Monday, April 20, 2015

Going Public


Yesterday I watched, via You Tube, a question and answer session with Donald Miller, an author whom I happen to admire, concerning a blog post he had made over a year ago. (By the way, that's a picture of me up there at the top of this post, not Donald.)

He was talking about his own thought process behind a statement he made regarding organized religion in America.

To me, the whole point of the conversation wasn't even about what he felt on the subject. Rather, it was the hailstorm of criticism he received from it. He said he wished, in hindsight, that he had thought it through a little more before going public, to include additional background on how he came up with the content of his post. To put the post in context, so to speak.

I am no Donald Miller. I'm not famous by any means; but, having written a book that's gotten about 30 ratings and 20 reviews, I could still identify with Miller's dilemma concerning what it means to go public - to put your thoughts out there for others, (who probably don't know you), to see.

It can be a humbling experience. Until the invention of blogging in all its forms, this area of life wasn't a concern. If ten people outside of your own family knew your opinion on something, that was saying a lot. Nowadays, that's just the tip of things. Potentially hundreds of folks could know what you're thinking if you choose to post your thoughts.

When you think about it, the whole business of writing is done privately for the most part. No one was with me when I wrote 20 Short Ones. It was a ton of fun, but it was a solitary activity. It also involved a lot of thought and decision-making, especially in regards to how much of my own life do I put down on the page?

After the editing process was completed and the book was published, I began to realize just how public this private work had become. The book had taken me across a very scary bridge - from private thought to public consumption of it. So far it's been very, very rewarding. But Donald Miller's experience has shown me, no matter how hard you try, there is always the potential for misinterpretation.

I commend him for handling the situation with grace. In the end, whether we share our thoughts publicly or not, isn't that what we all need?

Monday, April 6, 2015

Road Trip to Vassar

The day before Easter I spontaneously got in my car and drove about 3 hours to Vassar, MI.

The motivation came from the fact that the Vassar Theatre was the only movie house left in the U.S. that was showing the film, Old Fashioned. I'd seen the film before, and it's a great one. So that, mixed with the fact that I love supporting indie, faith-based films, and it was a perfect spring day combined to get my travel bug going.

So, off I went.

The film follows the relationship of Clay and Amber. Two very different people, and how faith causes their friendship with each other and with God to grow. It's also about redemption and chivalry and mercy and grace told in the context of honest friendships.

Along the way there, I was listening to a bunch of CDs. Among them Sarah Masen's "The Dreamlife of Angels." One song, in particular spoke to me. It's called Girl on Fire:

I think we're coming to a standstill
I think you're magic, with your strong will
But this is love and not justice

He's hurting everything he touches
You cannot carry what he clutches
He needs a mother and confession
And he does not tell you - you are precious

Well how about some peace and honesty
Some hard-core love and charity
A sense that you are family
You are a precious girl on fire

I think we're coming to a standstill
I think you're magic with your strong will
But this is love and not justice

He's hurting everything he touches
You cannot carry what he clutches
He needs a father and some healing

And he forgets his own words

Well how about some love and charity
A sense that you are family
I'd like to help but you're on fire

How about respect and dignity
Some hard-core hope and clarity
You are a precious girl on fire

And there is so much in forgiveness
But he is sticking to his business

How about some love and charity
A sense that you are family
You are a precious girl on fire

You are a careful mystery
Not someone's sweet commodity
You are a precious girl on fire

The part of this song that spoke to me the most was its call for love, charity, dignity, family and forgiveness.

Towards the end of Old Fashioned, there's a scene where Clay is with his Aunt Zella (a very wise senior citizen). He's there because he needs a shoulder  to cry on (because he's having a hard time accepting the fact that he's good enough for Amber). Basically, Aunt Zella doesn't offer her shoulder. In fact she chides Clay and tells him to quit being so self-righteous. She tells him, "There is no virtue without forgiveness."  (You should also know that she encourages him, very strongly, to go after Amber).

