Praying or Playing

It’s Spring! And that means Spring Break. Many kids are out of school and taking it easy for a week. Parents of teens and college kids are probably on their knees right now.

Praying while your kids have committed themselves to thinking about anything but school is not a bad idea, but the praying should be done by the kids as well. Some of them will, but most of the kids are focused on living a carefree and easy life while on their break.

I certainly agree that all work and no play will lead to depression and fatigue. But prayer isn’t going to depress you – if you’re praying to someone you love.

The way you communicate shows how you feel about the one you’re speaking to. If you ask God a question, your love-filled relationship with God would suggest a time of quiet listening is in order. You don’t know if he’ll answer with a spoken word, a Bible verse, an urgency to act, or something else. Your love for God makes you more attentive to him while waiting for his answer.

For more on How God Answers, join me at my devotional blog, Seek God With Me.


I’ve never owned the Eternity rose, nor have I seen it. The Eternity rose is also known as TWOetern because it was hybridized by Twomey. I’ve found very little information on it, other than the fact that it was introduced in 1991, but I like the name. Eternity.

It reminds me of Jesus, whose love is forever. Again, I find myself thinking of this month’s theme: sacrifice. This is a good time to prepare for Easter by sacrificing something that gets in the way of a relationship with God. Many people give up certain things for Lent. I think this is a concept that should be practiced all year.

Back to the rose. It’s a slightly fragrant red-blend rose that blooms in clusters. With a name like Eternity and giant drops of red all over the bush, it’s difficult for me not to see a picture of Jesus when I read about this rose.

An Affair to Remember, 1957

Deborah Kerr plays singer Terry McKay. Cary Grant plays famous playboy Nickie Ferrante. With both of them involved in serious relationships, and with both of their significant others not on board, their cruise home to America becomes complicated. When they meet, they aren’t immediately attracted, but given time, the ship keeps them close enough to fall for each other.

Before they part, they promise to meet again in six months at the top of the Empire State Building. When Terry doesn’t show, Nickie fears she’s either married to someone else or just doesn’t love him. However, neither has forgotten the other, and a chance meeting brings them back together.

The humor in the cute beginning was well done. The story was so well acted that I almost teared up looking at Nickie (Cary Grant) simply standing in a room when he went to his grandmother’s house the second time. I could see that he desperately missed both of the women. The ending showed that they both found themselves separately before finding each other again.

Terry's sacrifice of not letting Nickie know about her circumstances is touching. It's difficult to give up what you want. She believed it was for the best.

Leo McCarey directed this movie and then two more before his death. He started out directing silent films. He worked with Bela Lugosi, Gloria Swanson, The Marx Brothers, Mae West, and Harold Lloyd. And he was responsible for pairing Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy.

The first time Leo McCarey directed Cary Grant was in 1937 with Irene Dunne in The Awful Truth. He’d directed films every year from 1924 to 1937, but he took off a year in 1938 and made his next film in 1939, which was Love Affair, starring Charles Boyer and Irene Dunne. After almost twenty years, he directed the remake of that film, put Cary Grant in it, and called it An Affair to Remember. This time, Cary Grant was paired with Deborah Kerr.

Deborah Kerr’s singing in this film was dubbed by Marni Nixon, the same woman who dubbed the songs of Kerr’s Anna in The King and I and Audrey Hepburn’s Eliza in My Fair Lady. Nixon also dubbed songs for Natalie Wood and Rita Moreno in West Side Story.

Love Affair, 1939

When finding your true love on a cruise across the Atlantic gets complicated by the fact that both members are engaged to be married, there is really only one thing to do. Terry McKay and the man she has fallen deeply in love with, Michel Marnet, agree to meet at the top of the Empire State Building in six months, giving each of them time to find out if this new love was really meant to be.

Irene Dunne played Terry McKay and Charles Boyer played French playboy Michel Marnet. Each of their characters showed that they were willing to sacrifice for the good of the other. Because of their generous hearts, each had the courage to make something of themselves before committing to a marriage. Michel started out as a scoundrel, but ended up a hero.

