In rear moments in our lives we are about to impact peoples lives in the best ways. In these moments, we are able to save lives. We are able to show people that we care and that they are important.
Throughout the short run of the show, the audience follows the adventures of Tru as she uses her detective skills and her supernatural abilities to save lives. In her attempts, the audience travels through loss, heartbreak and victory through the two season television show.
In Tru Calling, which first aired in 2003, Tru Davies (Eliza Dushku) is given the opportunity to do just that. Tru is a college graduate who is working on finding herself in medical school. In her pursuits, she lands a job at the city morgue, working the overnight shift. While working in the city morgue, the body of a murdered girl soon asks for help. Tru’s day restarts. The victim was not dead yet. Tru had the opportunity to save this person’s life. With the details that she gathers throughout the day, Tru frantically works on ensuring that the life of the victim is spared from the untimely death that they faced the “day” earlier.
The puzzle pieces begin to connect as we also learn that Tru’s mother met her untimely demise due to a murder. A murder that Tru witnessed at the age of twelve. We quickly discover that Tru uses the death of her mother as motivation to save the lives of those that ask for help, a calling that tru’s very mother had the decade prior.
As soon as the audience gathers a better sense of the calling that Tru carries on her back, the writers throw us a curveball in the name of Jack Harper. Jack Harper is the exact opposite of Tru. They both relive days, yet while Tru works to save the potential victims’ lives, Jack works to keep the order of the universe by ensuring that the victim still dies by the end of the episode.
The angel of life and the angel of death.
On the surface of the show, it’s an exciting show of drama and mystery. It’s a show that shows a compassion for all kinds of people as well as having a loving family bond between Tru and her brother Harrison. On a deeper level the show parallels the life that we experience as Christians in the life of ministry.
Throughout the arc of the two seasons, we see Tru work diligently and intensely to save the lives of the potential victims, while at the same time there is an opposing force that is tempting the potential victim with the same traps that encaged them the “day” prior in attempts to ensure that the events happen as they did before.
As a Christian living to honor Chris and spread the Gospel to all those who do not have access to the Gospel, we have a calling to lead those we meet to the salvation of Jesus, ultimately saving them from their own unnatural death. For those of us that accept this calling, there is an opposing force from the enemy himself works diligently through our culture to ensure that the masses of victims meet their untimely demise.
In the show the audiences sees Tru’s urgency to save the lives of those that have asks for her help. Tru shows that she will stop at nothing to change the victim’s destiny and ensure that they survive the day. Watching this, the Christian audience could get the same urgency for those that we meet and see everyday. What are we willing to do to ensure that our friends, our family’s and our communities know Jesus and are saved from their untimely demise into an afterlife with God.
This calling goes further than just going to church on Sunday and possibly attending a Bible study throughout the week. Our calling is to bring people to Jesus, where they can be healed, saved and loved in a way that they often have never experienced.
The truth is, bringing people to the place where they can develop a honest and true relationship with Jesus is not an easy task. The recipient would need to vulnerable enough to open their hearts to the truth of God’s love and the fact is that most people are too ignorant and busy with their everyday lives to realize that they need Jesus or that they need saving.
What would you do to save someone’s life?
The Crayola experience has just recently opened at Chandler Fashion Center! This bright and colorful place has annual passholder memberships available for only $30 per person.
I have not been in the Crayola experince currently. However I have been to gift shop numerous times already with family and friends! The Pick a Pack wall of color is sure to wow fans of all ages!
Gifts range from Christmas ornaments to t shirts and of course a variety of coloring products such as crayons, markers, and colored pencils. Plushies of crayons in all sizes and colors are prominently displayed. The plushie markers are tucked further back in the store.
I personally purchased the emoji marker set a great deal at only $5 dollars. I also have a green golf ball and plushie crayon keychain. With a few exceptions most of the gifts for sale seem very reasonably priced.
Inside the Crayola Experince guests can snack and create art work. There are variety of different stations to choose from. Please visit the Crayola Experience website for more information.
I would greatly reccomend this as a family trip perhaps when grandparents are coming in from out of town.
