Monday, December 25, 2017

Day 25 - Share the light of Jesus Christ

December 1 thru December 25 I am posting about movies which reflect each day's focus for #LightTheWorld

Day 25

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 5:16)

Merry Christmas!

I shared this post two years ago:

The Bishop's Wife (1947) ranks at the top of our favorite Christmas movies. Episcopal Bishop Henry Brougham (David Niven) ignores his wife (Loretta Young) and daughter as he obsesses over fundraising for a new cathedral. He pleads for divine guidance, and an angel, Dudley (Cary Grant), arrives. That's right… Cary Grant portrays an angel! Ya gotta love it! Abundant humorous moments soar throughout the film.

My husband and I watched it as newlyweds, and the following dialogue inspired our first family tradition.

Tonight I want to tell you the story
of an empty stocking. Once upon a
midnight clear, there was a child's cry.
A blazing star hung over a stable and
wise men came with birthday gifts.
We haven't forgotten that night down
the centuries; we celebrate it with
stars on Christmas trees, the sound
of bells and with gifts. But especially
with gifts. You give me a book; I give
you a tie. Aunt Martha has always
wanted an orange squeezer and Uncle 
Henry could do with a new pipe.
We forget nobody, adult or child.
All the stockings are filled...
All that is, except one.
And we have even forgotten to
hang it up. The stocking for the
child born in a manger. It's His
birthday we are celebrating. 
Don't ever let us forget that. 
Let us ask ourselves what He would
wish for most... and then let each
put in his share. Loving kindness,
warm hearts and the stretched out hand
of tolerance. All the shining gifts
that make peace on earth.

Thanks to Bishop Brougham's sermon we hang a stocking for Jesus each year, placed between ours--in the center--to represent how we want Christ in the center of our lives. 

There used to be more stockings--one for each child and pet--but we've gone full circle, empty nesters with three stockings, shown below.  Mine on the left, Kurt's on the right, and the Savior's in the center.

On Christmas Eve, we each fill out a card with a promise (our gift) for the upcoming year--service to others, overcome a bad habit, show more gratitude--and place the gifts in His stocking, removing and reviewing the cards from the previous year. 

A treasured family tradition brought to us by our favorite Christmas movie.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Day 24 - Make prayers more meaningful.

December 1 thru December 25 I am posting about movies which reflect each day's focus for #LightTheWorld

Day 24

"Ye must watch and pray always."

War Room (2015) is a great movie about prayer. At times it is over-the-top, but the film carries a vital message: Prayer is a powerful weapon. We never need to battle life's problems alone.

YouTube Movie Trailer: War Room

The following movies are based on actual events and reflect the power of prayer:

A disturbed couple take more than 100 students and teachers hostage. 
The bomb detonates in the room, and the two perpetrators die.
All of the hostages survive.
(Click here for my review of the film.)

Excel Entertainment Trailer: The Cokeville Miracle

A freak accident miraculously cures Anna Beam 
of an incurable life-threatening digestive defect.
(Click here for my review of the film.)

Sony Pictures Trailer: Miracles from Heaven

Of course, not all prayers are answered the way we think they ought to be. Sometimes we don't recognize the answers, and sometimes the answers are "no" or "not yet." I wrote about that a few years ago, here.

Through prayer, I can converse with my Heavenly Father anytime, anywhere. He has helped me deal with anger, hurt, sorrow, disappointment, but we've also had some good laughs together.  

Sometimes, though, I get too "me-deep" in conversation with God. Help me. Bless me. Today I will pray only for blessings upon others.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Day 23 - Be a light in someone's life.

December 1 thru December 25 I am posting about movies which reflect each day's focus for #LightTheWorld.

Day 23

"I was in prison, and ye came unto me." (Matthew 25:36)

Prisons don't always have bars. Addiction, depression, compulsion, illness, negative thought patterns, can hold us captive. Blessed are they who bring light into our lives.

Based on a true story, in the following clip from The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio (2005) a group of women who enter advertising contests gather at the home of Emma Hartzler. They call themselves The Affadaisies and they meet at Emma's home since she can't come to theirs... she's inside an iron lung.

Fandango Movieclips: The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio "The Affadaisies"

A teacher (Hilary Swank) gives hope of higher education to a group of students trapped in hatred, gangs, violence. She helps them find their voice through journaling. Freedom Writers (2007), based on a true story.

