Interstellar Outta This World!

I can’t believe how much I loved this movie! I’m not one to post movie reviews for fear of spoilers, but man Interstellar was too good not to rave about. Seriously, outta this world mind-blowing. Especially for a science-dodo like me. I kept asking myself one question.

Interstellar MemeTruth be told, the trailer doesn’t do this movie justice. By trying NOT to reveal the key plot twist, the trailer makes it look like a bunch of hype. But trust me, it isn’t! It’s just really hard to explain in 1 minute or less. So I’ll try 5 minutes instead.

Basically, the people of planet Earth have used up all their resources and the plants they have left are dying off. No shocker there, right? Matthew McConaughey’s character here is a former NASA engineer when what the world needs is more farmers. So you see where this is going. Secret government project to explore space and figure out a way for humanity to survive. Sorry if that’s a spoiler alert, but there are tons more surprises coming.

These government people convince Matt to leave his kids on Earth and go up into space to find the solution. Only he can pilot their ship. But what he finds up there is WAY more than he bargained for. SPOILER ALERT: Black holes to new galaxies bring in this theory of Einstein’s on relativity. Anne Hathaway’s character best explains it as time slippage the closer you get to a black hole. (I think, anyway.) And yet it’s the black hole that opens the window to new life, if they can just make it back to Earth before everyone dies out.

Those are just glimpses of the surprising twists and turns throughout this beautifully crafted movie. Thankfully, Intersellar doesn’t make that too-obvious jump into horror movie. It’s thrilling, it’s suspenseful. But no horror like every other space movie. Bet you’re wondering what those twists are now. I will mention there are some random cameos from other awesome actors.

Just watching this movie makes you think for hours, even days afterwards. But the best part, it was also completely inspiring. All those out-of-the-box thoughts led to new ideas about the plot of my own book. Not to mention a renewed energy to write my dystopian piece with similar where’d-that-come-from plot twists, even though my story is completely different.

So Interstellar I salute you! Thank you for inspiring me to think crazy new thoughts.

love Movies that Make you Think? seen Interstellar? I’d Love to know your Thoughts. :)

Kronk’s Shoulder Angel: Funny Take on Angel Theology

TGIF! Here’s a Fun Friday clip for you. Enjoy . . .

I’ve been asked to talk about angels in young adult literature at the Maranatha Book Fest this weekend. (My first author event! Can you stand it? :) ) Funny that one of the first images that popped into my mind was Kronk’s dilemma with his shoulder angel.

Do you think I can work this Disney take on angels into my presentation?

Because it’s media like this that has shaped our angel theology, right? Of course, it takes a lot more than a character like Kronk to influence our ideas about angels. But it’s a great image to get kids thinking about those winged messengers that save our bacon. (According to my new Tweep, Janice C. Johnson)

What images come to mind when you think about angels?
I’d love to hear from you.

Faith and Music: Is God’s Love Blind?

Recently I came across the sophomore album of the band Lifehouse. When I bought the CD in college, it seemed too moody for me. Relistening to it now, I discovered a beautiful song that portrays an aspect of God’s love I’d never thought about before. Is God’s love blind?

I’d say His love is blind when it comes to our faults, failures, and sins.  Because He loves us anyway. No matter what we do, no matter how big it is. He loves us for who we are. Now that’s what unconditional love is all about.

Yet we struggle to understand it, because in this world there are always conditions to tangle with. People have expectations, sometimes even a list of attributes they want in a person. But that’s not real love. When we try to compare our many forms of human love with God’s love, the scale never balances out.

Aren’t you glad God doesn’t follow our rules? I know I am. Somehow, He can forget all of our sins, and still use the experience to teach us. Not scold us or lecture us, even if we deserve it. What we see as stumbling blocks, He sees as necessary tools for our growth. Most of the time, it’s way beyond our understanding.

