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Connie : Bweinh!

One Hundred Words (46)

02/19/2009, 9:32 am -- by | No Comments

Octuplet mom: my thoughts?

She’s had six pregnancies (like me) through in vitro (unlike me) where she was implanted with six embryos (unlike me) because she wouldn\’t kill them (like me). Four single births, twins the fifth time, and then two sets of twins and four singles.

She doesn\’t have the resources of, say, Angelina, so she’s criticized. Well, when you’re asking society to pay for your family, we get a say in the size. And I don’t like how she uses her mother as a slave nanny!

In the end, just love your babies and they\’ll be fine.

–CSM

The Shack

02/6/2009, 12:00 am -- by | No Comments

I really enjoyed this book. I picked it up after a hearty recommendation from my pastor — which was both surprising and intriguing. After two of my sons reported that they both liked it, I was able to catch up with it after the busy holidays.

It has been a bit misrepresented to the public at large, though. I\’ve seen it at Target, in Wal-Mart, and on airport shelves, and every time it looks just like any other creepy novel that I’d pass over. And so I fear that those who pick it up may not be equipped to deal with the issues it uncovers. Maybe its uber-hip interpretations of the Trinity are absolutely spot on, but some of the philosophies that came along for the ride made my head spin. I can\’t imagine what they\’d do to a non-Christian — which is why I passed my copy along to a co-worker, with whom I’ll be eager to discuss it.

It’s a story about a Christian man who faces unforeseen tragedy while camping with his family, and a fruitless search that eventually leads him to an abandoned, dilapidated shack in the wilderness. Despair, a ‘Great Sadness’ in his words, settles on his sleepwalking soul for many years, until one day he gets a note, asking him to meet someone at that shack. Is it the killer? Could it be God? And would he really want to go either way?

I\’ve worked in deliverance ministry for over 10 years now, and I can tell you: there is nothing better than seeing people set free from old wounds. It\’s absolutely wonderful. My hope is that enough groundwork is laid in the book to draw people to Jesus, so that they can come to understand His deliverance. I wish that more churches went directly from salvation to deliverance ministry — in our church we\’re trying. This book is an excellent catalyst to get people thinking about the lingering chains from their past.

So overall, I heartily recommend The Shack. The bottom line isn\’t the presentation of the Trinity, or all that fluffy fill. The lesson is forgiveness, serious forgiveness. In order to be forgiven, we must forgive, even forgive the hardest person in the world. God will take care of the judgment; all we need to do is release the one who harmed us, and let Christ’s blood come and cleanse us. Glory! There’s no feeling like walking free of the Great Sadness. We weren\’t made to walk around like that.

Christmas Auld Lang Syne

12/23/2008, 4:00 pm -- by | 1 Comment

The last in the series from Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas.

From More Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas by Ace Collins:

Auld Lang Syne is one of the most familiar songs in the world. But this traditional New Year\’s Eve anthem wasn\’t even considered a holiday song until Dec 31, 1929. That night Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians played it at a huge celebration at NYC\’s Waldorf Astoria, complete with a radio link that beamed them across the nation. Just before ringing out the old year, he picked up his baton and launched into this number, and suddenly millions of Americans had the mistaken impression that Scottish poet Robert Burns had penned it just to welcome in the New Year.

It was probably chosen as the lead-up to the countdown because of the nation\’s dark mood. The stock market had crashed and the economy was in a shambles. Fortunes had been lost, people were out of work, and no one seemed able to stop the country\’s descent into a great depression. For Lombardo, a song that embraced the value and importance of friendships over worldly possessions seemed a perfect way to look back and find good things in a very bad year, while looking forward to the new decade that offered more hope. Sounds too familiar, doesn\’t it?

