie Maiden MMXbmission is way out of vogue in our day and age.  It carries the idea of forced obedience, tyrannical abuse, and a general air of door-mattidness.  But, we all have to submit.  We all have authorities over us.  Just try keeping your job without submitting to your boss or to the company’s culture.  Try not submitting next time a police officer pulls you over – just don’t call me when you get your one phone call.  We all submit to some form of authority.  Not only is authority a Biblical mandate, it’s the foundation of a peaceful, safe, and free society.  True freedom doesn’t mean getting to do what you want, whenever you want.  That’s slavery to your desires and not freedom.  Believe you me, I don’t want that kind of freedom and neither does anyone else.  I believe in giving people a lot of freedom, but that freedom demands that we are all self-sacrificing, respectful, and responsible, not mean, gross, and lazy.

But, I digress, this isn’t an article about government and the governed….or not on a political level.  This is about something I noticed the other day when I was reading 1 Peter.  As a child, I often read very short sections of my Bible, sometimes less than a whole chapter.  I could never figure out why I never understood what the Bible was teaching – I mean I read it just about every day. (This is why I’m thankful preaching is a Means of Grace and not personal Bible study!)  My husband suggested I try reading bigger chunks of the Bible, even whole books at a time.  He said it would make things easier to understand.  Not really believing him, I gave it a shot.  As you would expect….he was right.

Reading 1 Peter 2-3, I noticed something I’d never noticed before about submission.  Submission’s context is freedom.  In v. 2:13 Peter starts teaching about submission to authority.  He says “Live as people who are free”.  Then, he mentions the two specific groups who are  most often trampled under the foot of those who are mighty – servants and women.  Who has more to fear from submission than slaves and women?  How many horror stories still echo through history of the abuse of these two sub-sets of our cultures?  In some places of the world it is legal to physically abuse, rape, and murder women without a thought or any fear of criminal charges.  Story after story reverberates through the world with terror and horror.  What does the Bible say?  “Live as people who are free”.

It struck me.  It brought tears to my eyes.  I’m in this line of women.  I’m in this sisterhood, and I’m told to live as if I’m free.  How beautiful!!

But wait, there’s more!

What am I to do with this freedom?  First, I’m to know in what sense I’m free.  I’m not free to do whatever I want.  I’m still a slave, but a slave to whom???  I’m not the slave of a man.  And though I love my man very much, I’m not his slave, maid, or any of that.  I’m his wife working at his side.  There is only one to whom I’m a slave – Christ and Him Crucified.  I’m owned by no man.  My wings spread, my heart sores, and a great burden lifts from my shoulders.  No man owns me.  I’m free.  I’m a free agent and owned only by the Man who died willingly for me and rose again.  The one who is the Standing Lamb, faithful and true, is my only master. Oh, the sense of empowerment that freedom brings.

Now, I read further, what am I to do with this freedom from the manacles of man?  1 Peter 3: 1 -6: “be subject to your own husbands”.  Wait, what?  Christ calls me, as a wife, to take my freedom, and by my own choice, set it under my husband’s authority.  He commands me to take all the joy of being free, of being a woman, of being softly strong, courageous, smart, dedicated, practical, and beautiful and use it to serve the man given to me by Him.  Not for that man’s sake, not because my husband makes me, or because he’s just so wonderful I want to do every little thing he ever says, but because Christ says to.  Think about it.  You are not submitting because of your husband, but because of Christ!  Christ who loves you, is preparing a place for you, holds you gently in His hands, commands you.  How motivating is that?  How much more willing are you to grow and mold yourself into the helper your husband needs when you know you’re doing it for Christ sake?  If you have a husband who is abusive or even just unthankful, how much easier is it to be his helper when it’s not about him?  How much more passion will you put into your service when it’s about Christ?

As a young wife, who thought she had this submission thing down, I found it surprisingly hard.  I felt like I was losing myself – my Identity – and, honestly, my husband wasn’t worth that.  I felt unappreciated – don’t you see the sacrifices I’m making for you!  Then I grew bitter and unloving.  How thankful I am that Christ doesn’t abandon his sheep, ever.  How thankful I am that even when I’m not holding tight to Him, He never let’s go of me.  He never stops sanctifying me.  My submission has nothing to do with my husband and everything to do with my love for Christ.  He died for me!  He died!  Wrap your head around that one???

Do you like to watch romantic movies?  Do you like to watch romantic tragedies where just when they admit they love each other the man dies to save the woman he loves?  Christ died for you!  Someone willingly laid their life down to save you! But, and always remember this, He did not stay in that grave.  Oh no!  He rose again and rules even now! How much more should you live for Him?  Dear sister, this is what He calls us to do —> take your freedom in Christ and submit it to the authority of your husband.  Not because he’s worth it, but because Christ is.   Christ came, conquered, submitted, died, and rose for you, oh sinner.  He rose and returned to heaven to pray for you, oh sinner.  LIVE for Him!   Make yourself a slave for Christ’s sake. Trust your safety, your mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing, your significance to Him.  He is a mighty warrior with a bright blade.  He is The King and He is our Standing Lamb.  He is more than able to tend to your soul if you will but trust it to Him. This is the beauty of Biblical Submission.