Disclaimer this post contains movie spoilers
The White Crow is a 2019 biopic about Rudolph Nureyev. In the 1960s Nureyev made a big splash when he defected to the West. In the ballet world he is respected as one of the greatest artists of his generation.
Ballet is a great passion of mine. Most movies about ballet recently have had only about five minutes of actual ballet. So I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of ballet content in this film.
Ralph Fiennes is better known to our generation as He Who Must Not Be Named. Yes this film was directed by the same actor who plays Lord Voldimort. He used two different cinematic styles: black and white footage for childhood flashbacks and color for present day.
To be fair I enjoyed the movie greatly. But I do have some criticisms. There was a lot of jumping around time wise. Sometimes he would be in the studio six years prior and other times it would be 1961.
The film also has moments where it is shot from the point of view of the character and that was slightly jarring. For most of the film I did feel as if I was taking a trip to Paris. A beautiful city and a wonderful backdrop to the events that unfolded.
Rudolph Nureyev defected to the West at the end of the film. He does not leave for political reasons but due to artistic freedom he had not been offered at the Kirov ballet. During his time in Paris he spent time away from his Soviet company.
This film captures Nureyev's artistic temperament to put it lightly. He seems to alienate those closest to him by his abrupt anger. He also seems childlike at times like in his desire for a model train set.
Nureyev is known as a boy born on a train. His life was changed when at age six he was able to see an opera performance. It was then that he knew he wanted the stage and theatre to he his home. His home life was very simple.
The White Crow was an excellent film. It captured a moment in time that was pivotal for the dance world. The amount of actual ballet content is pleasing. However most of the dancing is a rehearsals with a few crumbs of costumed performances. Overall I would reccomend it for any dance aficionados in your life.
Additionally I must state that there are a few scenes that may make audience members squeamish. In one scene Nureyev's dance teachers wife seduces him rather directly. In Paris, Nureyev and his friends do visit a topless bar. There are also a few nude scenes involving characters getting out of bed. Due to this content I would reccomend this film for adults only.
Disclaimer there are spoilers in this post.
The holiday season gave us Aquaman as the gift we didnt know we needed. Aquaman a character from the DC universe who is a part of the Justice League.
Aquaman is the heir to the kingdom of Atlantis and he lives with his father who is a light house keeper. Aquaman's name is Arthur and he grows up believing that his mother has been killed for her love of a human and escaping an arranged marriage.
Arthur is contacted by Princess Mera because she needs his help to defeat his half brother who seeks to become Ocean Master. To do this, they must travel to find the Trident of Atlan.
The first part of the movie is when Arthur's parents meet and fall in love during a storm. Then we see Arthur grow up and we meet his arch rival the Black Manta. Black Manta wants revenge because he holds Aquaman responsible for his father's death.
Then the second half of the film takes Arthur and Mera on an incredible journey from the Saharra desert to Sicily in search of clues to point them to the location of the Trident of Atlan. Romance blossoms between the strong willed princess and her rather begrudging tour guide.
The final third portion of the film begins with finding out that Queen Atlanna is still alive and Arthur is reunited with his mother. After claiming his birthright of the Trident of Atlan Aquaman returns to fight his half brother.
The film concludes with a reunion of Arthur's parents.
This movie has everything to root for in a superhero film. Plenty of.fight scenes and action sequences. Just the right dose of comedic timing. And a cast that is fairly easy on the eyes. I am sure that Arthur and Mera will inspire plenty of fan fiction.
If you are looking for a film to ride you over until summer's latest block buster hit, look no further than Aquaman!
A pet cemetery is a special place; a mysterious place. It is often a place where we learn to deal with loss, most of the times at the youngest of ages. In this special place we learn to hold on to the wonderful memories of our best of friends.
Yet, what happens when you are unable to deal with the death? What happens when you your grieving results in not letting go of the pet, or person, that you’ve lost? This is the situation that the audience is forced to face in the newest adaptation of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary.
While adjusting to a new life, in a new home, Dr. Lewis Creed and his wife, Rachel, must begin to cope with the loss of their child after a trucking accident. Amid his grief, Lewis buries his child in the mystical Pet Sematary that rested just behind their home. Soon the once dead child returns home to her father, but there’s something wrong with her, she’s not that same. The family soon must face the deadly consequences of Dr. Lewis Creed’s actions when the living-dead child tries to reunite the family through death.
