Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Watch out, Birmingham! The Johnsons are HERE!

The goodbyes have been said, the hugs given.

The boxes have been packed. And unpacked. And a lot are still sitting there waiting to be unpacked.

The gigantic Walmart run to stock the fridge has been done.

Our nomadic life lands us in Birmingham for three solid years in a house that (as of a few hours ago) has a freshly mowed and weeded yard and (as of right now) has a grill fired up and ready for a celebratory dinner of bacon wrapped steak, corn on the cob, salad, and homemade bread. And yes, probably a little bit of alcohol too.

I can't say that I've missed the 95 degree weather or the c.r.a.z.y. Birmingham drivers, but we're so content to be here...mostly because we know the One who sent us here. And He is good and sovereign and faithful and gentle and kind and forgiving and wise and powerful and REAL.

This time next week (when I'm finished with my everything for the Master's degree) we'll be open for visitors!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Must-See Movie

I'm a little late in seeing The Invention of Lying, which came out sometime in 2009. How I missed it, I don't know. Possibly because we don't watch a lot of TV, which means I missed the previews. Or maybe because it received poor ratings in several media reviews. But somehow, I missed this gem of a movie starring Ricky Gervais and Jennifer Garner with cameos by Jonah Hill, Tina Fey, Jeffrey Tambor, Rob Lowe, and Jason Bateman--some of my all-time favorite actors! If you like discussion-provoking, quirky, romantic comedies, then this movie is for you.

Without giving too much away, it's about a world in which everyone tells the truth...all the time (accounting for much of the hilarity of the film). However, when everyday loser Mark Bellison (Ricky Gervais) discovers that he can tell a lie, he learns the power (for good and evil) that lying affords. The movie raises questions about what a lie really is and when/if it's okay to lie, and it forces you to consider what it is that you're really thinking about when interacting with other people (mostly about how we compare ourselves to others and try to promote ourselves as the "winner" in any given situation).  It also has a really interesting spiritual commentary that would be worth some discussion...borders on sacrilegious at times, but actually moves beyond it to some thought-provoking concepts.

Beware of an opening scene that involves Jennifer Garner's character talking openly (but not graphically) about masturbation (part of the "tell the truth all the time" fall out), but other than a few other off-color saying-what-they're-thinking moments, the film was a 10 for me. Phil, on the other hand, liked it, but didn't love it like I did.

While I'm about a year late watching this movie, the plus side is that I rented it for $1.00 at Redbox. Can't beat that and a little microwave popcorn (or pop c., as Phil would say) and some caffeine free Diet Coke!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Doo-Doot, Doot, Doot, Doo...I'm lovin' it!

Last weekend, as I was on my way back from a less-than-24-hour trip to Birmingham, I decided to stop at my favorite gas station/Subway joint to fill up my car and my stomach. It was 1:30 and all I'd eaten all day was a handful of strawberries and a granola bar, so it's fair to say that I was ravenous. I walked up to the Subway door only to find that it was closed for Memorial Day (good for them, bad for me), so my brain started racing: Can I make a meal out of gas station food? Eew. No. Do I get back on the interstate and wait for the next Subway or Chick-Fil-A (my favs)? No. I might die of starvation by then. And so, I was left with option #3: the McDonald's that was in walking distance from the gas station. YES.

I'm a little anti-fast food if I can help it, so I honestly haven't been to a McDonald's for anything other than a McFlurry (love those things) since...gosh, I don't know. Maybe college? Anyway, I was actually getting pretty excited about a cheeseburger and as I was standing in line, I realized that I could buy my entire lunch for under $4.00. This is why people come here. For a mere $3.00 + tax, I got a cheeseburger, apple dippers (my attempt at being healthy...along with the fact that I don't eat french fries without ketchup and I couldn't do the whole ketchup-while-driving thing), a mocha frappe, and a cup of water. And let me just tell you: they were all delicious. Even the apple dippers, which was the part of my lunch I was least looking forward to. (Don't we all have those parts of meals that we just have to "get through" in order to get to the really good stuff?) I thought it was funny (but brilliant) that the apples didn't have the peel on them, and they were the perfect balance of not too crunchy-sour or too mushy-nasty. I highly recommend them. And the caramel dipping sauce didn't hurt either. The mocha frappe was yummy too, but definitely more like a dessert than a drink.

All this to say, I'm warming up to McDonald's again. The truth is, it'll probably be a few more years until I eat there again--mostly because I like to cook too much--but when I do, I'll look forward to it. So, thank you, Yellow Arches, for some low-cost yummy food in a time of need!