I love the emotion at Grandmother Janou’s house. This scene was such a turning point for the romance. Grandmother Janou was played by Maria Ouspenskaya. She was a Russian actress and drama teacher who first worked under Stanislavski at the Moscow Art Theatre. From there she brought the Stanislavski System to America and founded the School of Dramatic Arts in New York in 1929. In the late 1930s, she moved her studio to Hollywood. One of her famous students was Lee Strasberg, who, with others, taught his version of Stanislavski’s system now known as The Method. For her work in Love Affair, which took only ten minutes of the film, she received a supporting actress Oscar nomination.

Charles Boyer was the model from which the cartoon skunk Pepe Le Pew was created. That very affectionate skunk is my favorite cartoon character, so of course I enjoyed Charles Boyer’s performance. He showed that romantic flair while keeping his character a believable hero.

Known as the First Lady of Hollywood, Irene Dunne was nominated for 5 Best Actress Academy Awards, including her nomination for Love Affair, but never won. I found this quote from Irene Dunne at “Trying to build the brotherhood of man without the Fatherhood of God is like having the spokes of a wheel without the hub.”

The story was written by Leo McCarey, who also produced and directed it. He liked the story so much, he wrote and directed the 1957 version, called An Affair To Remember. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s review.

Waiting on Answers

Have you ever been ignored? It is frustrating to ask a question and not get an answer. Many people think that God ignores them.

But he doesn’t.

We sometimes get impatient in that block of time between asking the question and finally receiving the answer. God waits to give us the answer we need, and that might not be the one we ask for. Would we be so impatient if we knew God planned to ask us to sacrifice something we hold dear in order to help someone else?

While we wait, we have to realize that our vision is limited. Sometimes our eyes aren’t able to see the answer that he prepared for us before we ever asked for it.

Join me for more on this discussion at my devotional blog, Seek God With Me.

The Tug

Many mothers have experienced The Tug. This usually occurs when the mother is in a conversation with another adult. The child tugs on the mother’s clothes and cries out for the mother to respond. After several attempts, the child’s voice gets higher and louder and the tugs harder.

The mother sacrifices that much-desired moment of play with her child to teach the lesson of patience. The mother’s acknowledgments of “Mommy’s talking right now,” don’t seem to have an affect. The child wants what the child wants, and he won’t stop until he gets it.

We’ve all seen this. More than likely, as children, we’ve all done this. And many of us are still doing this – to God.

We call out to God and get impatient when His response isn’t fast enough. I think God sometimes waits on us to correct our attitude toward him. How would you like to be God and have your children boss you around, but not do what you say? Parents often see their own children in that attitude and can’t see it in their own relationship with God. All of us could take a moment to reflect on our own attitude before prayer.

Join me for more of this discussion at my devotional blog, Seek God With Me.

Romantic Roses: Handel

I've been writing about self-sacrifice. I searched for a rose that had a bold statement about sacrifice, and I found the Handel rose.
This rose reminds me of the Hallelujah Chorus, which praises the Lord of lords and King of kings. Jesus is the one whose sacrifice means more than anyone else’s. Whenever I think of Handel’s Messiah, which is where the Hallelujah Chorus came from, I think of that grand and worshipful song written over two hundred years ago by George Frideric Handel. The rose named Handel is a beautiful red-blend that can remind us of the blood sacrifice Jesus made for us.

The stem of this rose isn’t anything like the crown on the head of Jesus during his last hours on Earth in human skin. This slightly fragrant rose has a stem which is almost thornless.

It is classified as a red blend. However, since I’ve never owned one of these rose bushes, I have to rely on pictures - and in the pictures, it isn’t as red as that classification might suggest. It has cream to pale pink petals edged in bright pink. It’s color deepens in heat, so it might be red around here.

Hybridized and introduced by McGredy in 1965, Handel also goes by other names: Haendel, MACha, McGredy’s Handel.

