Sunday, July 21, 2013

Big-Hearted: Inspiring Stories from Everyday Families

by Patti Maguire Armstrong and Theresa Thomas
New Rochelle, NY: Scepter Publishers, 2013

Patti Maguire Armstrong and Theresa Thomas, who previously paired up to write and compile the wonderful “Stories for the Homeschool Heart,” have now come together to create “Big-Hearted: Inspiring Stories from Everyday Families.”  

What makes a family big-hearted? It is a spirit of generosity with a focus on putting God first. “The families in this book [share] the goal of striving to put God first, of trying to love well.” The authors encourage those who want to have big-hearted families to “sacrifice much. Choose God’s will. Love profusely. Be big-hearted. And then see how our almighty God, who is the same now as always, blesses you again and again.”

Armstrong and Thomas share their own experiences of being part of big-hearted families growing up and then creating their own version of such a family once they married and began to have children. This is not a two women project, however. Many other voices weigh in and share powerful, and sometimes difficult stories, of the struggle to love generously and be open to life. 

Thomas Mahala shares his story of fearing having a child with Down Syndrome. When his 8th child and first daughter after seven sons was born with an extra chromosome, he struggled to love her, but with time and God’s grace, that love came. Calvin Bader shares he and his wife’s struggle with infertility and how they became foster and adoptive parents. DeeAnn Smith writes of her struggles with alcoholism and what it meant to have the unconditional love of her children as she worked to get well. Jeffery Gross highlights the life of his son who was born with cystic fibrosis and who also suffered from muscular dystrophy. Sherry Antonetti focuses on the adventure of taking a trip with ten children. 

Light-hearted stories balance heart-wrenching ones, but each of the families featured in the pages of “Big-Hearted” have something to teach all of us about the power of love and the importance of putting God first in our family life.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Movie Review: The Lone Ranger - PG13

Many of us know the story of the Lone Ranger and a kid, I enjoyed Clayton Moore's Lone Ranger.  This version provides the history of the Lone Ranger and his association with Tonto.  

During most of the story, I was concerned with Armie Hammer's Lone Ranger being too weak, but he eventually realizes the necessity of achieving justice.  

There is plenty of action, some of it pretty implausible.  The last 20 or 30 minutes has too much distracts from the story.

  I expected Johnny Depp's Tonto to outshine Armie Hammer's Lone Ranger, but they were careful to not to bury the character of the Lone Ranger...they kept him the main focus of the story.  

Content warning: the outlaw they are pursuing is a cannibal, and that is insinuated in one scene.   

Overall, a pretty entertaining version of the Lone Ranger story.

Movie Review: White House Down - PG13

John Cale (Channing Tatum) was turned down after his interview with the Secret Service, and doesn't know how to break the news to his daughter, who is also on a White House tour with him when a mercenary group takes over the White House.   Because he is there and caught in the middle, it is now up to Cale to rescue  both his daughter and President Sawyer (Jamie Foxx).  

The story is pretty well written, with a couple of unexpected twists making it more than just an action movie.  

The last 20 or 30 minutes puts a somewhat negative end to it, with too many explosions and a very implausible scene with someone waving off an Air Force mission by waving a flag.

 It was pretty entertaining for an action movie, but the ending could have been better.