Date Night Giveaway!

Happy February to all! How about an extra-fun giveaway just in time for Valentine’s Day? You might want to grab your sweetie so you can both sign up for a chance to win my night-on-the-town Date Night Giveaway!

That’s right — a night on the town! Well, at least a night at the movies :) The winner will receive a $20 gift card to his or her favorite movie theater chain (Cinemark, AMC, etc). Just leave a comment on this post by noon (CST) February 11th and tell me the name of the movie you saw on your very first movie date with your spouse or current significant other. Can’t remember the first one? That’s okay — just tell me the earliest one you can recall. If you don’t happen to have a significant other right now, leave the name of the first movie you ever remember seeing at a theater. If I don’t know you personally, be sure to include your email address as well.

I’ll kick it off. The first movie I ever saw with Don happened to be our first date as well. We saw Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Anybody remember that one? What a long time ago — 1974 to be exact. We still love going to the movies together, but now we have to buy snacks just to keep Don awake :)

Can’t wait to hear about your first movie dates with your current guys or gals. Also can’t wait to play Cupid and help someone have a great date night with his or her sweetie!

“‘Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me.'” Song of Songs 2:13b

*Family update: There have been a few improvements with my mother-in-law’s health this week, but the long-term outlook concerning her renal failure is still not good. Since the hospital has told us they must dismiss her soon (you know how insurance goes…), we are now in the difficult days of care option decisions. We treasure your prayers…

*Flickr photo by Mo Kaiwen

"Stay Cool" Summer Giveaway

It’s June! Is it bustin’ out all over in your life? :) It is in mine — I’m just getting back from our family reunion (more on that later in the week) but thought I would kick off the summer with a giveaway designed to help you stay cool and be refreshed when July rolls around.

Sometimes when the heat is on, you’ve just gotta find something to do inside! Would a $10 Blockbuster gift card help? Pick out a couple of new releases or a few old favorites, crank up the AC, grab a drink, some popcorn and M&Ms, and relax. Like the scripture says, “…Come home…and refresh thyself.” (1 Kings 13:7 KJV).

To be included in the drawing for the gift card, leave a comment on this post by midnight June 24 (CST). That way I can get the prize to the winner in time for the searing hot month of July. Just tell me one of your all-time favorite movies or the name of the last movie you saw. Be sure and leave your email address if I don’t know you personally, or you’ll be disqualified since I won’t know how to reach you.

I’ll kick it off. One of my all-time favorite movies is White Christmas. You can’t get much cooler than that! :) C’mon and join the fun. Refresh thyself! :)

*Flickr photo by Charleston’s TheDigitel

More Than Meets The Eye

Are you up for an intense movie experience? If so, run out and see Vantage Point. I can’t remember ever seeing another movie quite like it — and that’s one reason it’s worth seeing. It’s different.

The same event (an assassination attempt/terrorist plot) is told from the perspective of first one character and then another…and another…and so on. You might think it would get boring, but it doesn’t. So many new details come to light with each version that it becomes more and more interesting, more suspenseful, as the full story unfolds. Yes, there is violence. But the subject matter requires it. And the sad but true fact is that it could easily be tomorrow’s headlines. It’s our present day reality.

So much would have been missed if we had seen this story from the vantage point of only one character. Our first assumptions would have proved wrong. None of us could have made an accurate judgement based on the information gleaned from just one or two of the people involved. The story was more complex than that.

This unique movie concept — this Vantage Point theme — made me think about the judgements we make in our everyday lives. How many times do we witness or even play a role in an event or conversation and then immediately pass judgement based only on what we ourselves can see? Just like the storyline in the movie, life is more complex than that. There’s usually more than meets the eye involved.

Let’s be alert to looking at situations from different vantage points. Let’s give the benefit of the doubt the next time someone seems especially demanding or harsh. Maybe heavy demands or extreme stress has been placed on that person. When we feel like someone has snubbed us, perhaps she was distracted by worry or heartache instead.

Let’s look beyond the surface. After all, “Jesus said…’Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgement.'” John 7:21a, 24

*Flickr photo by Piutus

*P.S. Has anyone else seen Vantage Point? What did you think? Can you think of another movie ever being made like it? I couldn’t…

Sweet Tradition

Several years ago, Don and I started our own little Halloween tradition. We go to the movies on Halloween night. We’ve decided it’s a very nice alternative to hopping up and answering the door a kajillion times. This year, Halloween night found us in a nearby town watching Dan In Real Life. Don didn’t think he was going to like it because someone at work told him it was a chick flick. He was pleasantly surprised, though. We both enjoyed it, and he didn’t even fall asleep once. No small feat for Don while watching a movie :)

Earlier that evening as we headed out the door, a couple of little girls all decked out for trick-or-treating came running toward us. I felt bad telling them I didn’t have any candy — they were so excited. It reminded me of my own trick-or-treating days and the tradition I enjoyed then.

When I was a kid, my sisters and I didn’t have a good place to go trick-or-treating because we lived on a highway heading out of town. Lucky for us, though, our friends, the Lees, invited us to their home every year on Halloween night.

Halloween was different then. It was a safer, more carefree age. Our parents didn’t have to worry about us being out by ourselves trick-or-treating. While Mom and Dad enjoyed the evening with Mr. & Mrs. Lee, we kids raced the streets of their neighborhood taking in as much loot as we could before heading back to proudly display our plunder to our waiting parents. I usually had a tale or two to tell as well. If anyone ever asked us to do a trick for our candy, I was the designated trickster for our group. I just flashed my double-jointed fingers at them, and we were sitting pretty. The memories of those nights — so thrilling to me — will be forever etched in my mind’s eye. Spending the evening with our friends every year on Halloween night proved to be a great tradition.

Tradition is wonderful, isn’t it? Some of our happiest moments and best memories are created as we carry out traditions together. We all have traditions we share with family, but sharing some with friends is especially sweet, too. Unless something prevents it, we see in each NewYear with our friends, the Irwins, and enjoy all kinds of silliness together. The 4th of July is no different, except for the heat. Good times with great friends. Can’t beat that.

Do you have a tradition you share with friends? If not, think about starting one. I promise, it will be one of the best things you ever did — for your family and theirs!

“…we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…” 1 Thessalonians 2:8 NIV