Looking deeper into this story, the audience is given the opportunity to observe the spiritual, yet lethal, consequences of not being able to deal with death in a positive and healthy way. Watching the movie, the audience can relate one of the members of the four-person family. It could the mother Rachel, who goes to stay with her parents after to child’s death. It could be Lewis, who tries to hold on to the past when he buries his recently deceased child in the mystical cemetery because he “wanted more time with her.”
Without being an expert about death and how to deal with it, it’s plane to see that there are two different ways that the parents display to deal with the death that they face. These two coping mechanisms can also be applied to our spiritual life.
These two examples are examples that I believe many of us would also fall into when you we deal with loss. We can gather around friends and family and find solace in them as we work on moving on, or we can emotionally dig up the past and not actually deal with the emotional and spiritual toll that this takes.
In our spiritual lives, it seems that we often dig up our past, not letting it rest. Often, we find that when we refuse to let our past rest, it begins to corrupt and corrode, destroying us from the inside. In the wake of our spirits corroding, the despair and depression can often seep out and entangle our family in the same corruption. This unrest can often destroy a family, “killing” everyone involved.
Here's the good news for us: we don’t need to let our grief and despair destroy us and our families. There’s hope for us all in these difficult times. There’s a God that loves us and knows our pain. God wants to heal us in a healthy way. Therefore, we are involved in community to strengthen us and encourage us through our most difficult times.
Summary: When a young Billy Batson is separated from his mother, he finds himself on a continual search for his birth mother as he bounces around from foster home to foster home. In the process to building a family unit, Billy is endowed with the powers of an ancient wizard, who is the last remaining of a group of wizards who sought out to protect the world from the Seven Deadly Sins. While learning to use his new superpowers, Billy discovers who is truly is as well as finding the family he has always wanted.
A Deeper look: At the very surface of this story, the viewer is treated to the hilarious journey of a hero discovering his purpose, his identity and the family that he longs for. Yet, taking a deep dive into the more developed aspect of the story there is a lot that the audience can dissect, think through and gather a better understanding of the characters and themselves.
For those searching for hope, I will continue to pray for. I pray that we can find our hope in Jesus. Regardless of the difficulties that we face daily, there is always hope and family in the church. Now is the time that we realized that we belong to this family within the church and that God is our heavenly father that provides us with a purpose that is greater than we can ever imagine.
disclaimer there are spoilers ahead!
May 24th 2019 marked the opening weekend for the live-action version of Aladdin.
Join familiar characters such as Genie and new character such as Jasmine's handmaiden Dahlia, as we return to Agrabah.
First I will give a brief synopsis of the Aladdin story. Then I will highlight what I enjoyed about the new film adaptation. Finally i will compare the live action version to the animated film.
Aladdin is story of a young man and how he changes his destiny. Due to help from his monkey Abu, Aladdin possess the lamp and its genie. Genie makes Aladdin into a prince so he can marry Princess Jasmine, who he saved earlier in the marketplace. Their love is thwarted by Jafar the evil grand visir and his pet parrot Iago. Jafar is turned into a genie and sent to the Cave of Wonders. Genie is freed by Aladdin. Jasmine's father the Sultan changes the law so that she and Aladdin can marry. Other supporting characters include the tiger Rajah, Jasmine's best friend, and a magic carpet that can fly, named Carpet.
Now that you are caught up on the story, here is what I enjoyed about the live action version. The movie was visually stunning according to critics and I have to agree. From the background and the costumes to the use of flower petals is was a treat. Jasmine this is her movie with the new musical number and anthem called "Speechless". Will Smith as the genie was so fun! The only thing I did not enjoy was Iago as he was much funnier in the animated version. Jafar also was quite scary but as a villian this was fitting for his character. I loved this film! I cant wait to see it again!
