Merry Christmas!

What if you weren’t there? Would anyone notice?

In It's a Wonderful Life, George Bailey suddenly finds himself not just homeless, but removed from his existence. He was given the rare gift of seeing how his life affected others.

While watching this movie, I try to imagine the events and people I’ve had an impact on. Who is better off because I’m here? I’m sure I’m not the only one who asks those questions. Many people want the encouragement that what they’ve done wasn’t all for nothing.

This heartwarming film, starring James Stewart as George Bailey and Donna Reed as Mary Bailey, has become a Christmas tradition.

A guardian angel named Clarence hasn’t gotten his wings yet, but his last chance depends on George’s look back at what life in Bedford Falls would’ve been without him. The message of how one life affects another comes through clearly.

Lionel Barrymore as Mr. Potter brings evil to the screen in a way that, even to this day, makes me want to shout out and warn Uncle Billy about him. And the policeman and taxi driver, Bert and Ernie, remind me of the Sesame Street characters every time I see them.

Frank Capra directed this film which won a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture. It was also nominated for five Academy Awards. Capra said that of all his films, this was his favorite.

It’s a Wonderful Life was ranked in 2006 by the American Film Institute as the #1 Most Powerful Movie of All Time.

Slightly Dangerous, 1943

This romantic comedy is the story of dark-haired Peggy Evans, played by Lana Turner, who’s a bored woman who does exactly as she’s supposed to until she can’t take it anymore. She proves she can do her job blindfolded to the dismay of her boss. The blindfolded scene was very well done. The full cast and crew list on lists Buster Keaton as a comedy consultant for this film. He may have had something to do with the very entertaining early scenes.

Peggy finds herself making a drastic change so she doesn’t end up unhappy for the rest of her life. So she gets her hair dyed blonde and buys new clothes. It changes her personality and her sense of freedom. She becomes slightly dangerous.

Walter Brennan as Cornelius Burden, father of missing Carol Burden, takes Peggy into his family because he believes she’s the grown-up version of his missing daughter Carol. Dame May Whitty plays Baba, the woman who took care of Carol before she disappeared.

Robert Young is great as Bob Stuart, her manager, who figures out her new life. He gets fired for being too rough on her at work and is seen as the cause of her suicide since all she left of her old life was a note that sounded like a suicide note. In order to get his job back, he must prove that Peggy isn’t dead. He must bring her back to her old life.

Peggy enjoys her made-over life, but hates that she’s taking advantage of innocent people who have suffered. She finds that it’s too hard to confess that she’s not who she seems. How will she make things right?

Who Can Rescue A Child?

It doesn’t take a lot of money to donate toys to homeless shelters at Christmastime. You might even schedule a time to go sing and play with the children there. Years ago as one of the adult leaders of my church’s youth group, I drove our teens to a homeless shelter to sing Christmas carols and play with the kids. Everyone had a great time. The teens learned that giving their time and energy was a lot of fun. The teens also learned that even though they didn’t have a lot of money, they had a home. The trip boosted their gratefulness.

If you need a little encouragement to give an unbudgeted gift this Christmas, join me at Seek God With Me where I’m sharing gift-giving ideas. Anyone can meet a need. Just look around at those near you, and you’ll see someone you can help.

The Bells of St. Mary's, 1945

Bing Crosby as Father O’Malley and Ingrid Bergman as Sister Benedict pair up to battle for control of the leadership of St. Mary’s parochial school. Using prayer, she fights for a new building. She hopes Mr. Bogardus will donate his building, which is still under construction.

There are plenty of songs in this film, as expected. Bing Crosby croons at times, sharing familiar tunes and some new to me. Even Bergman sings at the piano.

The story of Father O’Malley and Sister Benedict is like a boxing match itself. At times, it seems one of them is ahead, then the other wins a victory. Each taking his or her turn until the end. Even the little boys fight, using two schools of thought. The newer boy is commended by Father O’Malley for his promising techniques. But the “loser” of the fight has turned his cheek as instructed by Sister Benedict. After their talk, Sister Benedict decides to train the boy to box correctly and miss any fists that might come against him again. But she’s also got some fights to attend to. Although she’s devoted to children, she continues through the months with a determined attitude for the building next door.

This film won an Academy Award for Best Sound, Recording. Seven other nominations passed them by, including Best Picture. This was the first time a sequel had been nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. The first Father O’Malley film, Going My Way, won Best Picture a year earlier. Bing Crosby was nominated for Best Actor in both films, but won for Going My Way. This is remarkable because this was the first time an actor had been nominated for playing the same character in two different movies.

A Reunion of Children

Joseph and his brothers were separated for years because the brothers sold Joseph into slavery. When he saw his brothers again, they didn’t recognize him. So he questioned them and found the answers he sought while they thought he was a stranger.

