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Category Archives: Culture and Entertainment

Anything I loved or enjoyed that I think you may enjoy.

A Theme for 2012

I am a new year’s resolution maker- have been since I was a young teen.  I love the idea of a theme or focus for the year!  This year, my theme is “Remember!”  I have so many blessing for which I am thankful!  I must remember every one of them, and from whom they come!  I have a purpose, which I need to remember.  I need to remember who I am, the ideals for which I stand, and so much more.  My remembering assists me in retaining my focus, keeping a positive attitude and my faith, performing challenging tasks, and fighting off boredom in mundane and routine situations.  My remembrance of the important, sometimes simple and precious, sometimes complex and intricate aspects of my life holds a critical place in my experiencing joy, appreciation, and gratitude.  So, this year, I will focus on remembering, speaking, witnessing, studying, searching scriptures, and living in a way that promotes and manifests my remembrance.  I will teach my children to remember what they have learned and assist them each in building their perspective of  “the whys”- why they should learn, and why they should remember.

My younger children, Simon, Grace, Abigail, Sonnet, and I are working our way through C.S.LewisChronicles of Narnia.  (Side note:I love the Chronicles of Narnia!  I am a firm believer in reading the entire series and I think that those who read or watch the movies of only the three most popular books are really missing out!  The movies are wonderful, yet the series is wonderful when read in its proper order, and full of wonderful imagery and Christian symbolism -for those who are ready- and an awesome adventure for those who just want a good read.  Digital versions of the series are inexpensive, and one printing was a paperback 7-in-1 deal,  yet I love the illustrations in my paperback copies, which were the 50th Anniversary printing with Illustrations by Pauline Baynes, from 1955, which we’ve read over and over during the past 13 years.  If you’re experiencing on your own or want to listen during a commute, the books on disk are available in a set (more expensive, yet fun in its own way), each book touting a wonderful artist/actor (such as Kenneth Branagh or Jeremy North as its reader.)

Today, we began The Silver Chair, which is the sixth installment in the series.  The children in the story, Eustace Scrubbs and Jill Pole, learn some key signs, which they must remember, recognize, and to which they must respond to fulfill their “mission.”  I found a quiet, yet powerful teaching moment within our literature lesson, which I will remember and reference this year as we study, grow, and progress.

I am so excited for this new year, for my children’s potential and my own.  About what areas of your life are you particularly excited or passionate this year?

My wishes

We had a wonderful Christmas!  I hope every one did, too.  Our house is calmer than before Christmas, and everyone here has basically spent the past two days vegetating together in front of media, playing card/board games, or visit back and forth with family.  Our celebrations were simple and filled with traditions.  We didn’t exchange a lot of gifts, it was just right, and we did not have a fuss about what anyone did or didn’t get for Christmas.  Our children don’t see dollar signs pre-Christmas, or become greedy for “stuff”, which is such a blessing!  We had a couple of sweet neighbors play “Secret Santa” by leaving gifts for the children, which we appreciate, and we feel loved.  We have basically everything we need and want; and yet, we know that Christmas is not in any box!  Christmas is in knowing Jesus Christ and in love, which anyone and everyone can hold in his/her heart year-round no matter what the circumstances may be.  For me, Christmas is remembering, faith, warmth, love, family, and togetherness!   We chose to “pay it forward” with some of our blessings as a family, even before these sweet little experiences, and now I am even more excited to get busy with them.

I loved having all my kids around and sharing Christmas movies and Christmas music for the past week!   No stress, no worries, or deadlines!  We have a rather large collection loaded in our I-tunes library decades of collecting in the making, but klove (online, www.klove.com) is my radio station of choice (I’ve been a listener since I was 14 and glad its nationwide), and it’s had some wonderful selections!  I recommend it any day of the year!  I love listening to Christmas carols, especially the ones that focus on the real Christmas!  I am not ready to give them up, and I am glad I don’t have to, even if other people want to get back to everyday business.

My children are missing the snow, and to be honest, I have really enjoyed the warmer than usual weather!  I know the snow is a blessing though, because we will need it next year, so I am praying that the snow will drop (heavily) this year and that America will be protected from drought and a good growing season next year.

Some of us had an Indian themed evening last night,  which was fun. Not really Christmassy, but we had togetherness!   We ate Tandoori Chicken ( I love the Internet and the wonderful, rich availability it gives to other people, cultures, and recipes), some vegetarian curry/masala dishes, rice (my mom and I made everything with either nut or seed milks so I could try everything, and left-over vegan cream pies for dessert; a slide show of India (thank you, Mathew!), and the epic movie Jodhaa AkbarHrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai are both superb in their roles and my family has watched it a few times!  Fun, fun, fun!  I loved cooking with my mother and just being with others…,

Peace is good!