YouTube Movies Trailer: Freedom Writers

In Forever Strong (2008), rugby player Rick Penning (Sean Faris) lands in juvenile detention for his second D.U.I, but it's his attitude that keeps his potential locked up. A counselor at the center provides an opportunity for the athlete to play on a team coached by Larry Gelwix (Gary Cole), who holds the rugby players to high moral standards. Coach Gelwix's methods help Rick break free of his self-destructive behavior. This film is based on a blend of true stories about Utah's Highland High School rugby team.

On the lighter side, some characters in Sing (2016) are imprisoned by fear, stagnation, other's opinions. The director of a singing competition gives them encouragement and helps them break free. This movie is not based on a true story, but might as well be. How many of us are trapped by similar attitudes?

Fandango Movies Trailer: Sing

Today I will give encouragement to others.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Day 22 - Follow the example of Jesus Christ

December 1 thru December 25 I am posting about movies which reflect each day's focus for #LightTheWorld.

Day 22

"That which ye have seen me do even that shall ye do." (3 Nephi 27:21)

On Day 2, I shared a clip from Ben-Hur (1959) where Judah Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston) receives water from Jesus. In this clip (toward the end of the film) Judah follows Christ's example of kindness and offers water to Him.

Fandango Movie Clip: Ben Hur "Water For Jesus"

In the following short video, Ray Flores shares how he had "The Report Card Program" in an area of poverty near Venice (California). He gave skateboards to kids who showed him their report cards... with no Fs. "Ray used his love of skateboarding to show Christlike love."

Today I will follow the example of Jesus Christ by being patient and kind to others. This will take effort since I will be out among the shopping crowds.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Day 21 - Help the hungry.

December 1 thru December 25 I am posting about movies which reflect each day's focus for #LightTheWorld.

Day 21

"For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat." (Matthew 25:35)

I've already mentioned Les Misérables in previous posts (here and here), but I can't help but think of it again for today's focus. Jean Valjean goes to prison for stealing a loaf of bread to help his sister's child, near starvation. Then after his release from prison, he comes close to starvation again. A kind Bishop provides shelter and a meal, but more importantly, gives Valjean a second chance at life.

Today I will donate nonperishables to a local food bank.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Day 20 - Focus on things that mean the most.

December 1 thru December 25 I am posting about movies which reflect each day's focus for #LightTheWorld.

Day 20

"A man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth." (Luke 12:15)

I attended a friend's funeral earlier this week and her family didn't speak of anything she had accumulated. Instead, they spoke of her love for family and God. 

There are some movies out there that reflect on what matters most, but today I am simply posting this very short video because it says it all.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Day 19 - Spread joy.

December 1 thru December 25 I am posting about movies which reflect each day's focus for #LightTheWorld.

Day 19

"Rejoice, and be exceeding glad." (Matthew 5:12)

I think of Pollyanna (1960) when I think of being glad. Sometimes people mock Pollyanna as someone who is naive, dumb, or unaware. But that's not the case. She is aware of disappointing situations but chooses to find something to be glad about... and she helps others do the same.

Today I will choose to be glad and share joy with others.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Day 18 - Forgive.

December 1 thru December 25 I am posting about movies which reflect each day's focus for #LightTheWorld.

Day 18

"Forgive men their trespasses." (Matthew 6:14)

Three of the most powerful words in Cinderella (2015) come at the end when Ella tells her villainous stepmother, "I forgive you."

In the movie Take (2007), Ana Nichols (Minnie Driver) harbors anger and resentment toward Saul Gregor (Jeremy Renner) for the pain and suffering he caused... for what he took from her. Several years pass before she recognizes that the bitterness is destroying her life. "I forgive you," she tells him, "I have to forgive you."

Trailer: Take

Today I will forgive.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Day 17 - Spend meaningful time with others.

December 1 thru December 25 I am posting about movies which reflect each day's focus for #LightTheWorld.

Day 17

"Ye shall meet together oft." (3 Nephi 18:22)

Meeting together oft applies to families, friends, communities, church congregations. Meeting often can build strength and unity. For instance, the subdivision where my daughter lives holds frequent social activities throughout the year. As a result, they have a friendly neighborhood.

On the television series, Blue Bloods, Frank Reagan's (Tom Selleck) family meets together every Sunday for dinner. They mostly argue, but nevertheless, the weekly get-together helps keep their family bonds strong.

