Contentment With Curiosity

On today's Seek God With Me blog post, I invite you to take a look at your relationship with God. Sometimes we let our expectations color how we see and hear God.

I think we could stand to be reminded occasionally that God loves us for who we are, not for what we do. And we should love God for who He is, not for what He does.

Being content in a relationship with God is allowing the peace of His presence to infiltrate your conversation and allowing the love of God to color how you see things.

If you're curious about what God wants to say to you, check out the blog, and then listen.

The Legend of Zorro

Ten years after Alejandro married Elena, she is still trying to get him to hang up the Zorro cape for good. However, every time the church bell tolls, he rides to fight against injustice.

I think wives of policemen and firemen can identify with Elena's frustration. The same heroic qualities that make the man a life-saver also drive a wedge between them. She knows he's helping people, but she wants him home. Whether they see themselves as having heroic qualities or not, all of today's Zorros out there have to find that balance between work and home.

Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones were captivating in The Mask of Zorro. And in this sequel, they still keep the screen hot. Banderas was born to play Zorro, even the more mature, fatherly Zorro.

The Legend of Zorro adds a new character to the mix. Joaquin, his son, is in school and is very much like his father. He gets in and out of trouble with ease.

Elena finds trouble of her own. She throws Alejandro into despair with a surprise announcement. Their marriage is over.

She finds someone very rich and very important who has fallen for her. He used to go to school with her when she was growing up in Europe. Is her affection for him only a ploy to get more information about what he’s doing in his secret meetings?

Alejandro as Zorro rides to find answers so he can save the people once again. This time his son helps him.

He’s been hiding from his son the fact that he’s Zorro. When Joaquin finds out his father is Zorro, his eyes light up with pride.

The ending train ride is chock-full of excitement, tension, conflict, and even humor. Elena and Alejandro prove again that they make a great team.

Patient Waiters

Have you been to a really great restaurant where the waiter came to your table at the right time, accurately took note of what you wanted, and came back with great food? What happened after the food was served told you whether he was an experienced waiter or not.

Some waiters ignore you after the food is delivered. Some hover too closely. There is a balance that is learned by experience. Patience is the key to that balance.

In my Seek God With Me blog, the How To Hear God series continues. I've posted on being patient while waiting on the Lord. If you want to Seek Him, you need to learn to hear Him. To hear Him, you need patience.

Don Juan De Marco

A young man who calls himself Don Juan DeMarco, played by Johnny Depp, stirs up the life of soon-to-be-retired psychiatrist Dr. Jack Mickler by making people think he wants to commit suicide by jumping from a billboard. Marlon Brando as Dr. Mickler talks him into getting help and begins an unusual friendship.

The chief psychiatrist wants to commit the boy long term, but Mickler insists on letting Don Juan tell his story without the prescribed drugs. He listens to the boy’s story and is changed by it. Mickler wants the boy to be free from his tragic past and free from the chief psychiatrist’s conclusion.

The scenes that show the boy’s version of what happened to him during his young life are romantic and beautiful. The scenes that depict Brando and his life are very practical, sane, and yet captivating.

This is a movie that helps old married couples remember when they were young and adventurous, but it’s also a show that helps them remember that you’re never too old for romance.

Depp’s character is believable and in charge, until you see more of Brando’s character.

The ending caused me to think back to how Don Juan told his story and Mickler’s response to it. A lot of the unsaid story was meaningful.

Chocolat

Valentine's Day is over, but it's still the month of Love. I hate to settle for only one romantic day of the year. I have to have a whole month. So in celebration of love and romance, I've chosen a few movies to review this month. My husband and I rented Chocolat, starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp, and found it intriguing.

Enjoy the review below.

The wind blows and drifter Vianne Rocher and her daughter come into a very Catholic town to open a chocolate shop during Lent. With an indomitable spirit, Juliette Binoche as Vianne sets out to win over the townsfolk one by one. Many turn their noses up at her because she’s tempting them to enjoy decadent indulgences during a time of fasting. But over time, she cultivates friendships and changes their lives.

Josephine, a battered wife, is trapped in an unbearable existence until befriended by Vianne. Her wounds heal as Vianne lets her move in and teaches her how to create the chocolate delicacies. Her husband, Serge, comes to claim his wife, but she knows that dressing up a villain in nice clothes doesn’t make him a good guy. He comes back at night drunk and hateful, and breaks into the shop and into the apartment where the women are hiding. Serge attacks both women while spouting ugly accusations and complaints. Josephine strikes him on the head with a skillet and straightens as he crumples into an unconscious heap. Victorious Josephine stands over him and answers, “Who says I’m not good with a skillet?”