Quote of the Weekend

Mike Peterson: You said if we worked hard, if we did right, we’d have a place. You said it was enough to be a man but there’s better then man! There’s gods… and the rest of us? What are we? They’re giants… we’re what they step on.

Phil Coulson: I know. I’ve seen giants, up close, and that privilege cost me, nearly everything. But the good ones, the real deal? They’re not heroes because of what they have that we don’t, it’s what they do with it. You’re right, Mike, it matters who you are.

Mike Peterson: I could, you know? Be a hero.

Phil Coulson: I’m counting on it.

– Agents of SHIELD

(I’m not sure what I think about this show.  It doesn’t quite have the magic yet.  The actors aren’t really friends yet and you can tell, but I did like this scene.)

Thanksgiving 11

I’m thankful for my family, both sides.  There are a lot of us.  We’re big, noise, crazy, silly, maybe just a little dangerous, opinionated, sarcastic and cynical.  We are also loving, supportive, generous and full of stories.  We like nothing better than to just be together.  I’m thankful God has given me a family to serve and be served by.  I love you all!

A Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, Beauty blessed a girl with all the physical loveliness she could bestow.  The girl’s chestnut hair flowed down a petite straight back.  Her dark eyes sparkled like brilliant smoky topazes set in flawless skin with just the right amount of olive, pink, and yellow tones.  Beauty’s creation moved gracefully in a figure both thin and curvaceous.  She spoke with a soft voice and a quick, sparkling laugh.   Gold and silver rings envied her long fingers and flowers her straight, cute nose.   Beauty’s creation gave material substance to Beauty’s spirit.  But, creating in a hidden away place, Beauty forgot to seek the help of other creators.  Her creation lived and moved, but lacked a character to match.  Beauty‘s delight became her disappointment.  Not once did her creation, endowed with so much of her own heart, show grace, charity, pity, humility, or empathy towards her fellow-man.  Without a good heart to match, Beauty wasted her gifts.

Beauty cursed the girl and removed her physical attractiveness.  She twisted her right shoulder up and out into a hump, and her fingers into hooked claws with no mobility.  Her left foot deformed into a dragging club, while her beautiful lips mashed into a soft sneer which marred any smile or frown.  Beauty Quasimodo-ed her creation as passionately as she had Helen-of-Troy-ed her.

With her outward attractiveness striped from her, the girl’s friends faded.  What she failed to provide to those around her, she now required of everyone: grace, pity, and love.  Abandoned and alone, the girl haunted the dark, dank sewers under the city which once worshiped her.

The King looked on the cursed creature and gave her the compassion which no one else offered.  As an old creator died, he graced the deformed monster with her powers – Happy Thoughts.

“She is still cursed,” Beauty told the King, watching his pity in action.

“The curse can be broken,” he said.

“Only if a man can love her.”

“A man will if she grows a straight soul inside her twisted body.”

(My own twist on the old Beauty and the Beast story.  I was inspired to write a story where the woman was the monster and the man the beauty.  Not because I feel like a woman can do anything a man can do, but because we women can think far too highly of ourselves while we backbite, gossip, and destroy.  We are just as much monsters and men, and in just as much need of pity as they.)

Thanksgiving 10

I’m thankful for the things I don’t enjoy doing.  When I was a kid, it was the dishes.  I hated doing the dishes, but Mom would remind us that doing the dishes means we have food to eat and a family to share it with.  Now that I’m all grown up I appreciate doing the dishes and hate doing budget work.  I’m not so great with numbers and I just hate it.  But, doing budget work means we are amply provided for, my husband has a job, and we are able to help others.  So, I’m thankful for budget work.

Thanksgiving 9

I shared how thankful I am for the Wise Older Women in my life a few days ago.  Now, I would like to share how thankful I am for the women my age who have encouraged me, listened to me, and been there alongside me in so many ways.

Elizabeth Groves:  I would say that, consistently, you have been my kindred spirit most of my life.  I love you more than I can say.  You’re honest, open, ridiculous, beautiful, loving, generous, supportive and pretty much everything a kindred spirit should be.  I’m thankful for the many years we’ve had to sit and talk.  I’m thankful for birthday adventures.  I’m looking forward to your years as a mother!  I love you.  These words really fail to express how thankful I am for you.  It’s wonderful to have someone I don’t have to explain everything to, but can just be.

Emily Day:  It is probably rare that you could live across the street from your sister and be as happy as we are.  I find your godly life inspiring.  Your consistent and wise mothering is a huge encouragement to me and, to be honest, I’m always touched at how much you let me in your life and include me in Bruce’s.  From nights keeping Dad awake when we were kids, to living so close, I’ve been blessed by you!

