Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Reflections on The Christmas Season

Dearest Readers,

Last week begun the traditional start to the holiday season; for the first time I can remember, our church has decided to continue the tradition of lighting candles until Christmas.. This week's candle was the Candle of Hope.

But hope for what?

Financial stability??

True love??

Continued health and wellness in the new year??

The Oxford dictionary defines hope as “A feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen”. Peter said we have a “living hope” and this is that we have an inheritance of eternal life kept for us in Heaven. (1 Pet 3:3-5). Our faith is focused on this -  “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). So, what is our hope?  It is eternal life. And in Whom is our hope? It is in  Jesus Christ  (1 Timothy ).

Throughout the generations, Christians have lost  their awe for what happened the night of Jesus's birth- how everything came to pass as was prophesied. I'm not saying we should forget God's kind and compassionate character, but it is only when we acknowledge our need for Him that we can truly comprehend God's master plan of allowing us to point others toward Jesus himself.  Or as Isaiah put it in Isaiah 6:5-8:  
"Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Take for example Jefferson Moore's A Perfect  Stranger movie trilogy. Although the premise of the movies are nice  in theory (because Jesus did come down to earth to live among us to spread the gospel news) these movies tend to gloss over how powerful God truly is and what he is truly capable of..

This brings me back to   my original question:  How Do We Get Back To The True Meaning of Christmas?

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

I Believe- In Memory of Della Reese

Dearest Readers,

It is with deep sorrow that I report that Della Reese has passed away at the age of 86,best known for her role as Tess in the series, Touched By An Angel, Reese made us believe in every day miracles. Debuting in 1994, the series centered around a group of angels sent down to help humans find hope in the midst of their daily struggles here on earth; the main message of "God loves you " being a central theme of every episode. Created by Martha Williamson, the show lasted nine seasons on CBS, conquering many controversial topics such as homelessness, mental illness and other other tragedies like 9/11 It taught audiences that for those that believe in Jesus, there is no fear in death-with the introduction of The Angel Of Death (portrayed albeit ironically by actor John Dye) Dye was not the stereo typical angel of death- dark and scary; instead, he spread God's light- both figuratively and literally with a message of hope and faith until they saw God for themselves.

I myself looked forward to every Sunday when for one hour I was reminded about the real possibility of Angels walking among us. In a world that barely recognizes Jesus anymore (aside from church and family life) I was given hope that someone is watching over me- either God himself or Angels of past relatives. God knows where I have been and knows where I am going because he's already there. He is there even though I may not always feel him.

In her last sighting out, Della Reese was asked about her belief in Angels. I believe her response says it best:

"..Everybody needs an angel in their life,what he left us to help us through was faith.."

Rest In Peace Della Reese!




More inspirational clips of Della Reese:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcHZ1b5Pa1A

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCYvOnu_vI8

https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/people/2017/11/20/della-reese-star-tvs-touched-angel-dies-86/881525001/

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS | Official Trailer | In theaters this Tha...

Dear Readers,

With Thanksgiving almost here, I hope everybody is  time with family and friends- I certainly am. even though it seems like a quiet one, I intend to make the best of it going to the movies with my mom and dad. One of them will possibly be The Man Who Invented Christmas. Although the title is a little deceiving because Jesus was and always is the reason we have Christmas, this movie tells the story of a writer (Charles Dickens) struggling with writer's block. As Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens IV) looks around for ideas, the characters for A Christmas Carol began to come alive for him. With  big stars as Christopher Plummer  as Scrooge and Jonathan Pryce as John Dickens,it should be a interesting one. I hope to see  this movie during my Christmas break, I kind of relate to it being a writer..





For more information about the movie, please go to:



https://bleeckerstreetmedia.com/themanwhoinventedchristmas



https://www.facebook.com/TheManWhoInventedChristmas



http://ew.com/movies/2017/11/21/the-man-who-invented-christmas-ew-review/


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Same Kind of Different as Me Trailer #2 (2017) | Movieclips Trailers



Welcome Back Readers~

Although I didn't have a chance to see this movie in theaters, it intrigued me enough to read the book. This book is told from two distinct perspective, that of a upper-class well educated white man andl a homeless African-American. I only point out the race because each influences how they see the other in the beginning but by the end, race doesn't seem to matter. After Ron Hall and his wife Deborah experience some marital difficulties, the struggle to find ways to reconnect. That's when Deborah brings up the idea of helping out at the homeless mission in Texas. It is then when she reveals a dream that God laid on her heart to help out here and of a "friend" that would help them change the city. At first, Ron shakes it off as just a dream, but when Denver enters the picture Deborah is sure he's the one from her dream.