What would be your quest if you were separated from your family and then had a chance to be reunited with them? What would you want to know or do or see?

Discover what Joseph did for his father and brothers as you join me at Seek God With Me.

The Hucksters, 1947

Clark Gable and Deborah Kerr pair up in this peek into the advertising industry. Gable, as Victor Norman, tries to land a high-salaried advertising job by helping an ad agency’s client get an endorsement from a beautiful war widow. The widow, Deborah Kerr as Kay Dorrance, sees the interaction between her children and Gable which helps her fall for him.

This was Deborah Kerr’s first American film. To help movie-goers pronounce Kerr’s last name correctly, one of the taglines for the film was “Gable’s New Star is Deborah Kerr (rhymes with star).”

Ava Gardner was in several uncredited roles before she was able to play a possible love interest for Clark Gable in this film. She later played a love interest for Clark Gable in the 1952 film Lone Star and in 1953’s Mogambo.

Irene was very busy designing costumes from Ginger Rogers’ gowns in Shall We Dance in 1937 to Doris Day’s gowns in Lover Come Back in 1961. For The Hucksters, Irene supervised the designs of Deborah Kerr’s gowns as well as Ava Gardner’s.

Children Hear From God

Last month at Seek God With Me, I shared the story of Hannah who had wept before God about having children. She persevered in prayer until Eli the priest said her prayers would be answered. She had a son, Samuel, who was to be raised by the priest in the service of God. Eli taught Samuel about living in submission to God.

Join me today at Seek God With Me where I’m sharing the story of Samuel, a story of faith, dedication, and obedience. I think it would do us all some good if we would lie down and listen for God’s voice.

A Woman's Secret, 1949

Estrellita, played by Gloria Grahame, is a singer who’s on her way up thanks to the efforts of Marian Washburn, whose day has come and gone. The audience faces question after question as the plot unfolds. Why would Estrellita want to quit her singing career before she’s really hit her peak? How did Estrellita really get shot?

Marian Washburn, played by beautiful Maureen O’Hara, confesses to the shooting, but did she really do it? Why would she confess? Why would she be willing to go to jail if she didn’t shoot her?

Washburn’s longtime and devoted friend, Luke Jordan, played by Melvyn Douglas, tries to put all the pieces together to free Washburn. He’s sure she’s innocent, but he has to convince the police inspector of that. He can’t give up. If Estrellita dies, Washburn is faced with a homicide charge.

While the police inspector mulls over the facts, his wife adds her opinions. She is a fan of murder mystery stories and has ideas that may help solve the mystery that is baffling her husband. The police inspector’s wife is played brilliantly by Mary Philips. She gave life and humor to the end of the story.

The nurse who cares for Estrellita in the hospital is played by Ellen Corby. I remember Corby as Granma Walton on the TV series The Waltons from the 1970s. If you watch this movie before bed, don’t forget to say “’Night, Granma.”

Another Devoted Mom

How do you get what you want?

Throwing a fit doesn’t work very often. It only makes onlookers put more space between them and you. Those tears a wasted.

But the tears of the devoted are never wasted. One who is devoted to something important sheds tears only when they cannot be held back. The face of the devoted shows strength and wisdom. Tears power down those cheeks, determined to leave tracks, determined to change what has been.

Join me at Seek God With Me where I’m sharing Hannah’s story. She was a mother who had to persevere through difficulties for years before she got what she wanted. But she was not disappointed.

The Gorilla

Here’s a riddle:
If a 15-foot gorilla walks into a shopping mall, where is he going to go?

Anywhere he wants.

At least until we vote him out of office. … Today’s rant is about the way our government has become a 15-foot gorilla.

Our government was designed to benefit the citizens and protect the people. The people are the power behind the government, or are supposed to be.

There are those in this country who are still hopeful that our government will get back on track with its original guidelines. We can affect our nation, but we won’t do it sitting idly by, just waiting. There are those who are mad enough to join a cause and fight for it. Right now, there are an impressive number of causes being fought for. Or fought over.

The people of this country have a voice, if they’ll raise it. I’ve seen our penchant for voting change the lives of singers on American Idol and dancers on Dancing With The Stars. Americans love to vote. However, we need people to step into political office and give us an opportunity to vote for someone we believe in.

The gorilla can’t be allowed to grow bigger, stomping through the country while we run for cover. It can’t be allowed to carry us with it in one of its hairy hands while it climbs up tall buildings, smashing tiny airplanes.

In case you’ve never seen the movie King Kong, the gorilla loses. The girl wins. But she didn’t win because she was kicking and screaming for help. There was a plan. There was someone passionate enough and wise enough to know how to get the girl and bring her back to where she was supposed to be.