Clip: Blue Bloods

One of the things I love about Return to Me (2000) is the portrayal of friends and family gathering together. They play games, tease, argue, dance, bowl, and most of all, they support and care for one another.

Fandango Movieclips Trailer: Return to Me

Today is Sunday. I will spend meaningful time with others while I attend church services, sing in the choir, and conduct a women's meeting.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Day 16 - Care for those in need.

December 1 thru December 25 I am posting about movies which reflect each day's focus for #LightTheWorld.

Day 16

"[I was] naked, and ye clothed me." (Matthew 25:36)

I couldn't think of a movie that fits the literal translation of this verse, and trust me, I did not want to search the internet for anything connecting movies with nakedness! Yikes. So I chose to use another meaning of the word naked: exposed to harm, unprotected or vulnerable.

With that definition, I think of Wonder (2017). Entering a mainstream school for the first time, Auggie Pullman (Jacob Tremblay) is extremely vulnerable. Born with facial deformities, some kids tease and mock him, but others gradually gravitate to his good-naturedness and clothe him in friendship. 

Liongate Movies Trailer: Wonder

Today, I will care for and clothe others by donating clothes to a local thrift store.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Day 15 - Show mercy to others.

December 1 thru December 25 I am posting about movies which reflect each day's focus for #LightTheWorld.

Day 15

"Blessed are the merciful." (Matthew 5:7)

I love the examples of mercy shown in Les Misérables. After being released from prison, Jean Valjean struggles to find shelter and something to eat, and eventually huddles in the doorway of a church. The Bishop finds him there and invites him inside. Valjean is given warmth, food, and a place to sleep. In the night, he awakens, steals silver from a cupboard and runs away.

The next day two policeman bring Jean to the church and tell the Bishop...

Monsignor, we caught the thief
red-handed! He has the nerve to
say you gave him all this!

That is right.

Amazed, Valjean looks up.

But my friend, you left so early,
you forgot I gave these also.
Would you leave the best behind?

The Bishop gives Valjean two large silver candlesticks. Valjean, bewildered, takes the silver candlesticks. The police leave, and the Bishop tells Valjean.

But remember this, my brother --
see in this some higher plan.
You must use this precious silver
to become an honest man.
By the witness of the martyrs,
by the passion and the blood,
God has raised you out of darkness --
I have bought your soul for God.

Because of the mercy shown to him, Jean Valjean begins a new chapter in his life, and extends mercy to others... Fantine, her daughter Cosette, Marius, and even to the lawman who has hunted Valjean with a vengeance... Javert.

Les Misérables movies:
1998 - Liam Neeson, Geoffrey Rush, Uma Thurman (not a musical)
2012 - Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway (musical)

Today I will show mercy to someone. 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Day 14 - Focus on what's important.

December 1 thru December 25 I am posting about movies which reflect each day's focus for #LightTheWorld.

Day 14

"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Matthew 6:21)

What we treasure or value the most--fashion, fitness, appearance, money, family, friendship, God--indicates where our heart is. It's what we love. 

There are numerous movies about characters re-aligning their priorities, but since it's the Christmas season, I selected Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol for today's focus. Ebenezer Scrooge, allows greed to takes over his life. Wealth is his treasure. After three ghosts visit him on Christmas Eve--Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet to Come--his heart changes. He feels compassion again and his focus turns outward to others.

Some movie versions of A Christmas Carol...

Fandango Movie Trailer: A Christmas Carol

(My favorite... The Muppet Christmas Carol)

(Disney's A Christmas Carol with Jim Carrey)
Disney Movie Trailers: A Christmas Carol

Today I am focusing on what's important... uninterrupted Devotional time (prayer, scripture study, journal writing) and time with my family.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Day 13 - Show kindness toward others.

December 1 thru December 25 I am posting about movies which reflect each day's focus for #LightTheWorld.

Day 13

"All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them. " (Matthew 7:12)

This is the Golden Rule and the higher road to take. Treat others as we want to be treated, with respect. Turn away from anger and revenge and respond with kindness.

Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck) teaches his children to respect others and treat them kindly. He tells Scout (Mary Badham), "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it." (To Kill a Mockingbird, 1962)

Javert seeks to destroy Jean Valjean, and yet when Jean Valjean has an opportunity to kill Javert, he chooses a higher road and lets him go. He treats Javert as he wants to be treated, with mercy and kindness. (Les Misérables, 2012)

The 2015 version of Cinderella emphasizes "have courage and be kind." It takes courage for Cinderella to treat her stepmother and stepsisters with kindness, but she does it out of respect for her parents wishes and because that's the way she would like to be treated.

Today I have selected something that would brighten my day and I am going to do that for someone else.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Day 12 - Comfort someone in need.

December 1 thru December 25 I am posting about movies which reflect each day's focus for #LightTheWorld.

Day 12

"Blessed are they that mourn." (Matthew 5:4)

Mourning is a part of life. We mourn the death of loved ones, the end of relationships, the loss of jobs, loss of health.

Some people know just what to say or do to comfort those in need. I am not one of those. But I try. 

When I grieve, the best thing to help break my dark thought patterns is laughter, so I love this scene from Steel Magnolias (1989)...

Fandango MovieClips: Steel Magnolias "I Wanna Know Why"

This post--today's focus for #LightTheWorld--comes at a perfect time. I said goodbye to a dying friend last night, and visited with her husband. With the Lord's help, he feels comfort and peace during this difficult time. And that comforts me, too. "Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted." Such a blessing.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Day 11 - Help a stranger.

December 1 thru December 25 I am posting about movies which reflect each day's focus for #LightTheWorld.

Day 11

"I was a stranger, and ye took me in." (Matthew 25:35)

The Blind Side (2009) is based on an amazing true story. Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) realizes teenager Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) does not have a place to stay and takes him into her home.

Fandango Trailer: The Blind Side 

(Michael Oher became an NFL football player. You can read his story here.)

One evening, my father stopped at the post office on his way home from work and discovered a man curled up on the floor in a corner. We lived in a small town where everyone knew everyone and everyone had a home. Dad struck up a conversation with the stranger and learned the man was walking and hitchhiking from town to town, and was resting there for the night.

Dad told us about the interesting encounter upon his arrival home. Then, as we sat down to eat, he wondered if the stranger was hungry. He got up from our dinner table, returned to the post office, took the man across the street to a cafe, had him order a meal, paid for it, and then returned home to finally eat supper.

That night as daddy tried to sleep, he kept thinking about the stranger curled up on a hard floor. So back to the post office he went. He took the man to the only hotel in town, rented a room for him, and then returned home to sleep peacefully in a comfortable bed.

There are countless ways to take a stranger in... making eye contact, smiling at other shoppers in the grocery store, saying "hello" to a passerby, helping neighbors move in and inviting them to the community picnic, inquiring about a co-worker's hobbies or interests...

Today I can be kind to people I don't know.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Day 10 - Search the scriptures.

December 1 thru December 25 I am posting about movies which reflect each day's focus for #LightTheWorld.

Day 10

"Search the scriptures." (John 5:39)

There's a wonderful scene in Pollyanna (1960) when she tells the minister how her late father (also a minister) wanted to find the good in people, and searched the scriptures for "glad passages"... the happy ones like "shout for joy" or "be glad in the Lord"...

POLLYANNA (Hayley Mills)
There are 800 happy texts, did you know that?

No, I didn't know that.

Yes, well there are. And, you know,
my father said, "If God took the trouble
to tell us 800 times to be glad and rejoice,
he must have wanted us to do it."

Today I will share a scriptural phrase that lifts me when I am down. It comes from Psalm 30:5 "...weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning."

Life is full of ups and downs, downs and ups. I find strength to endure tough times or depression when I remember the darkness will not last forever... joy will come again.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Day 9 - Visit the sick.

December 1 thru December 25 I am posting about movies which reflect each day's focus for #LightTheWorld.

Day 9

"I was sick, and ye visited me." (Matthew 25:36)

A young boy is sick, so grandpa comes to visit and reads him a story... The Princess Bride (1987). At the end of the day, as grandpa prepares to leave, the boy indicates he would like for his grandfather to return the next day to read again. Grandpa responds with a phrase we've come to learn means I love you, "As you wish."

Today I will help a sick friend.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Day 8 - Show love for everyone... even enemies.

December 1 thru December 25 I am posting about movies which reflect each day's focus for #LightTheWorld.