"Become his friend," she encourages.

Obviously taken aback, Ron is unsure.

On the other hand, Denver is wary of anyone who works at the mission. He believes anyone who comes to help is just doing their holiday duty to make themselves feel better. But when they return every Tuesday, his attitudes began to change. Through friendship, Ron develops a deeper understanding of Denver's perspective on people and why the is wary of them. Time passes and the two become closer. It is when Deborah develops cancer that Denver becomes part of the family.

On a personal note, there are a lot of quotes in this book that I found full of wisdom One such quote being that we are all homeless waiting to be taken up to heaven where God is waiting for us (I think Denver puts it better in his book; it is also a quote in the trailer above) Denver also believes that some people see friendship as a catch and release psychology- here today, gone tomorrow-but if he's your friend, he's a friend for life.

I highly recommend this book although the first half is kind of slow and it takes a while to get involved in the plot

Monday, November 6, 2017

Reflections on The Book of Jonah

Dear Readers,

This Sunday our church started a four-week series on the book of Jonah; I'm not sure how many of you are familiar with the story, but I will try to summarize it for you. In short, Jonah is a prophet of God who is called to preach to the people of Nineveh. However, Jonah didn't want to go because he thought the people there to wicked and set in their ways to repent. Instead, he fled to Tarshish by boat. During the trip, the boat encounters a storm-; in the midst of it all, everyone (except Jonah is afraid they are going to die. (Jonah is asleep and completely oblivious.) Finally out of options, they go to him and ask asking what to do. Jonah realizes God is disappointed in him and he is the cause for everything. He then tells the shipmates to throw him overboard. But God is not through with him yet; he causes a whale to swallow him and he stays there for three days and nights. After which, the whale throws up and spits Jonah on land. From there, he sets out to Nineveh and preaches and surprisingly they repent.. That is the gist of it.

I kind of relate to Jonah lately. Not that I’ve been running away from God; just feeling the distance from him. A lot has been going on with my family lately; With both of my parents getting older and having more medical issues (leaving them unable to lift or lifting with great difficulty), I am left with little to count. My agency is not that reliable and we are left on our own two figure things out. But that’s a whole other story. Personally I feel this whole situation is trying to get me to lean on God more than anyone or anything else. It’s getting more and more uncomfortable realizing that my parents are getting older and soon I may be on my own. I am trying to adjust to changes in showering routine and equipment. But it has to be done. Either way, God is always with me and love me no matter what happens. That’s why I’m hoping God will bring someone into my life (personal aide or significant other) to support me; I need someone besides my parents.I am independent, but we all need someone

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Wonder (2017 Movie) Official Trailer #2 - “Brand New Eyes” – Julia Rober...

Welcome Back Guys

I'm really looking forward to this movie which highlights the struggles of mainstreaming people with disabilities into public schools. Based on the New York bestseller, this movie follows August Pullman as he struggles to  fit in on his first day of middle school; it's kind of hard though seeing as he was born with facial  deformities that cause him to stand out in the crowd. This movie features an outstanding cast of Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson,Jacob Tremblay, Mandy Patinkin, Daveed Diggs, and Izabela Vidovic. it shows how one extraordinary boy with "special" needs can give more to his community then they can only imagine if given a chance. The movie hits theaters November 17th!

I find myself relating a lot to the topics of this book as I read it; I distinctly remember people staring at me as I drove my wheelchair up and down the halls using my head controls. I also really appreciate how the author takes the time to write from the different perspectives of the family members: August himself and then his sister as well as his parents. It gives a honest portrayal of how a disability impacts the family as a whole and not just the individual. I would recommend it for children and adults alike..



For more information about the movie and/or book, please go to:

http://www.wonder.movie/
https://www.facebook.com/WonderTheMovie
http://rjpalacio.com/

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Between Heaven And the Real World:: My Story- Debbie's Review

Welcome Back~

Steven Curtiis Chapman's Between Heaven and The Real World: My Story gives fans an in-depth and candid look at his life. From his upbringing to the very start of  musical career, it seems like the beginning of a fairytale. Not true. Everyone struggles. Even Steven. From a very young age, he fought feelings of inadequacy when it came to his relationship with his father as well as his musical talent, living in the shadow of his brother Herbie. Little did he know these experiences would teach them to rely on God in all aspects of his life;  this would translate into an uncanny ability to create lyrics that audiences could relate to. Steven also is an open book (literally) when it comes to his personal life- including opening up about his marriage, adoption, and even the accident that changed his family's life forever.