The showy blooms can get quite large against the wonderfully contrasting dark bronze foliage. But watch out for black spot! This vigorous climber has a very slight honey fragrance and is a repeat bloomer.


How do you get your questions answered?

My kids come to me or my husband to get help with homework. I’ve had my work interrupted on many occasions. I’d guess that’s common among parents. Just being a parent means you’ve signed up for a life of sacrifice for your kids.

God understands this.

God expects us to come to Him for our answers. Sometimes He wants us to figure out the problem on our own because He knows we can, and sometimes He’ll give us that much needed boost to get us going in the right direction.

I’ll discuss this more at my devotional blog, Seek God With Me.

Irma La Douce, 1963

Jack Lemmon stars as Nestor Patou the policeman, Nestor the pimp, and Lord X the wealthy man who visits Irma occasionally.

Shirley MacLaine stars as Irma La Douce. Only one role for her. That’s all she needed to keep this movie tumbling forward through the ups and downs of her romance with Nestor.

This movie, set on a Paris street full of prostitutes, features Nestor masquerading as an elderly English lord to keep her from working the street by paying her a substantial amount for her “services”. It’s the only way he can think of to keep his girlfriend to himself. However, he’s using borrowed money and must work to pay it back while Irma sleeps.

The poor hero can’t keep up the ruse for long because of his need for sleep. She sees him coming home after she’s already awake and guesses he’s been seeing someone else. He won’t tell her he’s really been sacrificing his sleep so she wouldn’t have to work the street with the rest of the prostitutes.

Then she comes up with the idea to run away with Lord X, and Nestor realizes she’s going to leave him. So he throws the Lord X disguise in the river. But he’s seen leaving the river, yelling at the half-sunk clothes, and he’s arrested for murdering Lord X.

There’s a happy ending to this movie, directed by Billy Wilder, which ties up the loose ends and feels like a sweet dessert after the main course. Good ol' Nestor gets to be a real hero instead of down-trodden and overlooked.

I love Jack Lemmon. His acting is full of humor and charm. I couldn’t help but be moved at his character’s love for Irma and his sacrifice to free her of a job she didn’t need.

The film gave James Caan his debut performance and gave Bill Bixby a role as a tattooed sailor.

Were any of the Academy Awards thrown their way? Yes: Andre Previn for Best Music, Scoring of Music, Adaptation or Treatment. Shirley MacLaine was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar, but she won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Actress in a Musical or Comedy.

Breach of Trust by DiAnn Mills

One morning before she opens the library in Split Creek, Oklahoma, Paige notices a strange car – and then her carefully controlled quiet life begins a downward spiral.

Who is Paige Rogers and what is she hiding? The sweet librarian with a generous heart and a talent for baking has said no to Miles Laird’s flirting for some time, and he can’t figure out why.

Gubernatorial candidate Dennis Keary has started harassing Paige after several years of leaving her alone. Why is he suddenly interested in her help with his campaign?

Miles is a football coach – and a good one. He’s planning to take the team to the championship this year, but first he must smooth over the ruffled feathers and stop the fights within the team. He’s fighting for the championship, and he’s fighting for his job. At the same time, he’s worried about Paige. Nothing like pressure on all sides to stir up ulcer problems.

A few of Paige’s secrets are threatening to surface, and she’ll do whatever it takes to keep that from happening. She can’t allow anyone to help her since she can’t bear to see her friends get hurt. And she knows they will get hurt if they become entangled in the mess she’s in. In the beginning, her life as the small-town librarian is uneventful. Then something happens to allow Miles into her private nightmare. She’s ex-CIA and always on the lookout for clues that her former life has caught up with her.

DiAnn Mills
has outdone herself. This is her best book yet. I enjoyed the suspense and the questions that kept coming up. I was impressed by the sacrifices Paige went through. I won’t list those moments here; it’s more fun to find out as you read. This book kept me happily involved in the twists and turns until the end.