Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: An AMWAM Review

We had a date-night last night. Our movie of choice? Pride Prejudice and Zombies. It’s been awhile since I did one of these, but here follows my AMWAM (as many words as minutes) review!

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)

Rating: PG-13

Movie run-time/word count: 108 minutes/words

The book we’ve all contemplated buying as a gag-gift for the literature lover in our lives is now devour-able at the big screens.

Don’t go see this one if you are the hardcore, A&E, Colin-Firth-all-the-way kind of person (you know who you are). This is the movie for Austen fans who aren’t too serious. This is for the loyal boyfriends who have sat through every re-telling, wishing they knew what the big deal was about.

Also, pretty sure Lily James is the new “it girl.”

More comedy than anything, this film is like having a bizarre, hilarious dream after  back-to-back Downton Abbey/Walking Dead marathons.

I’d watch it again.

PRIDE-AND-PREJUDICE-AND-ZOMBIES book

 

 

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Redeemer of my Heart

Just a very short post today, because I’ve got to be heading out the door soon.

Today, here’s where I am: aware of my need of redemption.

We sing about redemption a lot in church; it’s part of the Christian lexicon. This is as it should be, the word is important in the Christian faith…but man, sometimes I think the power of the term goes unrecognized and it takes some broken-heartedness to remember it.

Biblically speaking, the title of “redeemer” goes back to the Old Testament, referring to a “kinsman redeemer” who was able to act on behalf of another to save  them from trouble, whether this is making them good in the eyes of the law or literally rescuing them. The kinsman redeemer is kind of the white knight who brings things back where they need to be. In the New Testament, this term is fulfilled by Jesus, the ultimate kinsman redeemer.  I think a lot of times we accept this as a part of Christianity–that, in order to be saved, we need redemption from our sins.

We know that part is key, but I think we forget sometimes that it’s not a one-time deal. Our hearts wander constantly, and we’ll require this saving re-direction as long as we live. We are like kids who really, really want to touch the thing we’re not supposed to (I type before re-navigating Kora away from underneath the recliner).

The past week has been rough for me. Not rough on the outside, or in anything that happened particularly. The problem has been on the inside. I am struggling with myself–with my own unrealistic expectations (INFPs understand), over-sensitivity, doubt, worry, sadness, selfishness of perspective. I’ve felt lonely, with no one to share these private thoughts and feelings. There’s no one who can understand my soul, and no one can help resolve the troubles of myself (the Hebrew word for self, “nephesh”, is appropriate here, encompassing, body, mind, soul, self-ness…) Not even my husband can fully get me or fix me: as wonderful as he is, he is just a person, too.

The problem with trying to dump your heart’s brokenness on any other person is that we are all a bit broken-unable to carry the weight of our own problems, let alone understand or solve someone else’s. I’m not saying don’t rely on people, I’m just saying that ordinary people can’t offer real redemption of the heart. Ordinary people can’t keep bringing you back to a place of peace, no matter how far away you feel from it. Only God does that.

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“For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”-Isaiah 41:13

My prayer today is that God will bring my brokeness back to Him and love me again. I don’t need saving once and for all–I’ve already received eternal salvation.

And yet….

I DO still need saving, each and every day. I need redemption every day. Please redeem my heart, today, Lord. Bring it back to where you want it to be.

“Wonderful, merciful Savior
Precious Redeemer and friend
Who would have thought that a lamb could
Rescue the souls of men
Oh, You rescue the souls of men

Counselor, Comforter, Keeper
Spirit we long to embrace
You offer hope when our hearts have
Hopelessly lost the way
Oh, we hopelessly lost the way…”

-Wonderful, Merciful Savior (Hymn)

 

 

 

Write Where You Are: What does that mean?

First of all, I apologize that I haven’t been a good, consistent blogger lately. I’m going to re-commit to putting out something-even if it’s short, or not the best-several times a week. At this point, I’m also kind of wanting to refocus on the purpose of this journey in writing. While I’ll be looking for a little bit more of a cohesive feel to future posts in terms of format, at least, I still plan to write about whatever strikes me at the time. Here’s why.