Aladdin as an animated film premiere in November of 1992. It started the late and great comedic actor, Robin William's, as the genie. Will Smith did an excellent job as the genie, but in the hearts of our generation, Robin William's will always be our genie. In the animated film, the lyrics to the songs differ slightly than the live action version. Iago, Jafars parrot, was much funnier in the animated film. In the live action adaptation, the genie falls in love with Jasmine's handmaiden Dahlia. I liked this touch of romance and plot.
The true question is this: Does the story stand the test of time? The answer, for this reviewer is a resounding Yes!
Both films are a treat for children of ages and are sure to delight! So, head on over to your local theater and revisit Agrabah with Disney's Aladdin!
Won’t you be my neighbor?
Mr. Rodgers was the creator of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. He was inspired to create the show after seeing what was available to children at the time. In his quiet manner, he invited the television audience to be his neighbor. Mr. Rogers spoke on a variety of topics. He sang songs, most notably, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” and “It’s Such a Good Feeling”, which are the opening and closing themes of each episode. During the course of each episode, viewers were introduced to various characters from the Land of Make-Believe, such as Daniel Tiger and King Friday. The Bio-pic “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” explores the shows history as well as the life of its creator, Fred Rogers.
Fred Rogers was a Presbyterian minister from Pennsylvania. He was a devoted father and husband. Throughout the extensive run of the show, Mr. Rogers taught his audience about love, which he proudly initialed with the number ‘143’. Fred Rogers also believed that each person was unique and he often declared that he liked people just the way they were. This is easily a movie that will find its way into our personal DVD collection.
Lessons from “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”
Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice
By Jessica Seese
In my last movie review I reviewed “Man of Steel.” This week I will be writing a review of the follow-up film, “Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice.” Like Superman, Batman is a comic book character from the DC universe. Orphaned at an early age, he grew up to be a billionaire, inheriting family money. Bruce Wayne defends Gotham City at night from villains such as: The Joker and Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Penguin, and The Riddler, to name a few. Personally, Batman is not my favorite because I find his villains too dark. Batman had had many comic books, movies and television shows. In time, he also partners with Robin.
“Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice” opens with the funeral of Bruce Wayne’s parents. He was a witness to their mugging, and he is reliving this memory. Then, we see where “Man of Steel” is a part of this timeline. During Superman and General Zod’s battle, Bruce Wayne is there, evacuating his building/business. He drives recklessly through the rubble and then, proceeds on foot. He also finds a little girl trapped in the rubble, whose parents may have perished in a collapsed building.
Eighteen months passed, and the wreckage from the kryptonian ship is salvaged off the coast of an island in the Indian Ocean. Lois Lane is back to her hard-hitting, globetrotting ways, as she interviews a general in Nairobi, Africa. The photojournalist traveling with her is murdered, and then other gun fire ensues. Superman appears to save Lois. People want Superman to be held responsible for his actions.
Lois and Clark clearly have a romantic relationship now. He brought her food and flowers for dinner. Clark reassures Lois that he loves her.
The authorities (cops) have found an old house filled with foreign young women. They find that the perpetrator of these crimes has been branded with the bat symbol on Batman’s chest. Bruce Wayne is trying to track who may want to bring a “dirty bomb in to Gotham.”
Lexcorp has a piece of the rock that will weaken kryptonians. Lex Luther wants to weaponize the material to protect humanity from the “kindness of monsters.” His father grew up in East Berlin (implied under communist rule)
The crime wave is not of interest to Perry, the editor of the Daily Planet. The senator makes a visit, the import license is blocked. Lois has asked for time to go to Washington.
Bruce Wayne had a nightmare and we woke to get a drink. Perhaps his life is spiraling in a darker way. He lacks a family, other than his butler. Alexander “Lex” Luther invites Bruce Wayne to a charity gala. His appearance is well documented for the library of the Metropolis by the press. Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent are introduced at the gala in Metropolis.
Various public figures discuss the “Superman Question.” The senator is convinced to give Superman a trial. Clark Kent’s mission to write about the “Bat” jeopardizes his career.
It is clear at this point in time that meta-humans, those with supernatural abilities, are finding their place in the human world. They all have alter egos and masked identities, so that they can try and separate their personal lives with the crime that they fight. This film also introduces us to Wonder Woman.