A lot of people feel strongly about our government and worry about our weaknesses. This country has never been perfect, and it’s never going to be. But we might strengthen it by working together and correcting its path.

You don’t have to be a politician to know America was founded by people who believed God. I think it’s time this country in all its beautiful diversity came together in peace, building each other up in love.

National Velvet, 1944

The horse was all Velvet Brown could think of, day and night. While her sister was crazy over a boy, Velvet was crazy over a horse called The Pie. With a horse as wild and strong as The Pie, what else was there to do but enter the horse in the Grand National Sweepstakes, the biggest race in England? Velvet was utterly devoted to that horse.

The one person who encouraged Velvet the most was her mother. Mrs. Brown had swum the English Channel with the help of a coach who trained her well and helped her complete her swim. She knew Velvet had what it took to get her horse to the finish line.

Elizabeth Taylor played Velvet Brown and earned her place as MGM’s top child star because of the success of National Velvet, only two years after her first screen test.

Velvet’s father, played by Donald Crisp, added humor to the film. Crisp had already worked with Elizabeth Taylor in Lassie Come Home in 1943, which was Taylor's second film.

Mi Taylor, played by Mickey Rooney, was the young man who helped Velvet achieve her dream. I loved Mickey Rooney’s passion and apathy and affection and determination. The scene where he cheered at the race was priceless.

I enjoyed seeing nineteen-year-old Angela Lansbury in the role of Velvet’s sister, Edwina Brown. National Velvet was only her second film.

The very talented Anne Revere won the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role because of her work as Velvet’s mother. Also receiving an Oscar was Robert Kern for Best Film Editing.

Devoted to Prayer

Today on Seek God With Me, I’m sharing a story about a man whose life depended on his being devoted to God and devoted to prayer.

We know that we’re fallible humans, and we don’t have all wisdom and understanding on our own. Or most of us know that. We know that we can access information in a variety of sources. But what happens when the challenges in our lives are too great for us? What happens when we cannot save ourselves?

Join me at Seek God With Me and find out.

For the Love of Santa

There are a few things I feel strongly about and must use some self-control so I don’t offend people when I’m in conversation about these things. But this month, I’ve set the rant free. I’m not holding back anymore.

Let me begin this rant by saying I’m no Scrooge. I love Christmas. It’s a fun time of year. However, the lies about Santa really must stop.

“Santa Claus is coming to Town” is a great song. It explains that Santa brings toys to only the good children. The lyrics encourage kids to behave this time of year. While good behavior should be encouraged, I think there may be better ways to do it. When Santa Claus comes to my house, he’s moving from the garage to the front yard. He doesn’t move. Then we put him back. I got my Santa from my dad. He cut him out of plywood and painted him. My dad gave me the Santa that continually bows his knee to baby Jesus.

“Here comes Santa Claus” is a very cheerful song. I guess I could sing it while I carry Santa to the front yard and shove his stake into the dirt.

“Santa Baby” has fun lyrics written by Joan Javits. The version I hear performed by Eartha Kitt makes me laugh and want to sing it to my husband, followed by “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”. However, I don’t actually sing it because I’d feel embarrassingly greedy. I’d much rather sing Irving Berlin’s “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep”.

I hear “Up on the Housetop” and wonder if any children get confused about what to call the guy with the eight flying reindeer. The song has three names for him: Santa Claus, Santa, Saint Nick.

So who is this Santa? I’ve heard the explanation that Santa Claus is a modified version of St. Nicholas. Pronunciation of names can change how people hear and spell the words. I can imagine that several similar versions of the same story spoken with several different accents can cause a name change fairly easily.

My husband and I told our kids that there was a man named Nicholas who lived long ago. He tried to secretly give special gifts to people because God had blessed him. There really was a Saint Nicholas. Although he may have been around a reindeer or two, he didn’t have eight tiny flying reindeer. And he probably didn’t look much like the present-day images of Santa.

When my kids were small, we drove around the neighborhood each Christmas to see all the pretty lights and decorations. They were young enough that I’d name what I saw, “There’s Rudolph with his red nose. There’s Snoopy next door. There’s a funny snowman and Santa and Mrs. Claus.” I didn’t pretend that Santa didn’t exist, neither did I pretend that Charlie Brown and Mickey Mouse didn’t exist. But I also didn’t tell my kids that their Christmas presents came from a fictional character.

My kids sang “Happy Birthday” to Jesus while they rode in the grocery store cart. I didn’t tell them to do that. They just did it. They knew that Christmas was the time of year everyone celebrates the birth of Jesus. They saw plenty of nativity scenes in neighborhood yards, on Christmas cards, and over our fireplace.

