Sunday, March 27, 2011

To Everything There is a Season

I graduated high school back in 1985.  My years in high school were at the epitome of the mid 80's.  John Hughes' movies masterfully defined our generation, our fashion sense and our secular ideologies.  High school life was just that simple.  The Breakfast Club asked it best; were you a jock, a princess, a freak, a nerd or a loadie?

As we entered into our senior year, still wearing our shirt collars flipped up and Members Only jackets, I vividly remember the age of neon clothing mingling with lacy fingerless gloves descending upon the incoming freshman class.  Their music lacked the synchronized guitar-techno sound that we had grown to love. How could Depeche Mode or Kylie Minogue replace The Go-Go's, B-52's or The Bangles?

Who were these kids, and what on earth could they have been thinking?

Our age of preppy and outcries for social justice were being swallowed up in a sea of ego-centric, tacky neon orange/yellow, and we had nothing to say about it. We were the ones leaving high school.  We now had the huge task of actually changing the world, not just talking about it.

How did we do?  Did we positively impact a generation--or generations to come?  Or did we fall into that crevasse of mediocrity and entitlement, with little regard for anyone else but those in our inner circle?

High school was so much easier than real life.  You could have ideologies backed up with personal philosophies and still you were too young to be expected to actually DO anything.   It was to real-life what club soccer practice is to the World Cup.

So here I sit at 40 something.  Remembering how I wanted to change the world-- or at least contribute a big effort in that change.  I wanted to help people in ways that now seem so far-fetched to my suburban, upper middle class self.  With age comes the fear of getting hurt.  When you're young you are invincible! With time comes those adult responsibilities that make us place other's needs (children's, spouses, aging parents...)  ahead of our own dreams and self fulfillment.  And rightly so...

Because to everything there is a season.

Funny how quickly our season of summer slips away.  Thank goodness fall is still full of hope and promise!  Now-- what was it that I meant to do, again???

Friday, March 25, 2011


I lived in California my whole life.  A place where spring is relatively the same as fall (or winter or summer).  I never understood the idea of spring cleaning or airing out the house.  The difference was sometimes only seen in the clothes we chose to wear.  Where winter scarves and Uggs were just a fashion statement-- not a necessity.

Now I'm living in Tennessee, where the seasons are all different, and looking forward to opening up the windows, soaking up the warmth of the sunshine, and airing out the house from a long season of winter finally makes sense to me.

I have a brand new understanding of spring.  And it's amazing.

Renewal.  Rebirth.  Those are happening right now--and not just metaphorically, but literally-- all around me.  The trees, grass, and flowers are awakening from a sweet slumber.  It's lovely.  No, it's breathtaking!

How apropos that this is also the season that we celebrate Easter-- our Salvation and Hope for eternity through Jesus!!  I get it now--maybe more clearly than ever before-- what rebirth is all about, and how it looks from the inside looking out.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A New VeggieTales-- Twas the Night Before Easter

My friends at Big Idea have a brand new release just in time for Easter!  VeggieTales' Twas the Night Before Easter-- In stores NOW!

It’s Easter time in Crisper County and cable news reporter Marlee Meade (Petunia Rhubarb) is hunting for a way to help others. On a tip that the old town theater will be shut down, Marlee cooks up a plan to save the stage and make a difference through the power of musical theater. With a cast of costume-clad townies, massive props and a 20-foot robot rabbit – “Up With Bunnies” is hatched! There’s only one thing missing – the star of the show!
When news spreads that singing sensation Cassie Cassava is arriving to perform in her hometown church’s Easter service, Marlee gets worried. Concerned about the competition, she schemes to steal the starlet for her own pageant! But when things go haywire, will it be curtains for Marlee’s dreams – or will she discover the true meaning of Easter.
In true Veggie fashion, there is always a message in their story.  The verse used to teach the lesson in this episode is, Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
In the end we learn that the best way to help someone is to just simply… help them.  Find out what their needs are and then serve them.  Bob and Larry learn that while candy and plastic eggs are fun, Jesus and what He did for us is the MOST important aspect of Easter! Because (like one of the songs in the show says…) when we think about Easter, we think about God’s love!
Written and directed by Mike Nawrocki, and starring the usual cast of Veggies (many who are voiced by Phil Vischer), including some older veggie friends we haven’t seen in awhile.  This episode also introduces us to a new Veggie friend, Cassie Cassava, voiced by American Idol finalist Melinda Doolittle.
Great story and music which will be enjoyed by the whole family! Recommended for all ages!
VeggieTales has teamed up with Christian charity World Vision as part of this particuar campaign. The partnership will focus on building a greater awareness of how families can help care for those in need with opportunities to sign up for child sponsorships through World Vision at, as well as in person at numerous Christian retail stores across the country.
Get your copy of VT Twas the Night Before Easter at your favorite retailer, Christian bookstore, or directly through the Big Idea online store.  

Saturday, March 5, 2011

RANGO Missed the Mark

We are big Johnny Depp and Pirates of the Caribbean fans, so when the previews of RANGO, the Gore Verbinski / Nickelodeon film started last fall, we were anxiously awaiting its release!  This past Friday night we went to the movies expecting to see a smartly written, masterfully directed, fun, CGI animated film that the whole family would enjoy.  
We were disappointed on most accounts.
The animation was great!  In fact, if you are an animation aficionado, you will appreciate the level of expertise displayed in the film’s many action-packed scenes. There's a great cameo by Clint Eastwood, who was momentarily reprising his The Man with No Name character.  This scene was so well animated, I had to remind myself it was a toon I was seeing, and not the actor himself!  

Now, if you’re more like me, and story just happens to be king, then you may walk away a little disappointed.
The first thing I need to address is that this is by no means a kid’s movie.  There are curse words that alone make it inappropriate.  But even if you were to dub out the “h” and “d” words (to include one scene where a character actually says, “Go to h...”) the violence and adult situational humor was a bit over the top for the youngsters under 10.  
To sum up the plot is one sentence, I would say that it’s a story about a lizard who goes on an adventure to find his true self.  The story doesn’t arc until way late in the process, so I found myself checking my watch at least three times, thinking he would never find a resolution.  Of course, he does find his true self--his destiny-- and saves the day.  Think the Odyssey-meets a spaghetti western-meets The Big Lebowski, cast entirely with desert creatures.  Good, but not good for the WHOLE family.

The mariachi owls were pretty awesome!  They followed Rango's story as Mexican minstrels, and would add the right dose of humor in perfect intervals.  A decent soundtrack possibility if you are so inclined.  
I would not recommend this film for young kids.