Alfred knows that Krytonian Material is on the boat the White Portuguese. “20 years in Gotham, Alfred, you know what promises people made/keep. How many people are good, how many people stayed that way.” comments Bruce Wayne. He was a cynicism of the honesty of the people, particularly the high rollers like himself, of Gotham. He has witnessed violence, corruption and all manner of illicit behavior in his home city of Gotham.
“In a democracy, good is a conversation.” People are always surrounded by violence as we live in a volatile, hostile world. But there is always hope that good will prevails. As we all should be, Superman is called to be held accountable for our actions, and be given the opportunity to speak on our own behalf.
Superman arrives at the court house amidst protest. Honestly, that scene is always a little hard for me to watch because my characters are like my friends. And seeing the hate the crowd gives Superman makes me sad.
Chaos erupts as a capital explodes, due to a bomb placed there by Lex Luther. In retaliation, Luther Corps is vandalized by Batman. Superman begins to doubt his purpose. “That farmer’s dream is all some people have, it gives them hope.” Superman feels that while the symbol of hope many have existed on his planet, he acknowledges krypton does not exist anymore.
Lex Luther accesses the kryptonian archives, using General Zod’s fingerprints. Belgium, November 1918, Bruce Wayne views an old photograph of Wonder Woman. Doomsday is created as a combination of Alexander Luther’s blood and general Zod’s corpse. Superman retreats to the snowy mountains, perhaps in the Arctic (as in Man of Steel). He has a conversation with Jonathan Kent, his deceased father.
Martha Kent gave Jonathan faith that there is still good in the world. This premise, while naïve to some, is hopeful to me. Bruce reflects on his family’s legacy as hunters. Martha Kent is kidnapped out of the diner where she works. Lois Lane is also kidnapped; she is taken to Lex Luther.
Lex Luther is clearly highly intelligent, yet mentally disturbed. He sees evil and absolute virtues are problems. Lex Luther wants to pit Superman vs. Batman against one another, using Martha Kent as collateral. Lex Luther wants to control the situation because, as a child, he did not have control of the situation when his father would hit him. Abuse is highly cyclical, because the abused can sometimes view this state as the norm; but, it does not have to carry on to the next generation. With intervention and therapy and finding a supportive community, healing from abuse is a possibility. In reality Lex Luther was isolated in his pain, and he only went on to create more hurt/violence.
Batman uses weapons with Kryptonite to weaken Superman. He also beats him up. I do not condone violence, but I do accept that fighting is the primary means of conflict resolution in actions/superhero films.
Batman has Superman weakened, and is ready to move in for the kill when Superman pleads with him to save Martha. Lois arrives, and they realize they both have mothers named Martha. Batman promises Superman that Martha will not die tonight.
If Batman and Superman will become friends/allies seems highly unlikely. But they will work together in this endeavor. When Batman rescues Martha, she figures he is one of her son’s friends due to the cape. This is the dry humor that seems typical of the D.C films.
Doomsday is unleashed, and he and Superman fight in outer space. When Doomsday is attacked, it is like it absorbs the power, and becomes stronger. Batman realizes that he can use the kryptonite sphere in an attempt to kill Doomsday. Superman is re-energized by the power of the Sun’s rays.
Wonder Woman comes to their aide. Together the three of them stand against Doomsday. In the midst of the fight, Superman hears Lois as she is trapped underwater. Superman retrieves the Kryptonite weapon.
Lois begs Clark not to continue to fight, as she knows he could be killed. To defend his world, and the woman he loves, Superman delivers his final blow. As Doomsday lies fallen; so too does Superman. A solemn moment ensues between Batman, Wonder Woman, and Lois, who is understandably distraught over the death of her love. In this moment, no words are needed.
Lex Luther is incarcerated. Clark Kent’s body is buried in a private ceremony in Kansas. Martha presents Lois with a package that contains an engagement ring. A ceremony takes place for Superman as well. He is buried as a hero, with full honors.
Wonder Woman and Bruce Wayne attend Clark’s funeral. He admonishes her to help him find the others like them. Men are still good. We can rebuild, do better. We have to. People mourn Superman’s death. Batman enters Luther’s cell, Luther gives a cryptic message about bells. Lex’s assets are seized.