I knew that my kids used the phrases I spoke and picked up some of my habits, both good and bad. Why would I lie to them and expect them to never lie to me?

As long as Christmas is about love and not greed, I’ll enjoy the festivities. This time of year should be devoted to the one whose birthday we celebrate. December is Jesus’ birthday month. And I’m glad we start celebrating long before December 1.

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

One Foot In Heaven, 1941

Fredric March and Martha Scott as a pastor and his devoted wife struggle with raising a family in several poorly maintained homes on the little money they get from their congregations.

The title is explained when Pastor Spence tells his son about setting an example for others. He teaches him that they have to balance on a tightrope with one foot on Earth and one foot in Heaven.

Beulah Bondi plays Mrs. Sandow, a wealthy woman in the church who disagrees with Pastor Spence. The pastor’s crime in her view was the act of having tea with her employee, Mr. Samson, who lived over her garage. It was improper since Pastor Spence was her pastor and not Samson’s, even though Samson never missed the church’s evening service.

The book was written by Hartzell Spence, which is also the name of the character who is the son of Pastor Spence. This movie was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. And it was filmed in Methodist churches in Los Angeles.

Fredric March showed how pastors are expected to cater to the rich because without money from the rich, the pastor’s children don’t eat much. His diligence as a pastor was important in the film, but I was struck by the wife’s story. Martha Scott showed how a young woman in love can be flexible and adapt to the changes necessary when her fiancé makes the announcement that he’s been called to preach. Immediately, her future changed from being a doctor’s wife to being a poor minister’s wife. However, her love and dedication to him helped the marriage succeed.

Devoted Builders

Have you ever built your own scooter or downhill racer or boat? Today on Seek God With Me, I’m sharing the story of a builder who had to leave some people behind when he left town in his custom-made vehicle.

This weekend, I’ll be sharing the review of a movie from the 1940s about a builder who also had to leave town, but he had a different goal.


This is a subject many people look at as unimportant. However, I have an undiagnosed chronic disease that makes me have to correct everyone else’s grammar (silently most of the time).

I can’t stop mentally correcting people when they say, “This is from her and I.” If they’re giving me a gift when they say that, I simply give them my thanks. But in my imagination, I’m coughing into my hand while saying, “from her and me!”

My wonderful, patient husband puts up with me talking to the TV to correct any grammar errors I hear. And I hear it all over the place: speeches, interviews, dialogue in dramas. I’m an equal opportunity corrector. I put up with him yelling at the TV during sports events, so we’re even.

I must admit that I recently heard two women talking as I was leaving a building, and I waited until the door closed behind me before I corrected their grammar – out loud. It’s okay. There wasn’t anyone else around.

You know, this wouldn’t be a serious issue with me if everyone would use correct grammar. We are required to go to school when we’re kids, but apparently we’re not required to use any of that education when we’re adults.

I should ask a local college or university to pay me to stand on a street corner or in a mall and listen to people in conversation as they walk by me. I would get their attention, correct their grammar, and hand them a brochure for a college grammar course.

Maybe if I wore a clown suit and gave out a 10% off coupon, it might be worth it.

Or maybe I’ll just keep my corrections silent.

While I'm thinking about it, enjoy this YouTube video:

Goodbye, Mr. Chips, 1939

Want to know why Clark Gable didn’t win the Best Actor Oscar for his work as Rhett Butler in Gone With The Wind? This was the only Academy Award won for work on Goodbye, Mr. Chips. Robert Donat won the Best Actor Oscar, beating out Clark Gable (Gone With The Wind), James Stewart (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington), Mickey Rooney (Babes in Arms), and Laurence Olivier (Wuthering Heights).

Goodbye, Mr. Chips won only one of their seven Academy Award nominations. Gone With The Wind won eight of their thirteen nominations. All but one of the six remaining nominations for Goodbye, Mr. Chips were won by Gone With The Wind. The exception was the award for Best Sound. Greer Garson was nominated for Best Actress for her work in Goodbye, Mr. Chips, even though she only had a few scenes, but she lost to Vivien Leigh for Gone With The Wind.

This was the very touching story of a man who worked at Brookfield school for over 50 years. Greer Garson played his wife, the woman who gave him hope. The last words of the old professor showed his commitment and enthusiasm for his job, and his devotion to children.

It was interesting to see the characters who sent children to that school for generations (many of them looked exactly alike). It was interesting to see how the students’ uniforms changed through the decades. A knowledge of fashion history would help you to know what time period the setting had changed to.

Devoted Mothers

Today on my devotional blog, I’m sharing the story of a devoted mother. She felt strongly about getting her daughter’s needs met and wouldn’t give up until she’d gotten the right answer.

