Alternate universe

Last night I went to the third movie in three weeks, which seems unreal for me ... but good. I went to a "dollar" theater with my mom and two sisters to see "Serenity." I didn't know anything about this movie, except for the vague memory of a preview I saw months ago. But time with the girls is a must, so I agreed.

The movie is written and directed by Joss Whedon of TV's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" fame. That really was the hook for all of us. His writing is clever, imaginative and sharp -- and this movie was no exception. Lots of action, quippy comebacks, good story, decent acting. All very Buffy-esque, except in space. It's good, solid entertainment for those of you in the market for that sort of thing.

I perceived a not-so-subtle political message throughout (you'll see it too). But, as I asked my little sister, is it really a politically slanted movie or just a great sci-fi/good vs. evil flick? Perhaps I'm too jaded. You'll have to judge for yourself, I guess. See ya'll next year!

Practically perfect

That is the phrase that, at least for me, best describes the movie "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe." My whole family went to see it two nights ago (we were chomping at the bit, actually). And it did not disappoint.

The casting of the children is achingly accurate; they are beautiful with personalities to match their characters' to a tee. The scenery is lush, instantly transporting viewers. The time period elements were highlighted thoughtfully, setting a scene for WW2 London that can be overlooked when reading the text in black and white (the children's clothes and a '40s-style song playing as Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy run through the English manor).

What impressed me so much was the translation of the story onto the big screen. This is no easy fete when working without a narrator. But Andrew Adamson and company managed to capture the rhythm and spirit of the story just right. It stays extremely true to the C.S. Lewis classic, and any embellishments are merely illustrative (there are almost no omissions).

It is a nice thing to have a favorite book that can double as a favorite movie; doesn't happen very often. I could write a lot more about my Narnia experience, but don't take my word for it: Go see the first Chronicle for yourself.

Freedom from reason

Freedom from fear, freedom from want ... and freedom from reason? According to, the theory of Intelligent Design "cannot be mentioned in biology classes in a Pennsylvania public school district." Excuse me, what country are we in?

When I think back to the short list of things that CAN'T be discussed in public schools, this is puzzling to me. When they wanted to ban the teaching of evolution, people raised hell. They should do the same now. Not because teachers should get to say whatever they want to our kids, but that banning an idea from a science class (in which a "theory" is taught as fact) blows my mind.

A movie review ... sort of

I'm not entirely qualified to critique movies on an artistic level. But hey, I'm a consumer, so my opinion should count too, right? My husband took me to see "The Family Stone" this weekend, and I can't tell you how much I was looking forward to it. From the time I saw the first preview months ago, I said, "Yea! The ultimate holiday movie about family and life!" Well, in short, it's not.

Don't get me wrong; it's not a bad movie. It's just not great. The word I keep coming back to is "unfocused." The performances are good enough (you'll fall in love with Luke Wilson, Sarah Jessica Parker is refreshingly different, and Craig T. Nelson is a sweet surprise), but the rhythm is not. For awhile you appreciate the true-to-life awkward moments that form in situations such as this (outsider girl meets close-knit family that thinks they're "it"). But the longer it goes, the more you long for definition: What is this character's nature? Why aren't they focusing more on her than him? How am I supposed to believe THEY'RE in love?

The result is an entertaining tale of family dynamics, but not a whole lot more. There are some good lessons in it, however, especially the family's image of itself and how that must change. See it if you're bored, but not if you're expecting greatness of great proportions. It's a solid dollar movie or weekend renter. You'll long for better direction, but appreciate the reality each moment of familial familiarity it paints.

Embracing Santa Claus

I've never been a huge Santa fan. Probably because my parents chose not to carry out the childhood illusion with us. We never believed. But I had a lot of friends that did ("not that there's anything wrong with that").

Now at my ripe age, I find myself relieved upon seeing the red-and-white-clad symbol of the season. Why? Because in a culture that's trying so hard to edge out the "Christ" in Christmas, Santa seems the closest we've got to the real thing. These days, it's all "happy holidays" and "seasons greetings" -- in part so retailers can lengthen the shopping season, and in part to secularize a government-recognized holiday. Christmas exists, people. Live with it.

Even the classic colors red and green become more scarce each year. It's not that I think there's some great color conspiracy, but every little Christmas detail that's blurred into a "holiday" generalization makes me a little sad. And as much as I don't like the non-religious appeal of Santa at Christmas, I do like the fact that no other winter holiday can claim him. Afterall, 'tis the night before Christmas he comes each year!

I probably won't tell my kids about Santa, either. Not because it's a bad thing; I just don't want anything to detract from the true meaning of Christmas in our family. That, and I don't know if I'd be a very good fibber about something in which I never believed :) Superman would have to handle all the reindeer/North Pole questions. But I'll still be glad the jolly old saint is out there stumping for Christmas.


When I was a home-schooled lass in the fifth grade or so, I visited my best friend's school for the day. Since it was a private, Christian school students prayed in their home rooms. The teacher took prayer requests from whomever had them, and if the kids had private requests they didn't want to share the details of, they would simply call them "unspeakables." Thus they got the prayer without having to explain what it was all about.

At the time, I remember thinking it was dumb. Why ask someone to pray if you're not even going to tell them what to pray for? What a waste of breath. But as I've gotten older, I understand the concept a little better. But no better than in the last two days. That's why here in this entry, I'm claiming an "unspeakable" and asking for prayer. Superman and Lois Lane could really use it right now. Thank you...


Dedicated to Katie W. and everyone touched by her:

"The Jordan is waiting for me to cross through
My heart is aging I can tell
So Lord, I'm begging
For one last favor from You
Here's my heart take it where You will

This life has shown me how we're mended
And how we're torn
How it's okay to be lonely as long as you're free
Sometimes my ground was stoney
And sometimes covered up with thorns
And only You could make it what it had to be
And now that it's done
Well, if they dressed me like a pauper
Or if they dined me like a prince
If they lay me with my fathers
Or if my ashes scatter on the wind
I don't care

But when I leave I want to go out like Elijah
With a whirlwind to fuel my chariot of fire
And when I look back on the stars
Well, It'll be like a candlelight in Central Park
And it won't break my heart to say goodbye

There's people been friendly
But they'd never be your friends
Sometimes this has bent me to the ground
Now that this is all ending
I want to hear some music once again
'Cause it's the finest thing I have ever found

But the Jordan is waiting
Though I ain't never seen the other side
They say you can't take in
The things you have here
So on the road to salvation
I stick out my thumb and He gives me a ride
And His music is already falling on my ears

There's people been talking
They say they're worried about my soul
Well, I'm here to tell you I'll keep rocking
'Til I'm sure it's my time to roll
And when I do


(Words and music by Rich Mullins)