With the help of family and good friends, my wife and I moved into our new house in July, as recounted in It’s a Wonderful Life. Preparing for the move required some extra attention for Abby, when we recognized that she still needed playtime in the midst of our busy-ness, as told in Cheaper by the Dozen.
Batman Begins talked about losing your reputation for the sake of others, while The Kim Possible Movie-So the Drama encouraged us to look for a lifelong relationship among people who have already proven themselves as trusted friends.
Finally, the Monthly Feature on Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets encouraged us to make wise choices based on a solid foundation of truth, without fearing that exposure to certain influences will make us become what we don’t want to be.
In August, I reviewed “Old Yeller”, a movie I had never seen until this past summer. The most I knew about it was the line Bill Murray delivers in “Stripes” (“Nobody cried when Old Yeller died. I’m sure! I cried my eyes out …”)
I saw the sequel, Savage Sam, several times in my childhood, never knowing it was a sequel. Both films carry strong messages about growing up. “Old Yeller” teaches us the tough lesson about taking ownership of a problem, and “Savage Sam”warns us to learn self-control instead of pursuing a path of hatred.
A similar theme of escaping our dark urges is found in the August Monthly Feature, on John Steinbeck’s classic novel, East of Eden, which encourages us that every good or bad decision is a choice we make, and we can still choose to do what’s right, even if we’ve chosen poorly in the past.
We also looked at defending the reputation of a trusted friend in “The Wild, Wild West”, and the month started out with excerpts from a surprising interview of bestselling authors Stephen King and Jerry Jenkins, which discussed how both horror and inspirational fiction can work to entertain, inspire and challenge readers in their daily lives.
We also announced the new Character Entertainment Creative Writing Class, being taught throughout the year in Elgin, Illinois, to help people make writing a part of their life. Interested? Go to the Contact Us page or email firstname.lastname@example.org to request your Registration Form!
September became “Rocky” Month! The “Rocky” films have always inspired courage to overcome enormous odds and to fight for what’s important in life. September’s Monthly Feature talked about taking risks, like my brother David, in trying out for a regional karaoke contest. Most people never step up to test their talents for fear of failure. But David’s risk paid off, resulting in a win that sent him to Laughlin, Nevada for the next round of international competition!
Continuing from the first film, Weekly Blogs focused on what it takes to really pursue a dream. Making Dreams Happen, Part 1 talked about believing that a dream can be achieved, as my wife and I discussed finding a dream home, and ultimately found one the perfect place to meet our family’s needs. Part 2 discussed putting in the work necessary to build those dreams, the way I need to keep working out if I hope to get back in shape.
“Rocky II” talked about putting our family and everyday life first, not neglecting daily chores and the needs of loved ones to pursue a dream as a selfish obsession. Sharing family responsibilities typically results in seeing our families share our dreams!
Finally, “Rocky III” talked about accepting new challenges that push us past our comfort zone, helping us grow stronger to take on more responsibilities, to bless those around us.
Weekly Blogs in October talked about the dangers of “sexting” and other questionable ways of promoting yourself in “Happy Days”, then suggested to trust the right sources for information – people with a history of being reliable – in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe Part 1 and Part 2.
Robin Hood talked about avoiding the trap of greed for “a little bit more”, and Monk demonstrated how to face up to an intimidating challenge.
Finally, “Scooby Doo: the Mystery Begins” advised us not to judge people by first impressions, but to take time to find out who they really are.
The Monthly Feature, “Faith Like Potatoes”, talked about humbling ourselves enough to do things God’s way.
And finally, Nicki and I celebrated the publication of our children’s story, “The King’s Mouse”, in the October issue of Clubhouse, Jr. magazine!
November started out with the Monthly Feature of Gun Lake, Travis Thrasher’s novel about five escaped convicts scrabbling for a new life and wondering if it’s possible. An excerpt from Gun Lake in the first Weekly Blog also showed the devastation that can come about when we refuse to leave our old ways behind.
Another Weekly Blog showed the value of finding peace, relaxation and even a sense of God in times of stillness in “Prison Break”.
And we learned the importance of knowing you’re unconditionally loved and accepted, and the dire consequences of seeking it from the wrong places, in “August Rush”. My wife, Nicki, and I made sure our daughter Abby knows that we will always love her, no matter what.
Finally, in honor of Thanksgiving and the accompanying Black Friday mall rush, “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” showed that staying honest, decent and compassionate has its rewards, even when it seems like less scrupulous people have outclassed you.
Our Monthly Feature discussed how the joyful invitation of Christmas is for everyone, whether they believe in Christ or not, in the Point of Grace album, “When Love Came Down”.
Weekly Blogs talked about finding the blessings of family in “Lethal Weapon”. We also presented the idea of practicing faith and belief by first practicing imagination, to expect more than what we can see in our everyday lives, in “Miracle on 34th Street”.
Then we talked about expecting miracles and finding new hope in “The Nativity Story”.
Finally, we listed off the many simple ways that we can be a blessing, simply by setting out to do so, in “Frosty, the Snowman”.
Happy New Year, and have a wonderful 2010!