Day 8

"Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you." (Matthew 5:44)

"... pray for them which despitefully use you." For years I struggled with the why. Why should I pray for my enemies? I didn't wish my enemies harm, but why should I pray for them when I am the one injured? I finally came to understand... because they are full of poison. When someone lashes out or inflicts poison (so to speak), it's because they are filled with poison themselves. So I pray for them.

But talk about loving enemies and doing good to them that hate you, I think of Hacksaw Ridge (2016), based on the true story of Desmond T. Doss (portrayed by Andrew Garfield) who served as a medic in the army during World War II and refused to take up arms. He was bullied, beaten, and nearly court-martialed but eventually allowed to go to war without a weapon. His squad was not happy about it. Since Private Doss won't kill an enemy soldier, surely he will put them at risk. Yet, after a terrible battle on Hacksaw Ridge, he carried wounded to safety throughout the night, praying, "Lord, help me get one more, please. Help me get one more." With strength beyond his own, he rescued over 75 men, including many who had beaten and abused him.

Fandango MovieClips Trailer: Hacksaw Ridge
(This film is rated R for the blood, gore, graphic war scenes, mild swearing and sometimes vain references to deity. If you find some or all of those elements offensive, you can watch it filtered (I did) with ClearPlay, or wait for an edited version on television.)
Today I will be kind to someone who has been unkind to me.

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Thursday, December 7, 2017

Day 7 - Help children.

December 1 thru December 25 I am posting about movies which reflect each day's focus for #LightTheWorld

Day 7

"Suffer the little children to come unto me." (Mark 10:14)

When I was in my early teens, I had a friend who loved to babysit and voiced how she could hardly wait to marry and have children of her own. I was keen on the marrying part, but I had no desire to have children.

That feeling was magnified when I was in college and browsed through a roommate's nursing textbook and saw photos of an actual childbirth. Not illustrations, mind you, but raw photos of childbirth in all its mess. I certainly was not naive, I knew labor and delivery was a painful ordeal, but for some reason seeing those photos shocked me. I became sooooo angry! I was angry at God for the pain of childbirth. I was angry at men who impregnate women. I was angry at women for accepting the process.

I stormed about the apartment, spewing fury, and stomped up the stairs as my roommate tried to console me with, "When you are in love, you will feel differently."

"If a man truly loves me, he will never ask me to go through that!" I yelled, and slammed my bedroom door.

A few years later, as my then fiancé and I discussed children, I was only slightly more open to the idea, and we agreed to wait seven years and then see how we felt about it. Well, within the first few months of marriage, the desire for children sprang to life and we began to try for a baby right away.

It took three years before I conceived and gave birth. Months upon months upon months of hoping and disappointment and tears. And I'm grateful for that time of disappointment because with each passing month, I understood more and more how much I really really really wanted a child! When our son was born, I held him in my arms and wept for joy. I never knew I could love a child so much.

Three years later we had a daughter. My love just kept on growing.

Fast forward to when several friends became grandparents and started crowing about their grandchildren, my husband said, "I don't get it. What's the big deal."

But, when grandchildren entered our world, he got it. For sure, grandchildren are a big deal!

Oh, how I am eternally grateful my heart opened to children in those first few months of marriage.

So... for today's theme, I selected films with children softening the heart of a curmudgeon.

Elf (2003)

(Okay, he's a grownup son, but he is childlike!)

Up (2009)

Despicable Me (2010)

This one is not a movie, but the Netflix series Anne with an E (2017) reveals a beautiful character arc as the heart of Marilla Cuthbert (Geraldine James) opens to Anne (Amybeth McNulty). It's the Anne of Green Gables story, of course, but this particular re-telling drew me in. Very well-acted with wonderful cinematography.

Netflix trailer: Anne with an E

Today I will give service to my grandchildren.

Have any children (sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, neighbor kids...) wormed their way into your heart?

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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Day 6 - Judge not.

December 1 thru December 25 I am posting about movies which reflect each day's focus for #LightTheWorld.

Day 6

"Judge not, that ye be not judged." (Matthew 7:1)

There's a phrase, "If you must judge someone, judge on the side of mercy." We should give people the benefit of the doubt. The classic film, 12 Angry Men (1957) carries that message.

I reviewed the movie in an earlier post (click here) and stated, "Juror #8 (Henry Fonda) does not claim the defendant is innocent, but insists there is reasonable doubt to his guilt. One person giving someone the benefit of the doubt can go a long way."

(This is another film listed in 33 Movies To Restore Your Faith in Humanity by Roger Ebert.)

