Friday, December 28, 2007


A few weeks ago, my friend Melissa told me about Jason Reitman’s movie, Juno. The trailer had me hooked along with a killer cast consisting of Jason Bateman, Ellen Page, Michael Cera, and Jennifer Garner. The movie, about a 16-year-old girl who finds herself pregnant and looking for a family to adopt her baby-to-be, is surprisingly witty, clever, honest, and free of any political agenda. It's not a film about abortion or adoption or pro-choice or pro-life; it's a film about the grit and glories of life, and about love.

While the movie tackles difficult issues of teenage pregnancy and the possibility of abortion, the writing is brilliant, wedding clever humor with serious conversations. Not only was the writing perfect, but the acting was excellent--not over the top, but the actors genuinely and convincingly depicted the characters. The music reminded me a bit of Napoleon Dynamite and Little Miss Sunshine, having that retro, edgy feel while simultaneously being very accessible to a variety of audiences. In my opinion, it's a must-see movie. I'd even pay full price for it.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christian Fiction and Book Snobery

I am unashamedly a book snob. As such, I am also unashamedly disinterested in any sort of Christian fiction (sorry, Mom). We've all seen them on the shelves: Karen Kingsbury, Janette Oke, and, of course, the mother of all Christian fiction, Francine Rivers.

Years ago, I promised my best friend, Alisa, that I would read Francine Rivers' Redeeming Love before I died, so since I knew I'd have some extra time at Christmas, I borrowed the book from her and readied myself for some mediocre, predictable writing. Let's just say I was skeptical at best. For those who haven't read the book, it's a story that closely follows the account of Hosea and Gomer in the Bible. It's about a man, Michael Hosea, who takes a woman out of a brothel, marries her, and then loves her with a persistent, everlasting love.

For all my cynicism and doubt, the book (for a Christian fiction novel) was surprisingly good. While I still felt like the writing was mediocre and some details were cheesy, the characters were very well developed and the details of the setting and time period were well researched and authentic. What struck me most, however, was the obvious allegory of the book. So often in reading I was frustrated with the harlot who chose to be distant, unfeeling, hard, and ungrateful for the deep, sincere, persistent love that Michael showed her. I wanted to take her and shake her and say, "How can you not love a man who loves you so well? a man who rescued you from sure agony, pain, and even death? a man who serves you and delights in you and offers you to share in that freedom?" And then comes the realization that I am that harlot, that I am often aloof, detached, and calloused toward Jesus, the Lover of my soul. It was this convicting realization that made the book redeeming for me; because of it, I understand the love of Jesus better.

While I have no desire to read another Christian fiction novel, this one was worthwhile. I especially liked Rivers' personal reflection on why she wrote the novel, which is included in the back of the book. For all you book snobs out there, you may want to lower yourself just once to read Redeeming Love...unless you're a guy, in which case, you just won't like it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Anniversary Surprise

Monday Phil and I celebrated our 2nd anniversary. Well, we actually celebrated last Friday, so I didn't expect anything on our actual anniversary. I came home from work around 6:30 ready to cook dinner and watch a movie with Phil...only to find that dinner was on the table...along with wine and (gasp) a beautiful vase of red and white flowers! Phil had found a recipe, gone to the store to get the ingredients, and made a delicious chicken dish with onions and green peppers. Needless to say, I felt so very loved!

There's something really good and needful about romancing your spouse throughout marriage. Finding new ways to do that is the challenge, but it's worthwhile and brings such joy to both the giver and the receiver. I pray that God continues to teach me to love limitlessly, generously, whole-heartedly, and humbly.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Muppet Christmas Carol

If you haven't been exposed to the muppet movies yet, you would be a fool not to go out and rent one tonight. One of our favorites is the Muppet Christmas Carol, narrated by Gonzo himself, along with Rizzo the rat. It had been several years since Phil and I had last seen it, so we had some friends over, ate chili, and then settled into an hour and a half of holiday entertainment. The songs left something to be desired, but there's something utterly hilarious about watching a movie that stars puppets. And not just any puppets at that--muppets! Needless to say, it was certainly an enjoyable way to ring in the season. Other Christmas movies on my list to see: Charlie Brown Christmas, It's A Wonderful Life, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, and maybe a new one: White Christmas. It may be 70 degrees outside, but it's Christmastime for me!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Weekend with the Lumbats

This past weekend, Phil and I met our friends, the Lumbats, in Destin, FL. It was one of those weekends that felt like a week, and we certainly packed in our time with a 2-hour bike ride, multiple games of 3-on-3 beach football, and a new card game that we love called "Kings and Peasants," or something like that. They also brought along their friends, the Joneses, who were fantastic company and quick friends. It was just the rest we needed before our last few weeks of the semester!