Elements of the original poem can be traced back to the 1500s, and a 1694 publication called Scotch Presbyterian Eloquence Display\’d, which quoted a sermon. In this Sunday morning homily, God said: “Jonah, now billy Jonah, wilt thou go to Nineveh, for Auld lang syne (old kindness).” Its subsequent reworking kept it mostly in the pubs for the next few hundred years, but about 30 years after Lombardo’s performance, Frank Military took another look at the song and took it in another direction — something that expressed the birth of Christ as a “yuletide valentine.” He built on the theme of ultimate love and told a story not just of trees and toys, but of answered prayers. In this version, cheer was not found in a drink, but in the spirit of those who knew the real meaning of the holiday.

More than 200 years ago, Robert Burns reworked an old Scottish poem about love and friendship into a song that evoked a longing for days gone by. A century and a half later, Guy Lombardo took that song and through its lucky placement on a set list, made it into a New Year\’s Eve tradition. But it would be Frank Military who would rework the lyrics again, shaping them back into a love song. Not earthly love this time, but rather a spiritual love that started before time began, was realized in a manger, and will live on forever.

When mistletoe and tinsel glow
Paint a yuletide valentine
Back home I go to those I know
For a Christmas auld lang syne

And as we gather ’round the tree
Our voices all combine
In sweet accord to thank our Lord
For a Christmas auld lang syne

When sleigh bells ring and choirs sing
And the children’s faces shine
With each new toy we share their joy
With a Christmas auld lang syne

We sing His praise this day of days
And pray next year this time
We’ll all be near to share the cheer
Of a Christmas auld lang syne

In sweet accord to thank our Lord
For a Christmas auld lang syne

It Wasn’t His Child

12/17/2008, 2:30 pm -- by | No Comments

The next in the series from Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas.

In 1987, Skip Ewing was living in Nashville, trying to make a name for himself, when he found himself home for Christmas, despondent over his imperfect family situation. He thought about the first Christmas family, and specifically Joseph\’s role, and realized that it hadn’t been the perfect family situation either.

Joseph had to watch Jesus’ birth and raise Him as his own son, even though He wasn’t. In a way, this was even more significant than if Jesus had been Joseph’s own child. Joseph was a role model for Jesus — love and acceptance flowed to Him from this man. “Even though Jesus was as spiritual as He was, He still must have grown and been given such wonderful gifts from both of his earthly parents.”

The song Ewing wrote as a result became one of only two legitimate country Christmas classics (the other is Rudolph). And he used an unresolved chord at the end of the song to signify that this story goes on, a never-ending pursuit for all of us. “It is what Jesus brought to earth, what God revealed in Him, and what Joseph stood for as both a husband and a father.”

Give a listen to this song. Don\’t get caught up in thoughts about how “perfect” your family should be this Christmas. Look to God for your contentment and satisfaction; maybe you\’ll write the next classic.

He was her man and she was his wife
And late one winter night
He knelt by her as she gave birth
But it wasn’t his child, it wasn’t his child

Yet still he took Him as his own
And as he watched Him grow
It brought him joy, he loved that boy
But it wasn’t his child, it wasn’t his child

And like a father, he was strong and kind and good
And I believe he did his best
It wasn’t easy for him, but he did all he could
His son was different from the rest
It wasn’t his child, it wasn’t his child

And when the boy became a man
He took his father’s hand
And soon the world would all know why
It wasn’t his child, it wasn’t his child

And like His father, He was strong and kind and good
And I believe He did His best
It wasn’t easy for Him, but He did all He could
He grew up with His hands in wood
And He died with His hands in wood
He was God’s child, He was God’s child

He was her man, she was his wife
And late one winter night
He knelt by her as she gave birth
But it wasn’t his child; it was God’s child

© 1987 SONY/ATV ACUFF ROSE MUSIC and WRITE ON MUSIC

Bweinh! Goes to the Movies — Four Christmases

12/11/2008, 2:00 pm -- by | 1 Comment

I went to the movies with my girls last week over Thanksgiving break, and we saw Four Christmases, the latest (with Fred Claus) in the ongoing series of Vince Vaughn holiday movies. Maybe he\’s trying to corner Christmas the way Will Smith has hijacked the Fourth of July.

