Saturday, January 5, 2013

Inspiration: Christmas Break 2012

From time to time, I like to share a few things that are inspiring me. Here's my list from this last month.


Little Women

Watching this movie is a Christmas tradition for myself and the girls. (We try to get to Anne of Green Gables too but that didn’t happen this year.) Surprisingly, Kaelyn sat all the way through Little Women this year. Kyla is getting to where she knows the story well so she can anticipate what comes next, which is fun. We talked a little about the storytelling element of foreshadowing this time since she already knew what would happen later.

An Avonlea Christmas

Jeff got me this movie for Christmas last year. Having watched the entire Avonlea series when it was on Disney channel years ago, watching this movie is like visiting old friends. I giggle when Mrs. Potts comes to bother Aunt Hettie or when she just has to meddle in Felicity’s life. It’s her duty. Jeff doesn’t get it. I told him he will after I collect the series and he gets to watch all of the episodes with me. He was super excited about that. I could tell.

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

As has been mentioned previously, I love a good independent movie. This one brought up the age-old quandary of what one would do if they knew they had less than a month to live. In this movie’s case, it was about 21 days before a meteor hit earth. Of course, unanticipated friendships form and there are some other surprises too.

I appreciated the pace of this movie. It was spot on with intense parts and then times when the characters were able to slow down and ponder their past decisions as well as what was currently taking place in their hearts and lives.

The other thing I enjoyed about this movie, though minor, was the fact that the main character’s cleaning lady kept showing up to work. He told her not to come back because who cared about a clean house when the world’s ending? But she was compelled. She loved what she did. She just couldn’t stop.

The King’s Speech

I know. I’m a leeettle behind the times. I just now got around to seeing this movie. And Oh. My. Word. Really, Colin Firth deserved that Academy Award. Where to begin on why and how much I loved this film…the history, the acting, the story, the fact that nearly every person watching the movie could identify with the king’s struggles in some way. So, so good. Also, I just loved Lionel Logue. So sure of himself and what he had to offer. No formal training but he saw a need, a deep and painful need among hurting people who felt they had no voice, and he courageously stepped up to meet the need. I loved it.


A few years ago, I started following this controversial blogger named Rachel Held Evans. I kind of thought she was crazy, and I really thought she had lost her mind when she posted about her experiments of trying to be the Proverbs 31 woman. In fact, I can recall a particular day when I declared to Jeff that I was going to write her publisher, Thomas Nelson, to ask why they had signed her for a book deal.

But….then I caught on. She wasn’t really agreeing with everything she was doing. She was trying to prove a point—the point that it’s impossible to follow every passage for women in the Bible and totally possible that we pick and choose what we want from the Bible. Palm of hand to forehead. Yeah. I became a fan real quick.

Rachel writes intelligent posts on her blog. Even more so, I could tell she’d done her homework for this book, where she chose a different virtue each month for a year and wrapped it with trying to live out that virtue in a way connected to Scripture as well as tradition. My favorite part of this book was the beginning of each chapter where she highlighted women in the Bible, lesser talked about women such as Mary Magdalene and Tamar.

One aspect I struggled with was that it felt a little like she adopted a hodge-podge of many different cultures in her conclusion. Also, in pondering the people she interviewed and observed, I think I would be a little offended if someone picked a particular aspect of my life that I live out with sincerity, for instance Anglicanism, experimented with it, and then wrote about it with a tremendous amount of wit in order to sell a book. I wrestle with that.

In the end, I remain a fan of Rachel’s and am grateful for her insight. I also want to say that Rachel is creative and honest. Though I didn’t agree with all her conclusions, she wrote from her heart and put herself out there in a variety of ways. Well done, Woman of Valor!

This book is a compilation of words from various individuals. Some I had heard of and others were new to me. A friend and colleague of mine, Kristin Ritzau, was a contributor, and that’s how I came to know about the book. Initially, I thought I would immediately flip to Kristin’s chapter in this book, maybe read a few more, and then skim most of the rest.

Not so. I actually started at the beginning and was easily pulled into each chapter, into each person’s unique story and what wisdom they wanted to impart from hard lessons learned. I did enjoy Kristin’s words, but I also underlined a line or two or more in nearly every chapter. I highly recommend this book. It’s something you could read in a sitting or two, but you could also take your time and pick up a chapter here and there when you need a little encouragement.

Jeff finished seminary in early December. For years we’ve been starting sentences with “You should read….” And so, now we are finally doing that. We’ve decided to pick books for each other. Who Needs Theology? An Invitation to The Study of God is what he chose first for me. Naturally, a theology book.

I must say I did enjoy it. It put words into some thoughts I’ve had swirling around in my head for years. I particularly appreciated a chapter that outlined the difference between dogma, doctrine, and opinion. Oh, how we get these elements confused, and I had been given doctrine for many years that was treated like dogma. On the opposite end, it’s also not a great idea to rely on opinion all the time with no specific beliefs to ground us in our faith. This book is for all Christians. We should all be concerned about theology. How else will we know how to be God’s people in our world?

One side note: Kae saw me reading this and asked what the book was about. I told her it was about God. She goes, “Oh, I like that word.”

“What word?” I asked. “God?”

“Oh, yes.”

“And what do you like about God? What do you know about Him?” I continued.

“Well, He created us. He loves us.”

“Very good. What else?” I wondered.

“He will save us, and He’s bigger than the monsters.”

I think she summed it up quite nicely. Who needs theology? Everyone. Even four year olds.


Our 10th Anniversary

Yes, it has been ten years since two crazy kids said, “I do.” We had no idea what we were in for. That first year, Jeff finished undergrad, we moved to another town, and then we had Kyla just before our first anniversary. Life hasn’t slowed down much since. Another two moves (this time to other states), two graduate degrees, three more babies (two in heaven), and here we are.

This morning, I accidentally hit the corner of our dresser with my elbow while I was putting on a sweatshirt. I looked at the dented dressers we still have, that were hand-me-downs from a family member when we got married, then I looked over at our bed with the quilt my grandmother made us. I thought about how there is no one I’d rather be sleeping with under that 10-year-old quilt, next to those old scratched-up dressers.

We’ve had more than a few surprises and disappointments in this last decade. But God has been so faithful and good too. Can’t wait for the next ten years. I love you, Jeff Stone.

My girls…

I love my spunky Kae, who just turned five! She is a joy and says the funniest things. She is a good sister to Kyla and likewise, Kyla, is a great big sister to her.

Here they are helping me make some pumpkin bread:

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