I loved that.

When Vianne goes to the river to see the people who’ve just drifted in, she finds Roux, played by Johnny Depp. Because they both are drifters, their friendship develops quickly. Vianne has proven to the townsfolk that she can guess which of her delightful treats will be the favorite of each of her customers, but she has difficulty choosing Roux’s favorite.

The magnificent Judi Dench plays Vianne’s landlady and moves us in her compelling storyline with her grandson.

The movie was well-written and well-acted, creating generous amounts of sympathy for the characters.

A Good Marriage

Today on my Seek God With Me blog, I'm challenging people to learn to hear God instead of just telling Him what you want.

In this six-part series, I discuss steps to having the kind of relationship with God that encourages two-way communication.

I've found that maintaining a relationship with God is like having a great marriage. I know that if both people work at building a strong relationship, that marriage will last. But if you neglect the other person for too long, that marriage will suffer serious problems. The same is true with God. You have to put effort into maintaining the relationship if you want it to last.

Check out the blog.

The Adventures of Don Juan

Filmed in 1948, this story of famous lover Don Juan is set in Spain where rumors of his heroic qualities and non-heroic qualities, whether true or not, precede him. His weakness for beautiful women lands him in the lap of trouble so much that he’s used to it. Thus his words in a jail cell are, “Woman, thy name is Trouble.” Sure, blame the women.

Handsome Errol Flynn is Don Juan. Alan Hale is the always faithful sidekick Leporello. Raymond Burr, early in his career and sans the wheelchair, is Captain Alvarez. And as “Lady in the carriage”, an uncredited role, Nora Eddington received her only acting credit listed on IMDb.com. She is listed in five other productions playing herself, Mrs. Errol Flynn.

Viveca Lindfors plays the Spanish Queen Margaret in all her beauty and grace. This actress makes the movie memorable. When she’s angry, everyone, including Don Juan, can see the fire in her eyes.

Errol Flynn has a name for being charming on screen as well as off. He looked quite comfortable in his scenes, whether he was tossing a hat in the air in the royal waiting room or trying to outwit the men who caught him with their women. Opposing the evil Duke de Lorca, he is unintimidated.

The movie was enjoyable because Flynn’s Don Juan showed believable heroic qualities. He stood against injustice in the inn. He was smart enough to gain the trust of his fencing students and used them later to help defend the queen. And he was caring enough to risk his life when he saved his friend, the count. Quite an entertaining actor, Flynn’s expressions told what the words didn’t say. To me, he’s a cross between contemporary actors Kevin Kline and Johnny Depp.

Are You Listening?

Join me at my Seek God With Me blog where I'm on part three of a series that discusses how to hear from God.

In part one, I examined the reality that many people are interested in hearing from God, but not so interested that they'd do something about it. The first step toward hearing God is having the desire to hear and obey Him.

In part two, I looked at intimacy in a relationship and how we recognize someone's messages because we know them. Step two of hearing from God is knowing Him well enough to recognize Him when He speaks.

Keep checking back for the rest of the series.

Awaken My Heart

Armando. He’s a man of great courage and passion, but a reluctant leader. He’s a hero who draws admiration from men and women, but walks restlessly through life, not sure where his happiness will be found. Not sure it will be found.

Marianne. She’s a bold woman, full of life. In many ways like her father, yet still waiting for his approval.

When Marianne is brought to Armando as a captive of his people, he regrets the decision that was made. He respects her, is surprised by her, and grows to love her. But she could never love him. Or could she?

What will become of Marianne? Will she be happy in an arranged marriage to Don Lorenzo Sanchez, a respected older Spaniard?

Wrestling with the truth of her feelings, she’s drawn to Armando, her captor. He releases her, but she dreams of him, longs for him. How could she fall in love with her father’s enemy?

She is obedient. She knows the man she is to marry will be kind to her. Her own father hasn’t given her the fatherly love and kindness she desired, but she will live in a Spanish mansion and be a good wife to Sanchez at her father’s request.

Armando wants her to go through with her marriage to Sanchez. He could not subject the woman he loves to a life of hard work when she could be waited on by servants in a well-protected mansion. She must leave him and never come back.

And then the story really heats up.

Armando's heroic qualities are mixed well with weaknesses that make him real. I enjoyed the tenderness in the heart of the strong leader.