My site is called “Write Where You Are,” for a reason. I know it seems like a cop-out—like—oh she can just write anything on here if she calls it that. And that is sort of the point. But it actually has always been very intentional, to the point of HEY, I am NOT one thing.  YOU aren’t either. For another good post on this topic, and just a good blog, check out my friend Corinne over at: https://owanderingfolk.wordpress.com/

Here’s the thing, for me anyway. I could write on my description that I’m a  “homemaker,  wife and mom,” which I am. But if that’s my “theme,” then that shapes the whole impression  people have of me, the way I look at myself, even. And I’m not really aspiring  to define myself only by those terms, as noble as they are (also I totally suck at laundry, among other household tasks). Or I could say, “I am an academic, a bookish old soul and introvert.” Also somewhat true, but that’s not me completely either (although that sounds like someone who would own a rockin’ tweed jacket, which is on my bucket list. Elbow patches please.)  There’s the good girl who never got grounded, never had a rebellious phase, did everything I was supposed to do, in the right order. Those are all ideals, categories I sort of aspire to fill, but not really me.

Hey, then there are my failures: there’s the flake that I can come across as a lot of times, who never knows what to say in person, who gets flustered easily in uncomfortable situations and breaks virtually any nearby technology with a single glance. There’s the temper most people don’t know I have. There’s the part of me that always feels like an imposter, not good enough. There’s the part of me that’s a selfish brat. The part of me that’s incapable of understanding certain concepts or remembering to do certain things.

 Or-to be a super-confusing person-I could label myself as happily, productively, ADD. I could reference the silly, extroverted  Zumba instructor that I am several nights a week, or I could place my identity in the fact that a lot of times I dance and sing like a crazy person in my house to Bollywood while being a multi-tasking hoodlum and caffeine junky. Did you know Gilmore Girls is my favorite show? Because it is. Oh yeah, I’m a health freak by the way….BUT I also love cheese and red velvet cake.

I could call this a “Christian blog,” but I feel that would be unnecessary, too (and maybe a let down for the theological blog-readers out there). Because my content is everywhere, and my faith infiltrates my perspectives– my hope would be that my faith is transparent here, regardless of topic.

You get the point? I feel as though any label I could choose would be, to some degree, counterfeit in its simplicity, it’s in-completeness. I feel like that’s unavoidable for social media like Facebook, but no, not on my blog.

Here’s the other thing–Really I started writing more when I was heavily grieving the loss of my mom in 2013. I guess I found it necessarily to somehow bring together the part of me that people saw on a daily basis (the one who could function and teach and smile) and the part of me that frequently screamed at the top of my lungs in empty parking lots because I couldn’t handle the stuff my heart was feeling. Writing became a way to discover about grief and love and the reality of the way that the world-and you-grows over these ugly wounds to make something new. I tried to be honest, and I shocked some people I think, because my voice is most real in these typed words….much more real than the little voice people hear when they speak with me.

So here’s my angle: We spend enough of our lives worrying about fitting into boxes and not enough of them finding our voice. Really, that’s what I want “Write Where You Are” to be about. It’s a one-woman stand against turning labels into restrictions…Because the temptation to fall into a category is very high-pressure. More than that, it’s my way of finding my voice, and maybe encouraging others to do the same.

Ultimately,  you not one thing; I am not one thing.   You can be smart and a flake. You can be hilarious, fun and depressed. You can be an introvert who’s good at fake extrovert-ing.  You can be the cool person who is a big nerd on the inside. Or the nerd who is a cool person on the inside. You can be a loving husband or wife and let down the person who cares about you the most. You can be a good friend who forgets to do the stuff good friends always do. You can doubt and have faith. You can be in pain and be full of joy.

You are much more than each category, or the sum of their parts, or even the differences between them. And that voice that represents the real you, when and if you can find it, is worth putting to paper. The best way to start is simply to write where you are.

 

#NoFilter…The Facebook Evolution

No Filter Facebook

Let’s talk about social media, in particular Facebook.