Anyway, I was hoping to like it — really, I was — but there was just something off. I sensed no onscreen chemistry between the two stars; as a matter of fact, they did not appear to fit together at all. Maybe it\’s that I just don\’t care for Vaughn, but imagine Bob Hope and Lucille Ball in It\’s a Wonderful Life, and you might get a sense of how uncomfortable I felt.

The plot was sadly relevant and timely, I suppose. I like to enjoy holiday movies, though; having to watch the protagonists visit four sets of parents, the aftermath of two divorces and remarriages, is not exactly something to warm the heart. And then! To have them ALL be completely dysfunctional, even dangerous, was just too much to swallow.

And the story? Predictable and boring. Slapstick has never appealed to me; I prefer depth and an actual storyline for my characters to explore. These two looked like they were just counting down the minutes until they could get to the end of the movie and go home. Funny, I know exactly how they felt…

It gets a 3 out of 7 on the Bweinh! scale: a hearty Eh!

Here Comes Santa Claus

12/10/2008, 9:30 am -- by | No Comments

For those of you fed up with Christmas commercialism, I\’d like to take you back to a simpler time, a nicer time — when songwriters knew how to keep things in perspective.

I recently ordered a book on the stories behind the songs of Christmas. While I was perusing the titles, I was shocked by some of them. But after all, the cover did promise I\’d discover a “deeper appreciation for these melodic messages of peace, hope and joy that celebrate THE BIRTH OF JESUS.”

And so I present Here Comes Santa Claus (w/m Autry/Haldeman):

Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus,
Riding down Santa Claus Lane.
He doesn’t care if you’re a rich or poor boy,
He loves you just the same.
Santa knows that we’re God’s children,
That makes everything right.
Fill your hearts with Christmas cheer,
’cause Santa Claus comes tonight.

Well, here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus,
Riding down Santa Claus Lane.
He’ll come around when the chimes ring out,
It’s Christmas morn again.
Peace on earth will come to all
If we just follow the light
Lets give thanks to the Lord above,
’cause Santa Claus comes tonight.

Presidential Haiku Prediction 9

11/3/2008, 6:21 pm -- by | No Comments

If Obama wins,
God’s deserved judgment has come;
if not: His mercy

One Hundred Words (28)

08/14/2008, 10:00 pm -- by | No Comments

What\’s my best memory from the wedding last week? Well, the ceremony was great, the dinner was good, and the reception room looked ama-za-zing. And almost everyone from our families was able to be there, which was very nice.

But for me, the best memory was watching my younger daughter join her father and her sister (the bride) for the father/daughter dance.

The three twirled and swirled a bit, then their dad did a double swing-out to perfection — which I, of course, captured on film. Their smiles were breathtaking and priceless. I think it could cheer up my darkest day.

–CSM

Sunday With Phinnaeus and Vivienne

07/27/2008, 8:00 pm -- by | 7 Comments

Celebrity babies already have one strike against them, being born into a famous family. But far too often, they also get stuck with a completely stupid moniker because their parents have something to prove to the world.

My daughter Rose and I first noticed this phenomenon with Apple Paltrow: we thought it was just a quirk. But then the Julia Roberts twins, Hazel and Phinnaeus, arrived, and the momentum started building. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes named their daughter Suri, a choice panned by the baby name experts on the Today Show. Next came the Jolie-Pitt twins, with the boy named Knox. Really? Knox Pitt? Did anyone realize his initials would be KP? And his sister\’s name is Vivienne. That\’s a name that hasn\’t been used in decades, since — oh, I don\’t know — Hazel and I Love Lucy! But at least we recognize Vivienne as a name. Her brother is a gelatin brand.