So is God’s love blind? Yes. But He also sees all of us, our entire being, and loves us anyway. What greater love is there than that? So many times we try to recreate that love in our relationships with others, when all we need to do is turn back to our creator.

Though this song is mostly about human relationships, I was struck by how much of the lyrics mirror aspects of God’s love.

A Wrinkle In Time Becomes a Graphic Novel

 

Can you believe it? One of my all time favorite young adult books A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle has been made into a graphic novel. Finally, a graphic novel I might actually read! According to Publishers Weekly, the author/illustrators Hope Larson and Margaret Ferguson had a hard time cutting scenes.  That means the story is pretty much as complete as possible. Great news for die hard L’Engle fans like me. Check out the graphic novel review and an interview with the author/illustrators:

A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel Book Review

How A Wrinkle in Time Was Made Into a Graphic Novel      

Holy Paris Gellar: 8 Emerging Godly Girl Websites

I’ve been checking around for new websites for teen girls, and I’ve stumbled across some rocking sites. I stole this phrase from a Twitter teen because I thought it was awesome! Not that Paris was a Godly girl, but if she was, I’m sure she’d endorse these sites, too. (And I seriously miss Gilmore Girls.) Here’s my top 7 up-and-coming girls-for-God sites:

1. Nicole O’dell.com and Choose Now Ministries: For the Good Girl, who wants to surf the Web on parent-approved sites. This site has advice columns for parents and teens–separately. Nicole shares her site with top Christian authors who give advice on Dating, Boys, Dreaming Big, Teen Pregnancy, and more.

2. Girls, God, and the Good Life: Authors like Betsy St. Amant, Camy Tang, and Jeneatte Hanscome post candid life lessons that really make you think. This site is chockfull of great resources for book and entertainment lovers who want “clean” alternatives to the entertainment choices always out there. Check it out.

3. RelateMag.com: This site is like the Seventeen Magazine for the Godly Girl. It has all kinds of articles from style and health tips, to celebrity and entertainment news, to relating your faith. Girls who are godly and girly will love it.

4. GoTeenWriters.com: Author Stephanie Morrill shares her insights on writing just for teen girls. She is joined by Jill Williamson, Rachel Coker, and Roseanna White who post their tips and offer contests for the Writer Girl who wants to improve her craft.

5. KatharosNow.com: This site is a mix of published authors and teens who post on timely topics like The Hunger Games, dating and relationships, daily living, and more. There’s even guy perspectives on a few issues. I just LOVED all the different perspectives this site has to offer.

6. Novel Teen @ Jill Williamson.com: Author Jill Williamson posts interviews and book reviews of “clean” teen novels, and even offers teens a chance to submit reviews. (Within certain parameters of course.) This is a great site for all the latest in Christian teen books.

7. RealTeenFaith.com: Great site with videos, testimonials about teen topics, and an advice column for teens. If you need a boost for your faith, this site will help you make sense of it all.

8. ProofSeeTheEvidence.org: This is a new site with YA writers Becky Dean, Tanya Eavenson, and author Shellie Neumeier. They post devos, and thoughts on deep Christian issues, along with author interviews and other lighthearted topics. Give it a try.

5 Reasons I’m Afraid to Finish The Hunger Games

I’ve watched the movie. I’ve read part 1 of The Hunger Games, but can’t seem to get past that point. Part 1 was great. Seeing the plight of District 12 juxtaposed next to the excess of the Capital was quite a striking picture. But now I’m frozen. I can’t seem to make my fingers turn to Part 2–The Games. Maybe there’s a reason, or five, for that. Mostly questions spinning around in my head. If you love The Hunger Games, help me answer these questions:

1. Is it too violent? The whole concept of the Hunger Games is barbaric and utterly violent by definition. Kids killing kids, can it get any worse? As a YA novel, the violence should be kept to a minimum. But I’m not sure if the publisher’s minimum and my maximum are at the same level. I’m a chick lit, romantic comedy, happily-ever-after kind of girl. Sure, I love the occasional sci-fi/fantasy like Neil Gammon’s Interworld, but it’s not too violent. My friends tried to convince me that the violence is minimal and tastefully done. Still, I hesitate. At some point I’ll have to just see for myself.