Usually when people talk about Facebook they do so with emphasis on the fact  that social media gives you the ability to redefine yourself or create an entirely new identity altogether. They talk about how you can post statuses or that say what you want people to know about your life-maybe it’s flawless or maybe it’s quirky or angst-ridden or hipster. Whatever view of yourself you’d like to promote, you can do it with little effort.  If you use Facebook (actively), you do this. I do this. Regardless of whether or not it’s deliberate, it is inevitable: you can’t see a whole life from a single, subjective perspective. Continue reading “#NoFilter…The Facebook Evolution”

7 Things to See in London on a Budget!

This is a re-post from my former blog. I wrote it last spring for some friends who were going to London and asked what they should see while there. When I studied in Oxford in 2010, I was fortunate to go on day trips to London several times—It’s my favorite city! As a traveling student, my money was very tight while there, so many of the things I did were free or inexpensive.  So I present to you, 7 things to do in London on a Budget.  I’m in no way a London expert, so this list is in no way comprehensive…if you see item 7, it’s pretty self-explanatory that way. Continue reading “7 Things to See in London on a Budget!”

Disney’s Cinderella Remake: Re-discovering Strength in a Manic- Pixie- Warrior World

By: Katie Gustafson

As a lifetime fairy-tale lover, I must confess to also being something of a Disney addict.  That being said, of all the classic Disney fairy-tale princesses, Cinderella has always been my least favorite. Sure, all the female heroines were a bit cookie-cutter in those early days, but the others seemed to have something about them to make them stand out.  Snow White was the original cheer-bringer that Walt pulled out of the bag.  In Sleeping Beauty, Aurora’s haunting voice and stylistic animation made her seem elegant and mysterious. In the 1990s and 2000s, Disney princesses got more exciting. At first they branched out the princess 5729914247_187ff70840_ocharacters with Belle, Jasmine and Ariel, who managed to still be princess-y while also instilling independence, a little rebellion and “girl power” to a rising generation.  The new millennium princesses, perhaps beginning with Mulan and being followed by others like Tiana, Merida, Elsa, Anna (ect) introduced an even more three-dimensional portrait of a heroine to young audiences.  These new princesses were more like real girls, ones you would want to be BFFs with: sweet, spazzy and flawed enough to be relatable.  Cinderella just kind of disappears in the crowd of these newer, more exciting leading ladies. Continue reading “Disney’s Cinderella Remake: Re-discovering Strength in a Manic- Pixie- Warrior World”

AMWAM Review of Into the Woods

Into the Woods (2014)

Rating: PG

Run-time/Review Word Count: 124 Minutes/Words

Review: Fans of the original Broadway production and those who are familiar with  Brothers Grimm will likely find themselves spellbound, while some who are expecting Enchanted (2007) may be troubled by the dark themes of the musical. That being said, Disney did highlight the happier events at the beginning of the story (with some effect on pacing) as well as the moral of the film ( “be careful what you wish for”) in a way makes it more family –friendly than the stage show. The film’s visual beauty, superb music, and fantastic acting (MERYL) make it a must see for anyone who appreciates a little fantasy and drama.  Warning: The repeating melodies will be stuck in your head, but the complicated lyrics may leave you tongue-tied.

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AMWAM Review of Magic in the Moonlight

Magic in the Moonlight (2014)

Rating: PG-13

Run-time/Word Count: 97 Minutes/Words

Review: Which is most charming: the timeless Colin Firth, the fresh and vibrant Emma MV5BMTQ3NDY5NjIwN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjQ2ODkxMjE@._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_AL_Stone, or a French-country setting in the 1920s? It’s hard call to make in this classically whimsical Woody Allen film. Luckily, the three complement each other in a way that is…well…charming. Magic in the Moonlight is listed as a “romantic comedy,” but it doesn’t quite fit into that genre. If you’re expecting “chick flick” then you might be disappointed. However, it is magical, eccentric and refreshing…Sort of like you went to a Gatsby party but knew when to leave. Frankly? I loved it.