Fandango MovieClips: 12 Angry Men "It's the same knife!"
Today I will apologize to a person I misjudged.

Can you share about a time you misjudged someone? 

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Day 5 - Honor parents.

December 1 thru December 25 I am posting about movies which reflect each day's focus for #LightTheWorld.

Day 5

"Honour thy father and mother." (Matthew 15:4)

Remember the shock of learning the identity of Luke Skywalker's father? Could we honor such a father? And yet Luke holds to the belief that there must be a spark of good in Darth Vader. And it turns out he was right. (Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, 1983)

In The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio (2005), Evelyn Ryan (Julianne Moore) is the wife of an alcoholic and the mother of ten children. Often destitute, her prize winnings from writing jingles keeps them afloat, but it's her love and optimism that binds the family together. In the following scene, Tuff sees her mother through new eyes.

(I give an expanded review here.)

Fandango MovieClips: The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio,
"Enjoy this moment to the fullest."

I miss my parents. My mother and father passed away 19 and 17 years ago, respectively. Today I will honor my parents by sharing some favorite memories of them on

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Monday, December 4, 2017

Day 4 - Love thy neighbor.

December 1 thru December 25 I am posting about movies which reflect each day's focus for #LightTheWorld.

Day 4

"Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." (Matthew 22:39)

There are plenty of movie options fitting today's focus since a "neighbor" can be anyone who crosses our path (or even lives half way around the world), so to narrow it down, I've selected some films with main characters who live next door to each other or in the same neighborhood.

I've moved a lot in my lifetime. And I mean a lot. As a frequent new-kid-on-the-block, I appreciated friendly neighbors who included me in their activities, so I have a warm spot in my heart for Rodriguez (Mike Vitar) in The Sandlot (1993). He befriends Scotty Smalls (Tom Guiry) and invites him to play baseball. Scotty has a lot to learn about the sport (Babe Ruth is not a female!) and s'mores ("You're killing me Smalls!"), but the friendship among the sandlot team is legendary.

YouTube Movies Trailer: The Sandlot

In The Mighty (1998), Kevin (Kieran Culkin) moves next door to Maxwell (Elden Henson). Both are considered freaks by their classmates... Kevin, for his disabled body, and Maxwell, who towers over his classmates, is teased for flunking 7th grade--twice. Although they share a fence, they don't find common ground until the two combine their strengths--Kevin's intelligence with Maxwell's size. Says Kevin, "Think of it as a business partnership: you need brains, and I need legs--and the Wizard of Oz doesn't live in South Cincinnati."

MovieClips Trailer: The Mighty

On a lighter side, Marty, Alex, Melman, and Gloria live in the same neighborhood--the New York Central Park Zoo. Their friendship is put to the test when they end up in Madagascar among some quirky new neighbors! (Madagascar, 2005)

Trailer: Madagascar

Speaking of new neighbors, we live in a condo complex and two units near us changed owners this year. Today I will give service to our new neighbors and extend an invitation to a Christmas party.

Do you have friendly neighbors? Does your neighborhood have any traditions?

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Sunday, December 3, 2017

Day 3 - Help others on the sabbath.

December 1 thru December 25 I am posting about movies which reflect each day's focus for #LightTheWorld.

Day 3

"Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days." (Matthew 12:12)

Over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, I finally watched Chariots of Fire (1981). This film is listed in Roger Ebert's book 33 Movies to Restore Your Faith in Humanity. There is much to like about this movie, but for the sake of today's topic, I will touch on just part of the story.

Based on actual events, one of the runners featured in the film, Eric Liddell a devout Christian, believes his athletic ability is a gift from God and running is a way he honors Him. When Eric reaches the 1924 Olympics in Paris, he makes a stand... he will not run on Sunday even though it is a qualifier for his main race, the 100 meter. A teammate generously gives up his own spot in the 400 meter, allowing Eric to compete in a race that will take place on Tuesday, rather than Sunday.

When the sabbath day arrives, Eric gives a sermon at the Paris Church of Scotland, and shares from Isaiah 40:31 (one of my favorite verses in Isaiah): But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Many mistakenly believe Eric will struggle in the 400 meter since he is better trained for the 100, but when Tuesday rolls around, he demonstrates that his physical strength matches his inner strength.