I’m a mother who feels strongly about the children God gave me. The way this mother responded in her struggle was interesting to me. Join me at Seek God With Me to find out how this mother got the answer she wanted.

Halloween Candy

Why would I rant? The only reason anyone would rant about anything is that they feel strongly about it. If they didn’t care, they wouldn’t rant. I’m passionate about a lot of things. Some of those things don't get mentioned on my blog because I’m trying to use a little self-control.

Well, this month, all bets are off. We’re taking off the chains and setting the rant free.

I’m guessing I’m not the only one who thinks about the topics I’ll be ranting about. Okay, maybe some of the topics will have a smaller group of fans, but that doesn’t stop me from mentioning those things as well.

First Rant Of The Month: Halloween Candy

Of course, I have nothing against candy. I love a good chocolate bar. I even give them away instead of eat them for most of the night. The thing that gets me every time is when people taller than me come to my door begging for candy. I’m thinking those kids are old enough to have jobs. Don’t you think?

My brother makes them answer math questions before he gives away the candy. Yep, you've got to work for it at his door. I think that's awesome, but I don't have the guts to do that.

I have no problem giving away candy to three year olds or even third graders, but when they’re towering over me, I wonder if I should go with the all-night-long phrase, “Aren’t you the cutest little thing?”

Actually, my several-years-long tradition of telling each child who comes to my door, “Jesus loves you” or some other similar statement has kept parents bringing their children to my door. One parent shouted from the sidewalk, “I remember you from last year.” It confirmed to me that we all want to be told that we’re loved.

So when I see gigantic monsters holding out plastic grocery bags half-full of candy, I’ll give them the same treatment as any other child. Make them aware that they’re loved and it diffuses whatever Halloween sentiment they might’ve been thinking.

Rant over.

In keeping with the monthly topic of feeling strongly about an issue, my featured movies for the month of November will have characters who act according to their strong feelings. My devotional blog, Seek God With Me, will have blog posts about people in the Bible who felt strongly about something important.

November is also the month of Thanksgiving, so I want to let you know that I thank God for all my readers.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, 1966

Also known as Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo, this “spaghetti western” is famous for its close-ups of stares. It takes three hours for the audience to find out which of three men will end up with a buried treasure. Famous music, whistling, and odd vocals serenade the long search.

Clint Eastwood plays Blondie who pairs up with Tuco, played by Eli Wallach. The duo go from town to town in a bounty hunting con until they find themselves racing for a certain treasure box. Lee Van Cleef is particularly ominous, combining evil actions with the nickname Angel Eyes.

This film is actually Clint Eastwood’s third Sergio Leone directed film. His first, from 1964, A Fistful of Dollars, ran only 99 minutes.

Original Music in this film was composed by Ennio Morricone. He also wrote the music for many other Sergio Leone films. The score was an extremely important part of this movie, especially in the beginning where the first ten minutes were without dialog.

I enjoyed this movie years ago, and again recently – with my son popping in and out of the room. If you haven’t seen this one before, get plenty of popcorn and make yourself comfortable. You’re going to be there a while.

Two Out Of Three

Today on Seek God With Me, I’m looking at three men who responded to Jesus in different ways. One of them made good decisions, one made bad decisions, and one allowed Jesus to pull him from the ugliness of his past.

The last long movie I’ll review this month on this blog has a lot to do with those three kinds of people. So come back and check out this weekend’s review.

Schindler's List, 1993

I remember leaving the movie theater when I saw this film for the first time. The last part of the film with the real Holocaust survivors was very moving. But leaving the theater, I was angry. I knew that there was a spiritual darkness that drove the ugliness during that time period. I hated the ugliness. I hated the hate.

When young people today get a bad attitude and try out their own version of arrogant ugliness, I want to show them this film. I want to show them what ugliness can do. Forget detention after school. Show them this film and other like it that portray the bad people as bad. When films come out that show a bad guy as the hero that everyone wants to cheer for, I shudder. This film showed a character who found out he had a heart. He turned from evil and used what he had for good. Kind of basic, I think. But some people today aren’t getting that.

This film is about 195 minutes long or 3.25 hours. Hollywood produced a lot of long movies in the 1960s, including: Cleopatra, from 1963, which ran 243 minutes; Lawrence of Arabia, from 1962, which ran 216 minutes; Hamlet, from 1964, which ran 191 minutes; The Good The Bad And The Ugly, from 1966, which ran 179 minutes; and The Longest Day, from 1962, which ran 178 minutes.

According to, Schindler’s List was “The most expensive black & white film ever made to date. The previous record was held for over 30 years by another film about World War II, The Longest Day (1962).” The same site also stated, “Without adjusting for inflation, this is the highest-grossing black-and-white film of all time (taking in $96 million domestically and $321 million worldwide).”

