Friday, June 22, 2012

Review of Brave
4.5 stars

I took my two boys (9 & just shy of 4) to see Brave today, and it didn’t turn out as I thought it would. I thought I would like it okay, Brody (9) would love it, and Fox (almost 4) would like it for about 45 minutes and then want to go home. I nailed Fox, as usual, but I completely missed on Brody and myself.

As for me, I loved it, even teared up several times. Much of the drive within Merida for her freedom to be herself resonated with me. I would have loved to jump on horseback with her and go exploring through the Scottish forests. And when she and her mom must learn to “mend the bond torn by pride,” I got all misty-eyed. I could see so much of my own struggles in Merida (not with my mom, but in other areas of my life), and surprisingly in my often stressful relationship with Brody. So in a strange way, I related to Merida's mom as well.

Getting Brody to do anything—especially if it’s ME telling him to do it—is sure to be filled with drama and attempted negotiations. I love him so much it literally hurts, but I also have no idea how to communicate with him. I’m afraid that like Merida and her mom, pride may be our biggest enemy as well as he grows up. But hopefully we won’t have to turn to an ancient curse to cure our ills.

As for Brody, he seemed to enjoy the movie and spoke pretty highly of it on the way out to the car ( he loved the mischievous triplets), but as the day wore on, he mentioned several times that he thought it was just okay. Not great, not bad. Just okay. I asked him what he thought the point of the movie was, and he said something to the effect of Merida getting her mother to change. Interesting that he would pick up on THAT part of the movie and not the part where Merida herself goes through a change as well.

So my thoughts on the movie are mostly great. I think it actually presents a wonderful story that most teenage girls and their mothers can relate to, and the rebuilding of their understanding for one another is moving. My only criticism is that once again, “Hollywood” has given us a father that is dominated by his wife. Now granted, the father is loveable and engaged with his kids, but when it comes down to business, the Queen rules the home and the kingdom. Now I am all for women who are strong and independent; I happen to lean that way myself. However, a husband does not have to be less in order for the woman to be more. Why can’t they be partners? I would love to see more family movies that depict fathers as balanced—strong and compassionate at the same time. But maybe that doesn’t sell, or at least they don’t think will.

At any rate, I still loved the movie, and I would still recommend it. If you have very young children, the intense battles with bears and some suspenseful situations may be a bit much for them. Several times, Fox climbed into my lap and said he didn’t like the mean bear and wanted to go home. But he made it through, and in the end told his dad later in the day that he liked it. Who knows what goes on in the mind of an almost-four-year-old? 

So I rated the movie with 4.5 stars, and I'd love to hear your thoughts on it as well once you've seen it. God bless!

Friday, June 1, 2012

To Everything There Is A Season

…not just a catchy Beatles tune

Normally, this time of year is a welcome break from all the craziness that is middle school, a time to evaluate and grow, a time to send off a class of eighth graders into the wonderful (or frightening for some) world of high school. I cherish summer for the time it gives me with my own kids as well as the time it gives me for exploring some of my own pleasures (sleeping in, reading, sleeping in, writing, laying by the pool, napping, sleeping in, etc.)
But this week was different. I’ve known for some time that this season of my life was coming to a close, and that I would be leaving a family, not just a workplace. I expected to feel a bit sad, but I’ve been excited to begin a new season, a chapter in my story that I’ve been dreaming of for years. I’m staying at home with my sweet boys, and I’m beginning an exciting adventure in publishing novels on my own terms. It’s exhilarating, and a bit scary. But I’ve been looking forward to it for so long!
So when the time came to say goodbye, and I hugged each eighth grader as they passed by me on the stage, and I watched them struggle through tears to sing a beautiful song, I wondered if I was truly doing the right thing. I’ve been so blessed in this chapter of my story; maybe it’s not time to start a new one. After all, I had a job I loved, with coworkers who I admired and students I adored. I was content.
But one of the things God has taught me in the past year, which has been full of amazing lessons, is that I’m not here to figure out what His plans are for me. I’m not supposed to try to read the last page of my story and then orchestrate everything to make sure that’s how my story goes. Because my story is His story…
What I’m actually supposed to do is love Him with all my heart and love my neighbors more than I love myself. If I seek to honor Him daily, and live in the peace of knowing His forgiveness and mercy, and I love the people around me more than myself, I’ll write a life story that will bring glory to God. And what I’ll find in the end when I read the last page, is that it’s the story He had written for me all along.
So, what I’m taking from all of this, and what I hope you’ll take as well, is that it’s okay to be sad when closing a chapter of your own story, and it’s okay to wonder about what the next chapter will hold. But remember that the point of your story is not to just make it to the end, but to fill the pages with love, friends, faith, and memories that glorify your Father and show others His love.
To those of you who have been a part of my time at Midway Covenant Christian School—teachers, parents, friends, and especially students—I hope you know how much I love you, and how blessed I have felt to be a small part of your story. God bless!