Mom called: “Come over and get your Christmas present. It’s green,” adding a bemused half laugh to her statement.
I laughed as well. She always gives us a check so we can buy want we want.
Apparently this year green took on a new meaning. It was quite literal.
Mom decided the little palm tree plant that had fit so perfectly in the corner of her living room had outgrown its decorative touch.
What does one do with a largish palm tree plant that is unexpectedly gifted? Decorate it for Christmas, of course.
If we still have it by Easter we will be ready for Palm Sunday.
What would the Resurrection story be like from a weary Roman tribune’s point of view? From a hardened soldier whose main aspiration is to gain power in order to retire to the country to find peace, to live a day without death?
This is the premise of Risen, which came out in 2016, featuring Joeseph Fiennes and Peter Firth. Most, if not all of the Easter films I have watched, focus on events leading up to the crucifixion. Risen starts afterwards, beginning with a convincing skirmish with Roman soldiers and the released Barrabbas.
Clavius, a career Roman soldier, played by Joseph Fiennes, is the one who is sent by Pilate to speed things up, to end the “rabble” noise. Clavius does so by going to the site of the three crucifixions taking place. He orders two of the three to have their legs broken, which painfully quickens the already excruciating death on the cross. As the third victim is about to suffer the same, Clavius notices a group of women weeping, and learns it is the mother. This is where the audience sees beyond the tough exterior of this Roman soldier, setting up the film. Clavius instead orders the pilium, and the suffering ends immediately with the swift piercing.
From this point on Clavius remains involved with this man’s death. He is sent to have the tomb sealed, and when the body vanishes, he becomes a dectective trying to solve the mystery. This is a brilliant, if not unique way, to present the Resurrection story.
As Clavius, Joseph Fiennes, projects a weariness from his 25 years of soldiering, that begins to soften his judgement, yet his professional training remains intact. As Clavius searches for the missing Yeshua, he begins to find truths that he cannot reconcile with what he knows, and this truth changes him as searches for answers.
Having watched the Easter films of the past, The Robe through The Greatest Story Ever Told, and even The Passion of Christ, I was at first reluctant to watch yet another film about a story I knew so well, that whenever I watched a retelling my emotions absolutely pulverized me: joy, awe, anger, devestation, exultation. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go through it all once again, even though the story is ultimately uplifting. Risen, having now twice watched it, creates a sense of wonder, a sense of satsfaction, one of peace.
Joseph Fiennes brings his polished acting skills to the role, providing subtley to his part. A sigh, a flick of an eyelid, a wary side look, a folding of arms all say so much when he says so little. This Roman, this Clavius, is a man of action, one of precise movement and logic, yet events he becomes involved in as he searches for Yeshua at Pilate’s demand, renders him watchful, cautious, and we see him slowly transform as he realizes he will never be the same.
I appreciate Sony’s dedication to producing intelligent, thought-provoking family films that take on inspirational subjects. The stories are well-written, finely directed, and showcase notable actors. Most find their way to the theatre circuit and do well, which sends the message that family entertainment with a message is valued.
He is risen, and I hope you and yours embrace this season of wonders.
February briefly held the promise of winter ending and spring arriving. I even had grass in the backyard. Lilac buds. I felt victorious.
Twelve inches of snow later, winter is rebooted. Pardon me while I emit a primal yawp. *YErrrgggh*
My go to option for dealing with this surfeit of snow is to make frequent dashes to the library. Much more fulfilling than dark chocolate. Well, a book lasts longer.
Once again, a fair mix of TBR, recommends, reviews, and discoveries.
First love sometimes feels like it will be the only love. Ever. Rainbow Rowell describes the intensity of that special love through the wondrous tale of Eleanor and Park, two misfits who are perfect fits for each other.
The teaser beginning serves to entice readers to continue reading because there are hints of a tragedy brewing, and as the plot heats up, along with Park and Eleanor’s relationship, a person just has to know how it will all turn out. That makes this a gotta-read -it-in-one-sitting book.
And that’s good writing.
Would have been a fiver, yet the cruelty seemed too much at times for believability.
Reminiscent of Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, without the profanity and drama.
I remember the drop under the desk drills in elementary schools. We shivered, crouched like little frogs, not understanding the why of it. As we grew older we felt that nudging threat of the Cold War. Pat Frank’s post apocalyptic novel tentatively answers that concern.
Published in 1959, Frank’s novel prepared readers what happens to civilization after the bomb, in this case, the bombs have dropped. The author’s varied background as government consultant and journalist provides a verisimilitude that is more than believable, it is at times dismaying, yet mostly inspiring. He provides a clear-sighted hopefulness that the human race will continue even when faced with having to start over.
Even though the story takes place in the fifties, it rings too close to the present to be dismissed as being anachronistic. Alas, Babylon is a guidebook to keep on the shelf.