Now, just a few weeks ago, Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban named their new daughter Sunday. At first I hoped that Keith and Nicole had been misunderstood and had meant to say their daughter\’s name was Sydney Rose, to honor their birth country. We all know how Australian accents can be tricky, and Sunday isn\’t a name; it\’s just a day. But there\’s nothing to be ashamed of — just call up the clerk\’s office and get that change made. It\’s for her own good, trust me. In the meantime, Rose and I will be thinking up better names for the rest of Hollywood\’s newest arrivals.

Bweinh! Goes to the Movies: Wanted

07/16/2008, 2:30 pm -- by | No Comments

I finally got back to the movies to see Wanted — but I was totally disgusted by this piece of cinematic trash. In fact, the only reason I’m writing this review is to apologize to anyone who may have taken my earlier enthusiasm as an endorsement.

I tried researching the movie ahead of time, and thought I’d done my homework, but we were still unprepared for the auditory bombardment that hit us. After only five minutes, I whispered to my husband about the possibility of leaving. If you have seen it, you know why. We have a DVD player at home that blanks out profanity; if we had tried playing this movie on it, at times it would have sounded like a silent film!

We tried to focus on the plot twists and special effects, tuning out the swears, but on the whole, it was a debacle we never plan on repeating. As for the story, in a nutshell, it was borrowed from Star Wars, with a little of The Matrix and 007 thrown in for distraction. Nothing original.

It could have been a good film; instead, it was an embarrassment. That’s how James McAvoy looked throughout the entire thing too: embarrassed. He even used an American accent. Perhaps he didn’t want to be recognized.

I wouldn’t recommend this movie to anyone, unless I get to edit it; as is, it gets no letters on the Bweinh! scale. Go see Kung Fu Panda again instead. I hear that’s good!

One Hundred Words (24)

07/10/2008, 9:00 am -- by | No Comments

Do you know what are amazing? Babies.

I recently learned something stunning from a ministry teaching by Arthur Burke. He cited a secular researcher who discovered a group of adults who had committed suicide on the date their mothers attempted or thought about attempting an abortion when these adults had been babies. They found the connection when they contacted the mothers. Those people apparently had not been suicidal on the days preceding or following this date, only on that specific date. And none of the grown adults knew about their mothers’ abortion plans. Wrap your head around that.

–CSM

Bweinh! Goes to the Movies: Hancock

07/3/2008, 5:38 pm -- by | 2 Comments

I went on a spontaneous date night the other evening to see Wanted, but ended up in an unexpected early showing of Hancock. We’ve all seen the trailers for the reluctant drunken superhero played by Will Smith, and it looked good — so since my movie required waiting an additional hour and had Jolie in it, we opted for Hancock. But I have to say, I kind of wish we had waited for James McAvoy.

July 4 has belonged to Will Smith for years, with his big budget blockbusters that rake in millions (like Independence Day and the Men In Black series), so I didn’t expect this to be any different. But here, Will plays a severely depressed alcoholic superhero, desperately in need of an intervention. Enter Jason Bateman, a small-time PR guy, trying to save the world by doing his part, but not making much headway. Their meeting is one of the highlights of the movie. Jason brings him home for dinner with his wife (Charlize Theron) to show his gratitude, and we’re off.

I like the premise behind Hancock’s powers. For once the writers used imagination, rather than taking the easy path of making him an alien. Thanks for doing a little work. I love the comedic relief Will provides: sometimes you see it coming, other times you just sit back and enjoy the ride. In this movie, you know the bad guys will get their just reward if they don’t listen to him — they make the choice whether to listen.

One of my favorite parts was when he was presented with his new superhero uniform. You don’t actually get to see what it is he says he’ll never wear; you just get to imagine it for a while. I also liked the chemistry between the top three stars. It’s effortless and believable as they transition from strangers to friends. But I think Will could work with a room full of machines or robots and still pull it off. Oh wait — he already did…

But there was more that I didn’t like. The movie was too dark and fragmented. I didn’t like all the cursing (especially by young children) and the violence was outrageous, especially toward the end. I spent a fair amount of time cringing at the noise and sheer brutality of some of the scenes. I have a hard time calling this sort of thing entertainment. It even drained some of my desire to see Wanted, because I’ve heard it’s similarly violent — and Jolie’s in it. Yuck.