Trailer: Chariot's of Fire

On Sundays, there are many activities I avoid, but sometimes I get too focused on what I want to rest from (work!) and overlook the many things I can do, especially in service to others.

Today, I will do well on the sabbath. Besides attending church, choir rehearsal, and a meeting, I am helping someone (which, for the sake of anonymity, I will not post about here).

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Day 2 - Quench someone's thirst.

December 1 thru December 25 I am posting about movies which reflect each day's focus for #LightTheWorld.

Day 2 

"I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink." (Matthew 25:35)

That verse makes me reflect on a pivotal scene from Ben-Hur (1959) where Judah Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston), weak from thirst and denied water, desperately prays, "God... help me." He is given drink by Jesus, the Living Water.

Fandango Movieclips: Ben Hur - "Ben-Hur meets Jesus"

In The Miracle Worker (1962), Helen Keller (Patty Duke) thirsts for understanding. Her tutor, Annie Sullivan (Anne Bancroft) struggles to help her. In this scene, it seems symbolic that water is the key to opening the floodgate of communication for Helen.

Fandango Movieclips: The Miracle Work - "She knows!"

Sadly, many in the world thirst for clean water. I didn't realize until preparing for today's Light the World focus that "access to clean water has the single greatest impact on global poverty" (found here).

Today I will make a donation to an organization that helps provide safe water to communities in need.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Day 1 - Freely give.

December 1 thru December 25 I am posting about movies which reflect each day's focus for #LightTheWorld.

Day 1 

"Freely ye have received, freely give." (Matthew 10:8)

Since this is kicking off the Christmas season, it's fitting that I start with a classic Christmas movie! In It's a Wonderful Life (1946), George Bailey (James Stewart) spends his life serving the community and helping others in times of need. Later, he is given a rare opportunity to see the impact he made. His life made a difference.

Trailer: It's a Wonderful Life

And in this classic gem, Follow Me, Boys! (1966), as the community discusses what to do about the boys running wild about town, Lem Siddons (Fred MacMurray), eager to impress Vida (Vera Miles), volunteers to form a Boy Scout troop and serve as scoutmaster. Little does he know he will serve the troop--give freely of his time--for years to come and will be a positive influence for many young men.

Trailer: Follow Me, Boys!

Simple things can lead to big outcomes, and although we don't always know the long-reaching effects of our small acts of kindness, they still add light to the world.

Today, I am writing a thank you note to someone who helped me.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Adding light to the world.

There's a saying, "To find a prince, you have to kiss a lot of frogs!" Well, sometimes, that's the way I feel about movies. I've watched some real "frogs" lately that I wouldn't recommend (even if edited) because the overall story or theme is horrible and add darkness to the world. There are many wonderful movies out there, though, films that uplift, inspire, and add light to the world.

I want to add light to the world.
Image from

So... I decided to participate in #LightTheWorld from December 1 to December 25, giving service to others in 25 ways, over 25 days. Hand in hand with that, I will post about movies fitting with each particular day's focus, movies of compassion, charity, mercy, forgiveness...

Already, just by planning the acts of service I can do over the next 25 days, along with the movies I can highlight, my outlook has brightened.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Used Car Shopping

Friday: Comic Relief

We are back to used car shopping since our vehicle was the victim of a drive-by collision. Husband was stopped at a red light when two cars collided in the intersection. The impact pushed those vehicles into the front end of ours. The cost of repairs would be more than our old car's value, so the insurance totaled it. *sigh* 

Here's what I wrote in April 2013 (Comic Relief: Car Sales). I am posting it again since it still applies:


Used car shopping saps the life out of me. We need a second car and it seems like every "free" moment gets sucked into talking about cars, researching Consumer Reports, and going to auto dealerships. Aaaagh. So for today's Comic Relief I found two clips about a car salesman (Robin Williams) from the movie Cadillac Man (1990).

I've never seen the film, and have no idea what it's about, but I like these clips. The first one ("Sale at a Funeral") represents the sleezy side of a car salesman. The second clip ("Wheeling and Dealing") shows his view of car shoppers. Uh... I'm the indecisive one who can't commit.

The Car Salesman:

The Car Shopper:

I asked my husband what we will spend our time talking about when we aren't talking cars. "Vacation," he responded. I need to get out of the "I dunno" stage, quick!

Friday, October 20, 2017

I love to laugh.