Major Pettigrew, full of old English practicalities at the spry age of 68, contends with several inconveniences as he contemplates his remaining days. One irritant is dealing with the village’s gossipy ladies as his friendship with the attractive widow Mrs Ali changes course. For all their supposed openness the people in his life, including his son Roger, can’t fathom how the major could possibly be interested in this foreign shop keeper.
An endearing character, Major Pettigrew is full of wry quips and commentary as he deals with breaking from expectations and unexpectedly finds love. For those who loved A Man Called Ove, make room for another lovable git.
Hollywood portrays CIA agents as full of action, intense swagger, and having a dedicated skill set. CIA agent Michele Rigby Assad provides a truer portrait in her memoir, Breaking Cover. Her frank, engaging story emphasizes how much time is spent gathering reliable intel and creating a trustworthy network. Car chases and fiery shootouts aren’t mentioned, although trying to survive searing desert heat and daily bombings lend a gritty authenticity. Assad outlines the process of becoming an agent as well as highlights some of her tours in the Middle East. While her tours might not be the stuff of Hollywood, she relates plenty of intense episodes of needing to be the best of her abilities. The fact that she and her husband both worked as agents and are dedicated Christians heightened the overall interest of her time spent in counterterrorism.
The second half of her book brings in the subtitle: My Life in the CIA and What It Taught Me about What’s Worth Fighting For. Having left the CIA, Michele and her Egyptian immigrant husband Joseph became international security consultants. The larger part of this section involves their work with relocating displaced Iraqi Christians (featured as an ABC 20/20 special). Assad’s passion and faith especially comes through as she fought to find a safe refuge for a people under persecution.
Overall, the memoir comes across as genuine and inspiring, and while it’s understandable there might have been restrictions on how much detail she could divulge of her CIA experience, it would have added more to her memoir to have further experiences about being married agents, definitely a unique perspective.
Disclaimer: Tyndale House Publishers provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What titles are keeping you warm this winter?
Dear Left Hand:
Due to unforeseen circumstances, you have undoubtedly noticed the extra workload and overtime you've been having to cope with these last few days.
Management appreciates your willing attitude and unexpected diversity, if not ingenuity, in approaching situations your aptitude and abilities have previously not necessarily
prepared you to encounter.
Recently it was noted you coped well in the following situations:
And this last one we found extraordinary:
Teaching a child how to darn her sock in order to uphold a commitment made prior to the stated unfortunate circumstance.
While the everyday and mundane tasks of personal hygiene maintenance and meal sustenance were expected, management appreciates the fortitude and perseverance shown in recent days.
At present it is not known when immediate relief from present duties will be expected nor the return of right hand's full capacity. Therefore, we encourage you to persevere and carry on, continuing appreciated efforts until further notice.
“I would rather have a hard copy, if that’s okay.” This is from a new AP recruit wanting the summer reading text How to read Literature Like a Professor in book format rather than the PDF version I found on-line. Curious, I asked why. Her response? She had difficulty connecting with the on-screen type. Not what I expected from eyes way younger than mine. I, of course spout off about how much I prefer hard copies to e-copies as well because of my need to connect sensory-wise and as I’m talking, I’m flipping pages and smelling them and listening to them and when I finally notice my student nodding and edging toward the door, like she’d really like to leave because I’m a looney lady (more than one student has commented on me being a bit crazy), I hand over the book and wish her a great summer.
I am a looney lady when it comes to books–hence the Book Booster thing I do. Books aren’t just a pasttime or a channel of information, they are an introduction. Ahem, a new quote from moi:
Beyond making a new friend, there is joy, a celebration of the senses holding a book in hand. I’m talking honest to goodness REAL paper-in-hand book. I do so enjoy paper, maybe that’s why I always answer “paper” instead of “plastic” at the store. Perhaps it’s because paper comes from trees and trees come from the earth and holding a book bound in paper produces more connection to the world around me. I have little or no sensory connection to my plastic e-reader even though it’s a book in hand. Oh oh–I feel the looney lady coming on and before I go on about trees, books and their connection to the world and mankind, here is my list of reasons for preferring a book of paper when reading:
1. Smell: that inky pungency stimulates my imagination to anticipation
2. Hearing: the flip-swish of pages signifies my involvement and commitment and helps me to further escape
3. Taste: no, I don’t lick the book, but reading a paper book whets my appetite for setting aside time to open up the pages to fall into another time, another place, another person’s story
4. Touch: there has got to be a study out there concerning the connection between the tactile aspect of reading and brain synapse when communing with a book–I am so much more involved when I am holding the book instead of just listening to it by audio or thumbing up a new screen. Think about this: glass does not conduct electricity, which means no synapse boost. Plus, when I see my book lying on the bed, table, chair it beckons me to pick it up, so there must be a some kind of magnetism involved.
5. Visual: perhaps the most notable because of the cover has all those colors and interesting bits to feed my eyes and mind, and then, of course, there all those illustrations and photographs and drawings sometimes waiting inside.
I’ve shown this video before, yet it definitely illustrates the visual appeal of books.
Reading is definitely a sensory experience for me. What about you? Paper or plastic?