But back to Hancock — even though my husband loved it, I must be true to myself and give it only an EINH (B-/C+) on our BWEINH! scale. I’m still down wit’ Will (I’ll see you next July, man), but this film just did not deliver the goods.

Next stay tuned for Wanted, with my main man James McAvoy!

One Hundred Words (21)

06/27/2008, 9:45 am -- by | 1 Comment

“Do not be . . . yoked with unbelievers . . . what communion has light with darkness?”2 Cor 6:14

I heard George Carlin died this week. It was surprising; he was younger than I thought and never a favorite, so I didn’t keep up. I realized I disliked him because I could always hear anger in his humor, even the clean stuff. He seemed an angry, vile, vulgar, dark man who couldn\’t mask that persona. I only hope in his last moments, he saw the light and found seven other words to express himself — “Help me Jesus; save my soul tonight.”

–CSM

Prom

06/17/2008, 10:15 am -- by | 3 Comments

We will dance on the streets that are golden
The glorious bride and the great Son of Man
And every tongue and tribe and nation will join
In the song of the Lamb…

It\’s prom time. Prom — short for promenade — is a graduation-type dance, often celebrated with a meal. You can barely go anywhere right now without hearing about it. Last week we were in a prom frenzy. My youngest daughter\’s dress, ordered in February for elder daughter\’s August wedding, still hadn\’t arrived, and prom was Saturday night.

We drove to the dress shop on Monday and asked for solutions from the owner. He offered her any dress in his shop for free to fill in if hers didn\’t arrive in time — or even if it did. She tried on a dozen and left with a stunning number we never could\’ve afforded. Hers arrived late that Friday and she ended up wearing both, making a change halfway through just for fun.

I remember my older daughter\’s prom three years ago. We didn\’t have the money for a gown that year, but we went looking one day anyway. She tried one on, and said to me, “I think I had a dream about this dress last night.” She was simply transformed when she had it on. We bought it. Later that week, my uncle sent her money for a graduation dress that nearly covered the entire cost.

All this made me start thinking about my own prom. I was a freshman, asked to go by a senior. My family was dirt poor. My parents had just split up and we\’d moved out to the middle of nowhere, onto a farm of all things. For some reason I found myself up in the attic where (I\’m not making this up) I found two gowns, one green and one orange, along with matching sandals, all packed away in a box. Everything was in my size too, which with size 9 shoes and a scrawny 5’11” frame, was nothing short of amazing.

I am totally convinced that God put those things there for me. I remember my dad arguing with my mom about my “borrowing” them for the prom that year. But she made sure that I cleaned them and put them back when the dance was over.

Why would God do that? Why would He care about how my daughters and I were dressed for proms in 1973, 2005 and 2008? All I can really tell you is that He did. And in Matthew 22, He seems to care how people are dressed for His wedding feast. So maybe it\’s because He cares about what we care about. Or maybe it\’s because He has a prom of His own going on. You\’ll find it in Revelation 19, where He\’s preparing for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Just don\’t ask what\’s on the menu…

One Hundred Words (11)

05/30/2008, 12:00 pm -- by | No Comments

With so much time spent sitting in a hospital lately, I made a new friend with some interesting things to teach.

Life Lessons from Abraham Lincoln:

— 1865 wasn\’t that long ago. I thought of Abe as a founding father, yet had he not been killed, he could have met my grandparents.

— Politics didn\’t just get corrupt. Old Honest Abe knew how to make a deal.

— Appreciate what you have. In describing Niagara Falls, Lincoln wrote: “…when Adam met his Maker…when Moses led Israel through the Red Sea…before Christ suffered…Niagara roared here.”

— He loved his wife.

–CSM

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