Schindler’s List won seven Oscars: Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Music - Original Score, Best Writing of a Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium, Best Director, and Best Picture.

A Time To Hate

This month, I’m sharing movies that have a long runtime. Every good movie has a little conflict in it. Long movies take a little more time to resolve the conflict. I’ll post my review this weekend of a movie that has a lot of conflict in it. A lot of hate.

The word hate gives some people a bad taste in their mouth. It’s an ugliness that I don’t like to talk about or even think about. But the Bible tells us that there is a time for hate.

Ecclesiastes 3:8 “a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”

Join me today at Seek God With Me where I am showing this and other verses about how to hate correctly – and how not to.

Lawrence of Arabia, 1962

Thomas Edward Lawrence served as a British officer and, because of brave exploits, became known as Lawrence of Arabia. His writings inspired more than one movie about his life. Actors portraying him through the years included Sir Alec Guinness, Peter O’Toole, Sir Ian McKellen, and Ralph Fiennes.

T. E. Lawrence led the Arab army against the Turks in World War I. Many details in the film were not completely accurate, but put in place for the good of the film. For the most part, the film showed the kind of man Lawrence was and what kind of man it would take to accomplish the things he was able to do.

This 1962 movie won seven Academy Awards for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration Color, Best Cinematography Color, Best Director, Best Film Editing, Best Music Score – Substantially Original, Best Picture, and Best Sound.

It’s a favorite of many, but the film’s length was a bit too much for some. Over three and a half hours long, this film has no dialog spoken by a woman. With that much footage, you’d think there would be a line for a woman in there somewhere. The film benefitted from the skill of very good actors and a perfectionist director. The Oscars are proof of the dedication and excellence associated with this film.

The Desert

This weekend, I’ll post my review of Lawrence of Arabia. This 1962 film was very expensive to make, but it became a favorite of many. It’s the story of T. E. Lawrence who led the Arab army against the Turks in WWI.

Certain scenes in that movie make me think of Moses in the desert after hearing God’s voice in the burning bush. Some people thought Moses was crazy. His enemy probably did. But being different and surprisingly bold gives one an advantage over the enemy.

Is this what Moses was thinking? Join me at Seek God With Me and find out.

Gone With The Wind, 1939

Scarlett O’Hara loves Tara, her family’s plantation. Her father drove it into her that land is the only thing that lasts. When Tara is neglected during the Civil War, Scarlett comes back to her home to rebuild it to its former glory.

Rhett Butler is a scoundrel and everyone knows it. Scarlett could never fall for a man like that, especially while her heart is wrapped around a man like Ashley Wilkes.

Hattie McDaniel was the first African-American to be nominated and win an Academy Award. She won for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. Gone With The Wind was the first color film to win the Best Picture Oscar, and it was the longest film of all Best Picture Oscar winners. Besides the eight Oscars presented for work on Gone With The Wind, two more special awards were given. One was an honorary award given to William Cameron Menzies “for outstanding achievement in the use of color for the enhancement of dramatic mood in the production of Gone With The Wind.”

Neither Vivien Leigh nor Clark Gable was the first actor considered for the roles of Scarlett or Rhett. Gary Cooper turned down the male lead thinking the film had no chance of success. For the role of Scarlett, thirty-two screen tests were studied, but Vivien Leigh found success. Even though she won the Best Actress Oscar, she created quite a stir for being a British actress in a role many thought should go to an American.

Thomas Mitchell, who played Scarlett’s father, Gerald O’Hara, acted in three of the ten films nominated for Best Picture in 1939. Of his 103 acting credits, five of them were from 1939. George Reeves who played Stuart Tarleton, one of Scarlet’s boyfriends, became better known when he starred as Superman in the 1950s TV series. Cammie King Conlon played Bonnie Blue Butler, Scarlett and Rhett’s daughter. Conlon later worked as the voice of Young Faline in Bambi in 1942 and retired from acting at age 5.


Last weekend at the beginning of Long Movie Month here on Blogging Domino, I posted the review of Les Miserables, a movie released in 1934. One of the reasons for the enormous length of that movie and other long versions of the same story is the length of the original novel by Victor Hugo. According to, Hugo’s novel was published in 1862 and contained around 513,000 French words on 1,779 pages.

Next weekend, I’ll post my review of Gone With The Wind, which is also a pretty long movie. It’s listed at around 238 minutes. Margaret Mitchell’s novel was published in 1936 and had 1,037 pages in its first edition.

In Gone With The Wind, Scarlett fights to keep Tara, her family’s plantation, out of the hands of those who would steal it from her. After the Civil War takes a toll on Tara, Scarlett must do whatever is necessary to rebuild Tara.