Joy Vincent:  I’m so thankful for you, Joy.  You are diligent, wise, funny, and a good listener.  I enjoy watching your gentle, careful focus with the girls.  You selflessly give yourself to them and your sacrifice is noticed and encouraging.  Thank you for being a supportive sister and letting me be a part of your life and the girls!  I love you!

Ruth Vincent:  I think you are sometimes the easiest person in the world to talk to.  I’ve known you for so long and you still love me and I still love you – that has to count for something, right?  I enjoy our weekly skype time, love your love of all things geeky, love your kids who are sooo cute, and miss you so much!  (Did I mention how much I miss you?  I miss you!)

Michelle Smith:  There are not many people outside my family who I’ve known as long as you…and now you’re in my family! Yes!  I have always found you, at any age, to be a very serious and wise woman, gifted in the art of decorating and cooking of wonderful food.  I love your love of beautiful things.  I love your heart for the Lord.  I love your love of British things!  Thank you for being my friend for so many years!

Rachel Cole:  You were my little sisters friend, then my employee, and now you’re my friend.  I love you so much.  You are creative and you share that creativity!  I find it so refreshing to spend time with you.  You’re calm, gentle, and you know how to look beyond what something is to what it could be.  You’re generous with your time and always welcoming!  I look forward to many more years together decorating, shopping, and eating many lunches!

Elayne Garrick:  You have been so incredibly encouraging to me!  First, just being a consistent, loving mother who takes her role very seriously is a blessing.  Second, that despite all that busyness you still take time to invite me over and give me a few hours of your time floors me.  Third, you listen and act on what you hear to encourage and remember people.  I’m so thankful for you!  It’s been a delight to get to know you better!

Leslie Stice:  You are one of those people I always wish I had more time to spend with.  On the surface you’re so funny!  When we have time to seriously sit and chat, I find that you’re wise, humble, and concerned about the things of the Lord.  Which really means that I love spending time with you either way.  Thank you for your faithfulness to HBC over the years.  I love you lots!

Jordan Underwood:  Oh my goodness, you make me laugh!  I love you so much.  We are far too dangerous together!  I’m so happy we were given the chance to be friends!  You’re beautiful, creative, such a good cook, sweet, and super silly!  I’m excited about the possible projects we might tackle in the future.  I love you!

Sharon Stephens:  I love you so much, Sharon.  You have blessed me in so many ways.  I know that working around your husband’s schedule has been challenging.  I know that having three kids is crazy.  But you are held by the Lord and He is faithful.  Thank you for checking in on me, making time for me, wanting me around.  I miss you when you’re gone and love every minute of craziness we get to spend together.

Faith Brown:  Faithie!  Faithie.  How I love you.  Yes, you were the little girl who taught me that I would have no problem spanking my own children – but that was because I loved you so much and really wanted to spank you. 🙂  You were one of the first people with health issues who I ever really reached out to, the first time I was motivated to move beyond my fear because of love.  You amaze me to this day.  I’m very thankful for you!

Stephanie Florentino:  Between our love of Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and writing, how can we not be friends??  You’re musical talent is a gift which you use to bless me and everyone at church.  I’m so glad we’ve gotten to know one another better over the last few years.  I can’t wait to see where you’re writing will take you!  Thank you for your hospitality and your commiseration over all things fantastical!

Rachel, Arianna, and Naomi Atterholt:  You three girls have really been a joy to me over the last several months.  If nothing ever comes of it, I’m thankful my writing gave us an opportunity to get to know each other.  All three of you are growing from students to friends!  I’m so humbled by the trust you have shown in me with your stories.  Love you so much!

Bethany Hiller:   Our friendship is probably unexpected if you look at us from the outside, but I’m very thankful for it.  You have challenged me to apply things I knew in my heart to other people.  You have made me laugh, cry, and pray.  I love you so much and I’m so thankful for you!!!

Amy Sexton:  We’ve been friends for so long, Amy, and it’s been a blessing to watch the Lord bring you along in your faith, bless you with a husband, and now an adorable daughter.  Your friendship has touched me so many times, humbled me, and been a lot of fun.  I love you very much!


Honorable Mentions:  Courtney Blankenstein, Brooke Pilley, Bekah Laine, Cate Vernor, Hannah Pavlu, Anita Guffey, Catherine Baines, Heidy Basilio, Hannah Cole, Raelea Hiller, Amanda Sexton, Mindy Warren and Rachel Wade.  You have each encouraged me in your own special little ways.  You are each amazing women and I’m thankful to walk through this world with you!

Courtney, Brooke, Bekah, Cate and Hannah Pavlu – you will always be like extra sisters to me.

Anita and Catherine – I couldn’t be more thankful you moved down from Maine!

Heidy – you are just so sweet and beautiful!

Hannah – it’s always a joy to snicker about Twilight with you.

Raelea – your creativity is impressive to behold and you are a joy to be around.

Amanda – I miss you to this day, especially your hugs, and I’m really thankful for Facebook so I can keep up with you.

Mindy – your faithfulness to the Lord and creativity are so precious to me.

Rachel – you are an impressive Mom and a godly woman.  I have no higher praise.


I love you all!