At Clark’s grave, the dust looks to not settle fully, passably hinting at Superman’s return, and the formation of the Justice League? (We know that Wonder Woman has her own movie as of June of 2017)
Worthy by The Impact
What do you get when you mix of groups of six musically talented individuals, all coming from different backgrounds and cultures, mixing in a passion for people who are hurting? You get The Impact. The impact was started as a small youth worship team that lead services in Word of Life Christian Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Before the groups of young adults knew it they were being called into a bigger mission field with a much larger platform.
With a willingness to follow the path that God has set out to the six-piece group, the band began to raise money for their debut album entitled, “Worthy.” Worthy is comprised of twelve songs, many of which are written by the band members themselves. On June 2, 2017 the debut album hit the streets.
As I listened to this album and upwards of seven times, I first had to get a feel for the musical elements, ignoring the lyrical content. As I complied by knowledge of Christian worship albums, I realize that the musical elements are essential for creating an effective worship album. Prior to talking about the musical elements of Worthy, I feel it valuable to discuss the goal of Christian worship albums. In essence, a worship album is meant to take the listener on an emotional, as well as spiritual, journey that will allow the listener to become more vulnerable with God. The worship album will succeed in this through the overall mood that is expressed through the various musical elements, for example if the current song is meant to raise a feeling of joy, excitement, or happiness the band would chose drum patterns, key progressions and guitar riffs that bring out that emotion, or at least make the listener more susceptible to those feelings. At the end of the day, if the audience is not literally feeling the music, then the album will not have the reaction that may be expected.
Throughout “Worthy” the listener gets an experience of pure worship. From the first track to the final song, the listener is given the opportunity to worship God through the various moods and feelings that the band puts together. Within each song, the audience is filled with courage, joy, peace and a sense of self-worth. The musical elements of this album pulse through the speakers, giving God the opportunity to make a personal connection with the listener. Whether the music is fast paced, given the audience the feeling of excitement; or the music is melodic, allowing the listener to reflect on God’s joyous and good nature, this album allows for it all. The audience will also be given time to reflect in prayer as the lyrics and the musical elements cease to allow a private time of prayer.
Throughout my other numerous listens of “worthy” I had to focus on the lyrical content. To be sincere, my knowledge of lyrical content is much more developed than my knowledge of musical content. As an avid writer of poetry, stories and even the occasional song, I understand that more often than not the audience will decide whether they like or love a song by the lyrics first, then the music. In the context of a Christian worship album the impactful lyrics are vital. In the realm of Christian worship music, the goal is not only pull at the heart of the listener, but to allow the listener to interact with the mini-in-car-concert by singing along. Therefore the lyrics should be compelling enough to get the listener to reminisce of the difficult that they’ve traveled, as well as simple enough to get the audience singing along as soon as possible, regardless of where ever they may be.
As they did with the musical elements, the band also delivered when it comes to the lyrical content of the album. Within the first listening to the album songs like, “All I Need” and “Contagious” quickly allow the audience to sing along and connect to the words that are being sung. As the audience listens further into the album songs like, “Worthy” and “Surrendering All” bring a deeper connection between God and man.
On The Impact’s website, Iamtheimpact.com, one will see their ministry mission statement: “We are a music group/ministry with a vision to bring back the freedom that has been lost, as we reveal God’s love in an atmosphere of praise, worship and fellowship. Our passion is bringing up the next generation of worshippers with hearts committed to Christ and move with the Holy Spirit to minister into lives.”
With the release of “Worthy” The Impact is beginning a greater movement that started in a church in Las Vegas; a movement that allows people from all kinds of backgrounds, generations, and ethnicities to gather together and praise the one true God. The Impact is more than just a band and “Worthy” is more than just an album; it’s the beginning of change. After listening to “Worthy” the listener will have a desire to praise the Lord through all that they face, but even more than that, the listener will be empowered to live their lives in a way that shows their lives making an impact on the families, jobs, and communities. Yet, it all started with an obedient group of people and a CD.
“Be the impact the world needs to see.”