Friday: Comic Relief

I recently read two books by Dick Van Dyke (listed below) and shared a quote in Monday's post. I enjoy his humor and appreciate his work. The Dick Van Dyke Show is one of my favorites of all time.

Early in his career, Dick decided to never be a part of a project he couldn't watch with the kids. I wish more actors and comedians would hold to that standard.

Dick tells about how Walt Disney "read an interview in which I stated my intention to stick to family movies. He liked that. He thought it made me perfect for his type of Disney movies -- and specifically for the one he was about to start working on, Mary Poppins." 

And thus he became Bert the chimney sweep.

I love to laugh, so, not surprisingly, this is one of my favorite scenes from the movie.

Mary Poppins (1964), I Love to Laugh 

The books I read by Dick Van Dyke:
Keep Moving - and Other Tips and Truths About Aging
My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business

Monday, October 16, 2017

Lack of perfection.

Monday: Dialogue, Lines, or Quotes

In his book My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business, Dick Van Dyke shares what helped him land the role of Rob Petrie:
Over the years, I have heard and read about other actors they considered, including Johnny Carson. I have also heard and read various accounts of why they liked me. My favorites? I wasn't too good-looking, I walked a little funny, and I was basically kind of average and ordinary.
I guess my lack of perfection turned out to be a winning hand. Let that be a lesson for future generations. 
 And let that be a lesson for me. Success does not require perfection.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Comic Relief: Ryan Hamilton

Friday: Comic Relief

Surfing Netflix, I came across a comedian I had never heard of: Ryan Hamilton. He's been a guest on talk shows, named one of Rolling Stone's Five Comics to Watch, plus he's from my home state (Idaho), yet somehow I he was new to me.

His refreshingly clean comedy gave me much needed laughter. Thank you, Ryan!

Here's the trailer to his Netflix special:

Trailer: Ryan Hamilton: Happy Face

Monday, September 18, 2017

Never give up.

Monday: Dialogue, Lines, or Quotes

I love when movie dialogue resonates. Sometimes it's easy to give up after failing, but we truly only fail when we give up.

From Megan Leavey (2017):
There are a few people in life... not many... that you gotta find a way for. If you needed something, I would do whatever it took... not because I'm any kind of great dad... but because how I love you is stronger than when I'm not. I want you to be a person who shows up... for work... for your friend's funerals... for life.
I've tried. I've failed.
So fail again. And just keep failing until... they're... tossing dirt on your corpse. 

(Click here for my review of the film.)

Friday, August 18, 2017

Working on another blog page.

Friday: Comic Relief

Just a quick update. I am working on another page for this blog. It lists the movies referenced on here over the years, along with links to the posts referencing the movie (some movies are referenced in more than one post). The project is taking longer than I expected (of course), and I seem to hear King Julien shouting... "How long is this going to take?"

 (Madagascar, 2005)

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The 50 United States of Filming.

In honor of Independence Day, I created a list of movies filmed in each state. I have visited all 50 of the United States and each one has its own beauty and charm... and filming locations.

Except where noted, these movies were filmed entirely in that particular state according to IMDb (I linked each title to the listed filming locations).

So if you see these films, know that the scenery really is from the state it was filmed in. For instance, if you watch Runaway Bride, all locations are in Maryland (think that's NYC? Nope, it's Baltimore posing). Whereas if you watch Dances with Wolves, you'll see lots of South Dakota, but also Nebraska, Wyoming, and Kansas (thus the movie did not make this list).

As much as possible,  I selected feature-length narrative films that showed in theaters rather than documentaries and small independent flicks.

And of course, this is not perfect or all-incluseive. Sometimes I found copious films to choose from so I limited the selection to three or four, and other times it seemed like scraping the bottom of the barrel to find one or two (a good indication those particular states don't offer decent film incentives).

(NOTE: Many of these movies contain content I would not recommend.)




(Popular state for filming!)



(No surprise... there are pages and pages of movies filmed exclusively in California, so I selected some with plots linked to the movie industry.)




(This state only recently formed a film commission, so maybe we'll see more films there in the future.)




















New Hampshire:

New Jersey:

New Mexico:

New York

(Many, many movies filmed in New York, so I selected three with themes of Broadway.)

North Carolina:

North Dakota:




(Popular state for filming with many filmed exclusively in Oregon.)


Rhode Island:

South Carolina:

South Dakota:







West Virginia:



Well? Did the list hold any surprises for you?