It all sounds so easy, doesn't it? But how many of us, myself included, go around thinking less of ourselves that God does? And we think it's somehow holy. But it isn't. The simple truth is, none of us is worthy, or without blemish (sin), but the astounding fact is, God loves us anyway, because in God's eyes, we are precious.

Girl on Fire

Friday, March 27, 2015

Sunshine on a Friday

When I started this blog last year, I came up with the name Lifesomethings.

The whole idea was to celebrate, on purpose, some of the "little" things in life. Along the way I've stepped off that path a few times, but mainly, that's the intent.

For instance, right at this moment, as I'm writing these words, the sun is shining brilliantly across a late March sky in Michigan. Beautiful!

Earlier this week I noticed that the robins are back from their winter stay down south. Other warblers have returned as well. It's so pleasant listening to them while going on a daily walk. It makes the few miles go by much quicker, and makes it infinitely more interesting to be outside. Beautiful.

Over the past two months or so, I've done some sprucing up painting in almost every room of my house. I can't believe how far a little coat of paint goes in polishing up the appearance of my home. Beautiful.

Earlier this week I had lunch with a dear friend I've known for years through my former employer. We sat and chatted in a small Mexican restaurant, both having rice, beans and a side of guacamole. We were able to enjoy each other's company without the pressure (on my part) of having to get back to work. Beautiful.

Speaking of former employers, I've been officially retired since December but stayed on for another month to help with the transition of me leaving. Since that time two Social Security checks have come my way. It's so refreshing to get up each morning not with the idea of getting to work to rouse me but a sense of what adventure the day will bring. Beautiful.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Five Reasons to See Old Fashioned

I don't normally promote films, but the indie film, Old Fashioned, is so good it deserves all of the attention anyone can give it.

It's about a guy (Clay) and girl (Amber) and the beginnings of their relationship. What makes their story unique is that it's told from a faith-filled (Christian) perspective. Here are five reasons why I encourage you to check it out:

1. The production values are superb. A lot of Christian films just don't hold up to industry standards. This one does.
2. The acting is exquisitely done.  Kudos to every cast member.
3. The script is spectacular. You can't have a good film without a great script and Old Fashioned has it.
4. It's probably playing in your own backyard. You can check out theatre locations via the website for Old Fashioned.
5. How often do you get a chance to support excellent entertainment in a public format that honors God?

Please click on the link below, and check out the trailer. If the trailer captures your interest, chances are the film will capture your heart as well!

Trailer for Old Fashioned

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Another Plug for "Old Fashioned"

So, here's another plug for the indie film, "Old Fashioned." It's playing at the Celebration Cinema Rivertown (southwest of Grand Rapids) and other, selected theaters.

I'm really encouraging folks to see this film because it's an indie one - and is up against Hollywood-type competitors who have massive advertising budgets. So it's extremely important to see it, and then spread the word!

It's a well made, beautifully crafted film with an enchanting, and refreshing take on relationships.
Here's the trailer.

Old Fashioned - Trailer

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Old Fashioned - The Movie

There's a film out that premiered over Valentine's Weekend.

Old Fashioned is simply one of the most endearing independent films I've ever seen. It's refreshing in it's portrayal of a guy who actually stands up for respecting women. Enough so that he actively resists the female lead's romantic advances, steering their fledging relationship along the lines of getting to know each other as two individuals first. In fact, the male lead doesn't believe in dating, at all.

If this sounds corny or simplistic or overly-preachy, I assure you. It's not. Old Fashioned states the case for getting to know someone for who they are in an intensely interesting, thought-provoking and challenging way - all the time being romantic without being blatant about it.

Maybe I just don't see enough films, but it's been a very, very long time since one came along like this one.

Kudos to everyone involved!

Please don't take my word for it. Check out the movie site for yourself.

Old Fashioned: The Movie

Sunday, February 15, 2015

New 20 Short Ones Video!


This is my first 20 Short Ones video! I hope you enjoy it.
And speaking of 20 Short Ones, you can enter a Goodreads giveaway to win a free copy, now through April 1.