Five more days before my children and I all hit the books again.  I love simply having time with them!  So thankful for this break from the world and the chance to reconnect with those I love.

With all my heart, I wish everyone peace and comfort, and that love surrounds each of us as we transition into 2012.

Amazing Films for families dealing with disabilities or learning curves

A couple of months ago I watched actor/producer Aamir Khan in an amazing role in his film Like Stars on Earth- a story of a little boy struggling with dyslexia.  Parts of the movie show the heartbreak that a child endures when misunderstood and condemns the actions of unobservant, callous adults.  The triumph of both the boy, Ishaan, and his teacher exhibit so much joy and dedication.  I love this film and I am excited that it will receive more exposure worldwide because it is distributed by Walt Disney Home Entertainment.  This film addresses some serious issues, so its PG rating is right on- yet my 12-year-old twins were old enough to intelligently discuss this issue and it presented some great lessons.  We deal with some learning delays and this was an example of hope for us.  I also had an opportunity to guide them through a discussion about not judging others and about expecting themselves to excel- that each of them should relentlessly explore and discover what they are brilliant about and then take off with it!

I mentioned My Name is Khan a few months ago.  This movie has one of my favorite leading men- Shahrukh Khan- and he was amazing in his portrayal of a man living with Asperger’s Syndrome.  I was absolutely stunned by it!  One thing I love about this film is that his character really lived!  He carried on with life and managed to touch the lives of many.  Oftentimes children and adults living with conditions/disorders are overlooked, shunned, and taken for granted, yet the people who know and love them are changed profoundly by the contribution these loved ones make.  They do not see life as others may, yet they see things in life and in others that other people cannot see without assistance!  Love this movie!

Sports films

I am not much of a sportswoman; however, I love films about triumphant teams or competitors because I believe they share messages applicable to all areas of life.  Most of these I shared with my older children/teens:

Miracle

Ice Castles

Invictus

Forever Strong

Remember the Titans

The Peaceful Warrior

Chariots of Fire

Pride of the Yankees

Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal

Facing the Giants

Cinderellaman

Chak De! India

Dil Bole Hadippa!

Today my children and I watched Akelah and the Bee, which technically does not qualify as a sports film, although we classify it as one because of the type of story and principle it shares.  Interested in  feeling inspired today?  Check out one of these!

Culture

Maybe I am affected by the weather; I am not certain.  I am experiencing a huge need for relaxation and uplifting experiences these days.  My family signed up for a Netflix trial in January, and I love the opportunity to experience some new films!  For the past several years, I have not spent much time at all on entertainment.  I have a difficult time finding films and music I like and that reflect and strengthen my morals.  I have had the opportunity to re-watch some old Bollywood favorites and make some new ones, which has been my favorite aspect of Netflix so far.

I love Bollywood films!  If you have never taken an opportunity to experience a Bollywood film, I highly recommend it!  This experience requires focus because subtitles will give the translation, usually from Hindi, however most Bollywood films are very theatrical and musical.  The songs are filled with romance and poetry, and some are very funny or moving.  I find Hindi films generally very clean, which I appreciate.  Swearing or immorality are quite rare from my experience with the genre.  I love it!

If anyone is game, here are a few of my favorites:

Rab ne bana di jodi- True love, romance, music, humor.  I give this one five stars!

My Name is Khan- This movie has everything!  Morals, a cause, romance, grief, healing, joy, humor.  I give this my highest recommendation.  Good with older teens, but not for young children.  Adult preview to decide.

Pyaar Impossible- Very sweet, funny romance.  Five stars.

Veer-Zaara- Wow!  Real romance; true hearts.  Five stars.

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge- Sweet Romance, good morals.  This one is older and does not have the high-tech feel to it that some films have; the main characters start out immature,  very worth the journey.  Four 1/2 stars.

Chance Pe Dance- light-hearted; School of Rock meets So You Think You Can Dance

Jodhaa Akbar- Historical epic again, music, romance, poetry, with some battle and intrigue.  Great story!  Five stars- even my 8 and 12 year olds watched this and they were enthralled, in spite of the translation necessary. Five stars.

Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham-The family relationships in this story are so sweet!  Some of the best talent in the world worked on this film!  I love it!  Five stars.

Mohabaatein- One tragedy does not mean life is over.  This is a sweet, sweet story!  Five stars.

The great thing about these films is that if you happen to be a member of Netflix, these are all available online or on DVD.  Unlimited viewing:  I love it!

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