Oscars

Standard

If you know me, you know I have an Oscar party every year. Last year was cancelled due to Covid and again this year too. However, I did watch with a friend and what a night it was. The image above is the cast of CODA, which truly deserved the Best Picture award. (they won every award they were nominated for.) I watched most of the nominated movies and am happy to share my thoughts on some of them in this week’s blog.

Before I share how amazing CODA is, I must briefly comment on the big elephant in the Oscar room – Will Smith and Chris Rock. I am not one to stir controversy in my blog so all I will say is the whole thing was a train-wreck. Both sides were wrong. Who was wronger? Not going there. The evening is about rewarding hard work, excellence in your craft, and fashion. Of course, the gossip, jokes at other’s expense, star gazing happens every year. This year, got out of control. Enough said.

If you haven’t seen CODA(Child of Deaf Adults), get Apple TV streaming and watch it. It so deserved Best Picture, Best Adaptive Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor. Power of the Dog was nominated for 12 awards (it only won Best Director). It was the “favorite.” I watched Power of the Dog and I don’t recommend it to anyone. It was good acting but disturbing to watch and pretty pointless, in my opinion. So when CODA picked up steam prior to the awards ceremony, I was hopeful. If you don’t know the story, it’s a family who is deaf except their daughter. She desires to pursue music. I will warn you there is language and choices against my belief system. Yet, my whole family watched it and loved it. Also, CODA actor Troy Katsur is the first deaf man to win an Oscar. Marlee Matlin (his costar) was the first deaf woman to win an Oscar years ago for Children of a Lesser God.

Several other movies nominated are worth the watch. The Eyes of Tammy Faye moved me to tears multiple times in the show. Jessica Chastain deserved the Oscar for Best Actress last night. If you remember the story of Jim and Tammy Faye Baker’s rise and fall, this movie captures it all. It’s the untold story of this woman who truly loved God and wanted to share His love to everyone. She was unique in her approaches and made mistakes. Yet, her heart for God shined in this movie. I can’t say enough good things about this one.

While movies these days continue to push the envelope on topics that make us uncomfortable and show images that none of us should see, there are quite a few quality movies out there. The lessons I learn and the way I am challenged in the art of film inspire me. I may not like every movie I watch but if I am changed for the better, it’s worth it. One example is Belfast. It was an OK movie. However, I knew nothing of that period in history and did a deeper dive after the movie. Great – I learned and grew from it.

I encourage you to always be wise in what you allow into your mind, eyes, ears, and heart. Watch movies with God’s eyes to see the brokenness of characters and how they overcome or fail. Turn a movie experience into a prayer time with God. Talk to Him about what you learned, saw, and discovered. Seek wisdom from all you input into your life. We shouldn’t live so sheltered that we aren’t aware of the “real” world.

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. ~ Philippians 4:8-9 MSG

Go watch a good movie!

Dream Big! Pray Big!

90 and Counting

Standard

My dad turned 90 this month. I am so grateful he is here and in great shape. I wish mom was still here to celebrate with us. My sister and I gave him a surprise party with his friends at the gym he goes to every day. What an amazing day. The next day my devotional had the following question: “Imagine it’s your ninetieth birthday. What kind of tribute would you like to hear? What accomplishments do you want mentioned? What character traits do you want to be known for?” God is so cool. I love His timing which is perfect.

At my 90th, I hope to be healthy and able to communicate and know everyone at my party. I want to have friends and be seen a good friend. I desire to be known as a woman of faith. I would love to be surrounded by my children and their children.

As I write this, I realize, I have this now. I am relatively healthy (still have my Covid weight to work on). I am a good friend and have good friends. I am a woman of faith and those that know me experience that. My kids are young adults and I love when they are with me (2 are off at college). So if I’ve already achieved a lot of my hopes for my 90th, how do I keep these part of my life thriving until then?

My health needs to take a higher priority in my life to get back to an optimal weight. I have a plan and am implementing it now. My mind is being challenged with work and learning. Trusting that will keep my brain healthy.

I need to keep investing in friends I have, but also keep making new friends. My dad’s friends have developed over the past few years at the gym. He still has friends from his past, but his daily life interactions are with those in proximity. I see that not being open to new friends as I age, would limit me greatly. My closest friends today will always be in my life but may not live nearby. Life draws us to new homes, jobs, and situations. Staying open to friends in new contexts – especially those nearby – is required in life. As you reenter the world after the Covid lockdown, be intentional in your friendships (old and new).

My faith is a daily choice. I won’t lose my salvation but I can lose my closeness and awareness of God. Daily I must be with Him. Daily I must learn from God. Daily I must be in His word, praying, and relinquishing control to His will. Someone could “fall away” from God and reclaim faith later in life. I strive to stay strong in my walk with God. He is my strength, my rock, my guide, and my hope.

Keeping my kids close is about intentionality in parenting. I have young adult children. I am more of a coach/encourager with my kids these days. To be intentional at this stage of parenting, is to listen more and speak less. When I lecture or question, it drives a wedge between my kids and I. Being on my knees for them is my most powerful tool to guide them because I am asking God to guide them. Pray, pray, pray. When I have time with my kids, I strive to love, love, love and laugh, laugh, laugh.

Friends, who do you want to be when you are 90? How do you want others to describe you? What can you do today to bring that reality into your life today? I encourage you to take a moment to answer these questions and ponder.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

P.S. I apologize for my absence to my blog last week and being late this week. I’m missed writing and reaching out to you.

Pilgrimage

Standard

Most of us think of the image above when someone says the word Pilgrimage. A long trek with religious significance. Yesterday I had the pleasure of leading worship at a service in a retirement community. Their pastor said “a pilgrimage can be any faith journey you take where your perspective has changed at the end.” I like that. He used it in reference to Lent. We go into Lent (40 days before Easter not including Sundays) to prepare our hearts for the celebration of Jesus’ death and resurrection on our behalf. Many of us observe Lent by “fasting” something in our daily life. Others, add something that draws them closer to Jesus for that 40+ days. If we view this Lent as a pilgrimage, we are anticipating change by Easter. A new way of seeing life. A new understanding of Jesus. A new spiritual habit.

I love the idea of pilgrimage but I’m not a traveler. So for me, taking an intentional journey toward growth is pursing a Lenten style journey. A time frame set. A focus on a goal set. Doing it. For lent this year, I am following an online study for the next few weeks until Easter. I’m already changed and anticipate more. The focus is on gratitude. The other day the teacher encouraged using my creativity to show gratitude. I like that challenge. Paint a picture for someone, write a poem, send a card, drop off an unexpected treat (or DoorDash one). All creative ways to let someone know I am grateful for them. Love that. At the end of my pilgrimage, I want to be a woman marked by gratitude. That’s my hope and prayer.

Whether you engage in the practice of Lent, travel to Israel to retrace Jesus’ journeys, or just create your own scenario for growth – you are on a pilgrimage. Let’s journey toward change. Our goal – to be more like Jesus.

but whoever follows His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says that he remains in Him ought, himself also, walk just as He walked.

~ I John 2:5-6 NASB

Dream Big! Pray Big!