This rebuilding is also found in my devotional blog this week. Join me at Seek God With Me where I share the story of Nehemiah who has to fight to rebuild the walls of the city.

Les Miserables, 1934

Ex-convict Jean Valjean tries to start his life over, but is constantly pursued by police inspector Javert. While Valjean continues trying to make life better for other people, Javert obsesses over getting his hands on the elusive ex-con.

There were many versions made of this story, from black and white film to musical. I noticed that the length of the films made from 1925 to 1995 varied from six hours to almost 3 hours. The 1934 version was just over 4 ½ hours long. And yes, I watched all four and one half hours of it.

The transformation of Valjean from bitter ex-convict to loving father was developed in many emotional steps. The way others responded to him showed how his character changed as well. The moments of decision for Valjean were times of reflection. He could decide who he wanted to be.

I applied what I saw on the screen to society today. There are those in today’s world who want to change who they are, but their past follows them like Javert. My suggestion is for those people to watch Valjean make the decision to help people despite being hounded by Javert. Valjean chose to give his best to those who would receive his help. We can do that too.

Editing would have made this a better film. Even though I imagine no one wants to touch this 281-minute treasure, I could see this reedited with a large Deleted Scenes section. Or we could watch one of the shorter versions.

I must admit I enjoy listening to the French language in this black and white film. The language is beautiful, but the English subtitles are a must since I don’t speak French.

Music of the Heart, 1999

Wes Craven directed this touching film about a teacher who wants to teach violin to kids in an East Harlem school, but has to fight for her students as the school board tries to close down her music program due to budget limitations. It was a severe departure from the usual fare by director Wes Craven, who is known for A Nightmare on Elm Street and the Scream movies.

Meryl Streep’s performance as Roberta Guaspari was inspiring. Roberta’s story was told in a memorable way, including scenes filmed in Carnegie Hall. Sandra Park not only performed as herself, but also taught Meryl Streep violin lessons for this film. Also performing as themselves were: Arnold Steinhardt, Isaac Stern, Mark O’Connor, Michael Tree, Charles Veal Jr., Karen Briggs, Itzhak Perlman, Diane Monroe, Joshua Bell, and Jonathan Feldman.

The many child actors performed with spunk and delighted me with their talents. How amazing it would’ve been as a child violinist to be on the Carnegie Hall stage with the above list of mega-violinists.

Cloris Leachman played Roberta’s mother, Assunta Guaspari. I’ve enjoyed Cloris Leachman’s acting for many years. She’s won more Emmy awards than any other actor. Beautiful Angela Bassett gave me no surprises. She played Principal Janet Williams with directness and energy.

Mr. Holland's Opus, 1995

I loved watching this film about teacher/composer Glenn Holland, played by Richard Dreyfuss. His Best Actor Oscar nomination was well deserved. Glenne Headly actually studied American Sign Language in preparation for the role of his wife Iris Holland.

Olympia Dukakis as Principal Jacobs, William Macy as Vice Principal Wolters, and Jay Thomas as Bill Meister the football coach kept me interested in their characters. They’re good actors in interesting roles. I was satisfied with Jean Louisa Kelly’s performance as high school student Rowena Morgan when she sang “Someone To Watch Over Me” as well as other songs, even though she was 23 years old at the time. The writing was responsible for some of my delight. Patrick Sheane Duncan was nominated for a Golden Globe award for writing the screenplay.

In this film, Richard Dreyfuss shows the many changes Mr. Holland went through over the years. Holland’s high aspirations of being a composer dwindle while he teaches music at a high school where he gives much more to the students than he realizes. This inspirational movie about music is also a nod to those who give many hours teaching deaf students. I loved the humor, and I always look forward to the emotional ending.

Freedom Writers, 2007

Erin Gruwell is the new teacher of a class of kids who are full of hate and distrust. They’ve grown up with people looking at their race and not their face. She has to show these kids who have taken sides against each other that they have more in common than they think. So she plays a line game where they have to step on the line of tape in the middle of the room if they have experienced specific things like having been shot at or having been to jail or juvie.

Patrick Dempsey plays a relatively small role as husband and additional conflict for Ms Gruwell. His part of the film shows how some people want to persevere and others allow disappointment to overwhelm them.

The department head, Imelda Staunton played by Margaret Campbell, tries to explain to Ms Gruwell that she should give up trying to make students want an education. However, that’s not the kind of teacher Ms Gruwell wants to be. She has a passion to help these kids, and she’ll do whatever it takes.

The kids visit a Holocaust museum and then meet Holocaust survivors at the hotel dinner afterward. According to the cast list on, four real Holocaust survivors played themselves in the film.

I thought this movie did a good job of making an emotional plea for people to take a second look at their own situation and do the right thing. It showed people rising up to meet challenges instead of living in revenge and hatred.