DiAnn Mills has sold over a million books and has won many honors and awards. She also speaks to audiences online and in person. Check out DiAnn Mills.com and see where she’ll be speaking next.

The Mask of Zorro

Tomorrow, I will post my review of DiAnn Mills’ new romance, Awaken My Heart. She says she wrote the hero, Armando, after Zorro, with whom she fell in love as a young girl. Armando doesn’t wear a mask or cape, but is the same kind of caring leader and handsome romantic hero.

So to get you in the mood for Armando, here’s my Zorro review:

The Mask of Zorro, 1998

When the peasants need a fast-riding, swashbuckling, acrobatic hero, Zorro comes to the rescue. His beautiful black horse steps into place at his whistle. When two boys help scatter the enemy, Zorro thanks them by giving one of them his necklace.

Anthony Hopkins’ Don Diego de la Vega, known to the peasants as Zorro, is well-acquainted with victory and supposes he won’t need the mask for a while. Out of his Zorro costume, Diego relaxes in a loving embrace with his wife when the enemy shows up at his house for an untimely attack, killing his wife and burning down his house. Diego’s baby daughter is taken away to be raised by his mortal enemy, Don Rafael Montero.

The two boys grow up and are chased by soldiers until one dies. Antonio Banderas plays Alejandro Murrieta who takes his dead brother’s necklace and sets out for revenge. Diego finds Alejandro too drunk to win a fight and notices his necklace. Alejandro agrees to be taught by his hero, Zorro.

The story of the two men is the passion of the movie. A father without a son and a son without a father. An older hero training the new hero. A master preparing the student for victory and for honor.

Later, when Diego finds his long lost daughter, he sets out to tell her the truth. When she realizes that one father stole her from the other, her allegiance is divided.

Alejandro tricks his way into Montero’s mansion for a party where Montero will unveil his plan to rule California and be free from Santa Ana. At the party, Catherine Zeta-Jones’ character, Elena, falls for Alejandro.

His dance with Elena is one of the best parts of the movie. Sure, he does a lot of sword fighting – and he’s really good at it – but the dance is why women rent this movie.

The tempo of the movie picks up and the Zorros, both young and old, show up at very convenient times and places. The fighting mixes old standby swordsmanship with unique locations and acrobatic help. Of course, in the end, just when you think Diego is too wounded to win a sword fight, he uses his wits to overcome Montero. I loved how the Zorros' heroic qualities were displayed. They're both creative, caring, and brave. And they show a sense of humor.

The fire in Alejandro’s eyes made this movie. But I loved Anthony Hopkins’ acting, too. The movie would make a Zorro-lover out of anyone.

Interview with DiAnn Mills

He fights for justice for his people. He wins the admiration of men and the hearts of women. He’s a hero – but without the mask and cape. No, he’s not Zorro. He’s Armando, leader of the people of La Flor. His people call to him for help, but does he call to God?

Here’s DiAnn Mills to tell us more about Armando, the hero in her novel, Awaken My Heart.

Thanks, DiAnn, for joining us today. Can you tell us why you wrote about this handsome, restless hero?

Simple! I've been in love with Zorro since the black and white TV days. Seriously, I believe in flawed characters who work through their weaknesses to be true heroes.

What were the heroic qualities in Armando that made him stand out to you?

He stood for the rights of his people, despite the threats of Phillip Wharton. He was passionate about life and love, giving of himself to those he treasured.

Do you think Armando and Diablo will ever be friends? Why?


They are much alike! Of course I wrote it that way. :) Armando has more patience than Diablo, which gives him an edge in winning over the stallion.

Have you written another hero quite like Armando?

I don't think so. He was very close to being a dark hero, but women are attracted to the mysterious rebellious type. Again, think of the dashing Zorro.

Is it usually easier to write the hero or the heroine?

I enjoy writing heroes and heroines. Both are a challenge. Both take time. I fall in love with both of them. :)

Was it easier to write Armando or Marianne? Explain.

That's a tough question. Writing Armando required more research into the Mestizo culture, the Spanish rule, clothing, diet, education, worship etc. Marianne was equally complex, but perhaps easier. Each character's motivation helped bring them together.

What are you working on now?

A series for Tyndale, romantic suspense that places women in traditionally men's roles: CIA, Secret Service, and Border Guard. Yummy to research and yummy to write.

Thank you, DiAnn. I’ll be eagerly waiting for your next book release.