2. Is it too bleak? For me, fiction needs to have a redeeming quality to it. I love to learn a lesson or look at something different because of a great story. Since I’m very empathetic with the characters I read, I had to stop in the middle of Part 1 and do something happy. It was hard to picture myself in District 12. What a horrible place. Made me compare the conditions to how people live in third-world countries. It did open my eyes in that respect.

3. Is it completely hopeless? Katniss has to enter a game she can’t win, but all along I’m rooting for her to overcome. Is it even possible? These people in the Capital are horrible, unfeeling, double-crossing lunatics. (Is that how the rest of the world sees America? How sad.) Katniss has trained herself to survive, but the odds are completely against her. I just wonder how many hopeless situations she’ll have to overcome. I’m not a drama queen. In fact I hate it. My fear is that she’ll face too much drama and I’ll stop reading.

4. Where’s the romance? I wouldn’t call any of Katniss’ interactions with Peeta and Gale romantic. Gale is just trying to survive. It makes him a good guy, but I didn’t see the sparks fly. And Peeta’s doing the same, in his own way. At this point I’m not sure if I like him, but he’s unpredictable. Half the time he seems to hate Katniss, and then he doesn’t. That wishy-washy kind of character is true to life, but not any kind of man I’d want.

5. Can Katniss ever return to normal? After seeing the Capital and being in the Hunger Games, will Katniss survive? If she does I hope she doesn’t have to go back to the horror of District 12. She already knew it was awful. Her new experiences would certainly change her forever. Who can deal with such trauma and be the same? I guess that’s why there’s two more books to read. I wonder how Collins can twist such depressing circumstances into some kind of satisfying ending. I can’t see it. But I hope I’m wrong.

If you’re a Hunger Games fan, why do you love it? Could a happily-ever-after kind of girl love it, too? Go ahead, convince me. I dare you. :)

Life, Faith, and Entertainment that Teaches

Lens Mosaic

Robin Blue - stockxchng

Have you ever learned something from a movie, TV show, or book that made you look at life differently? It’s what I love about stories. Stories have power. The power to focus our attention on certain aspects of life and come away changed. Then it’s not just entertainment–it has takeaway value. It becomes a lens to see the world around us better.

Maybe it’s just me, but every time I watch or read a good story, I try to find a way to empathize with a character. Put myself in their shoes. (And if I can’t I stop watching/reading.) It’s kinda cool to see what life would be like in a dystopian future like The Hunger Games, or as a modern-day woman who gets swept off her feet by a blast from the past like in Kate & Leopold. (Here’s a link to my previous blog on Kate & Leopold.)

The best part is how I can become part of the story. When I do I learn more about myself. What to do . . . what not to do. And if it’s a great story, it can give us a picture of God’s truth. Those are the best stories for me. They can come from Christian writers, or non-Christian writers. It’s kind of a mystery how it all works. But I believe God uses not only His children, but those who are seeking him as well. (Whether they know it or not. ) Somehow, it’s all a part of His plan.

If you agree with me, and even if you don’t, I hope you can join me on a new journey I’m about to take with this blog. I want to steer it in a new direction. I’ll blog every Tuesday and Thursday about life, faith, and entertainment. I’ll extract nuggets of wisdom in various forms of story-telling. If you’re willing, come back and check out what’s in store. Hope to see you on Thursday. :)

P.S. If you didn’t have anything better to do and watched Fame on MTV like I did last Saturday, maybe you know what I mean. Doesn’t that movie make you want to go out and chase your dreams? (No, it’s not all copacetic, but the edited TV version is okay.) Here’s a great song from that movie, Try sung by Asher Book. Enjoy.