Little is known about how the topic of adoption came about. 11-year-old Emily first brought up the idea when she started asking for a baby sister sister. But could they really handle the challenge? After all, the Chapmans already had three biological children of their own. But when Mary Beth admitted she always thought about about the idea of adopting a child from Asia. After Emily and her dad attended a fundraiser for Bethany Christian Services , Emily was more adamant than ever that the that the family should adopt. But Mary Beth still had roadblocks that needed to be removed before even thinking about adopting from China. First, she had read about the biological children restriction; she had read that China would not allow them to adopt. At the time of their initial interest, Bethany revealed that the restriction had been raised to allow more biological children. One roadblock removed. Mary Beth had also read that most children from China were 2-three years old, when she originally envisioned adopting a baby. Christian services actually reported that most babies were 8 to 10 months old. Check. One final question: What would they name the child if they were to adopt? Upon further discussion, she revealed how much she liked the Hannah. Then, her husband jokingly pointed out the similarities between Sarah and Abraham from the Bible and their family; both thinking they could not have more children in their old age. That brought up the idea of adding laughter somewhere in the name. The two soon forgot about it.

Later, Steven just happened to be reading a Reader Digest feature about a adoptive family trying to find a cure for their son, who had an unknown illness. His name  included the Mandarin word for laughter in it. It was as if God himself was shining down on them, listening to every concern they had and answered it in his own unique way. Soon after, they traveled to China, welcoming Hannah (with the Mandarin word for laughter as her middle name- my apologies. I tried to find it exactly on the Internet, but couldn't) Chapman into the family. not long after, they added one more to the family named Stevie Joy. It was then that they realized the financial burdens that adoption causes for families and created the nonprofit organization Show Hope, which provides assistance for those willing to adopt from China. 

With Emily starting high school,, things were changing around the Chapman household. It was one week before Easter while touring in China when Steven first met Maria. She had been left by the riverbed and was later diagnosed with a birth defect, which caused her to have a hole in her heart. Originally she was For by an Australian missionary couple; but after being called back to the states, they cannot adopt her because of poor relationships of the countries. And so she had been passed on to Tim and Amy Haddon. There was a instant connection between Steven and Maria; soon, he felt, and urging to adopt her as well. Only one obstacle- getting everyone else on board. After he returned from the tour, however, he found adoption papers already signed by Mary Beth; he only needed to sign them to get the process. The Chapman family was soon complete.

On February  20th 2008, Maria began showing interest in God and his "Big, big house," Audio Adrenaline's song had been taught as part of Maria's preschool curriculum and she wanted to learn more about it. Not wanting to miss this opportunity to witness, Mary Beth called her husband into help. They talked about his house and how he paid the ultimate sacrifice so that someday she could come to live with him; but for now he would come into her heart-if only she would ask him. From that point on, Maria prayed a simple prayer and laid her heart out for all to see. After Maria was finished, Stevie Joy decided if Maria was going there someday, she'd like to go to. They repeated the process and then headed off to preschool where the teachers continued the celebration. Little did they know how important that day would become in the near future.

On May 21, 2008, their lives changed forever when Maria raced outside to meet Will as he rounded the driveway in this car. Maria was struck head-on and airlifted to Vanderbilt Medical Center. After trying everything, she did not survive

The family each grieved in their own way- Will feeling responsible for his sister's death, Mary Beth retreating into a deep depression. Steven kept reminding himself how the Lord gives and takes away.Yours later, that grief motivated them to create Maria's Big House of Hope- a medical center for children with special needs in the middle of China.

*I apologize if any of these specific details are off in terms of a timeline; I tried my best to paraphrase the details that touched my heart in the book. I'll always have a heart for adoption and helping those with special needs- though I will probably never be able to adopt because of my circumstances. But I do encourage those who will are intrigued by my summary of the book to read it on their own. I would also encourage them to take a look at the links below and consider contributing to the nonprofit organizations.

For more information about Steven Curtis Chapman,Show Hope, Maria's Big House,go to:
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