Jesus and Hilary Swank

This weekend, I’ll review the 2007 movie Freedom Writers. In that movie, Hilary Swank plays Erin Gruwell, a teacher who was able to get through to the kids in her class because of her tenacity, passion, and creativity. She allowed the kids to be who they were, but challenged them to be better students.

Today on Seek God With Me, I’m showing how Jesus taught. You can check out his tenacity, passion, and creativity from a section of scripture in the book of Luke.

I’ll see you there.

Stand and Deliver, 1988

Edward James Olmos stars as Jaime Escalante, a new teacher at Garfield High School in East Los Angeles. After the kids get used to him, they nickname him Kemo, short for Kemo Sabe which was used by Tonto for his friend and leader in The Lone Ranger.

Kemo must have felt like the Lone Ranger when he was battling against apathy, low morale, and low expectations. But he refused to give up on the kids. He wanted to raise everyone’s expectations so that the kids would accept the opportunity given to them. Some saw him as a relentless teacher, and some saw him as a hero. As he challenged his students, attitudes and perspectives changed. The kids could see their futures changing before their eyes – until they were accused of cheating.

Several young actors stood out as key figures in this fictional account of a true story. Lou Diamond Phillips played one of the students who had the courage to change his future. Phillips had just played Ritchie Valens in La Bamba in 1987 and would play Jose in Young Guns after Stand and Deliver.

The happy ending was enhanced by the testimonial statistics at the end that showed how the success started by Escalante and his students wasn’t a one-time fluke.

Jesus and Edward James Olmos

Did Jesus teach like the religious leaders of his day?

No. He did things differently and got the attention of his target audience. He also got the attention of his “competitors” and their crowd.

Did Jesus teach his disciples in such a way as to encourage them to do things they’d never dreamed of doing?

Yes. Just like in the 1988 movie Stand and Deliver, Edward James Olmos’s character, Jaime Escalante, and Jesus try to get their students or disciples to change the way they’ve been thinking. I’ll review Stand and Deliver on my blog this weekend.

But right now, go to Seek God With Me and find out what Jesus taught and where he taught it. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John agree that Jesus taught with authority and courage. He made a difference in the lives of his students. Join me and find out why.

Blackboard Jungle, 1955

Glenn Ford is Richard Dadier, a teacher who won’t back down from a challenge. He is challenged by the faculty and the students, but he sees this job as more than a paycheck. This is his golden opportunity.

Sidney Poitier is Gregory Miller, a student who is mixed up in a classroom of trouble-makers. The whole school has a discipline problem. It takes guts to stand up for what you know is right and decent. The students who believe they can do the right thing are able to learn from a teacher who believes in them.

Also in the classroom is Jamie Farr (credited as Jameel Farah) in his debut Hollywood film. His role as Santini made him stand out among the other boys in the class. He later became famous for his role as Max Klinger in M*A*S*H*.

This story was based on a novel by Evan Hunter. After the success of this movie, Hunter went on to write more novels, some screenplays, and TV episodes for shows like Mike Hammer in the 1950s and Colombo in the 1990s.

One of the four Academy Award nominations for Blackboard Jungle went to Richard Brooks for the screenplay. The other three nominations were for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration in a Black and White, Best Cinematography in a Black and White, and Best Film Editing.

Jesus and Glenn Ford

This weekend, look for a review of a classic movie from the 1950s, starring Glenn Ford. It was the first of its kind. Several teacher-themed movies came out in the following decades that showed the danger and the commitment faced by a teacher who had the guts to show up.

One of the ideas in this movie is doing the wrong thing because you believe the wrong thing. Or because it’s hard for you to believe the right thing. In the days when Jesus taught his disciples along with the crowds, Jesus had to face the same kinds of people.

Today on Seek God With Me, I’m sharing the story of what happened when Jesus taught by the edge of the shore. The disciples followed Jesus and listened, but they didn’t always understand everything he taught. Join me and find out why.

Captain January, 1936

Star is a little girl who lives in a lighthouse with Captain January, the man who rescued her when her parents drowned. Trouble comes in the form of a truant officer who wants to separate the young girl from the man who has taken care of her.

Guy Kibbee is Captain January and works well with Shirley Temple, who plays Star. The pair have some great scenes together and set up the ending well.

Buddy Ebsen dances with Shirley in front of a small crowd. He reminded me of how much I liked him as Jed Clampett on The Beverly Hillbillies. His dancing style was unusual. According to, he was asked in the 1930s to dance in front of a grid so Disney animators could film him and use the dance steps for the Silly Symphony cartoons.

At the age of 93, Ebsen became a best-selling author of a romance novel called Kelly’s Quest. One of the things he said about his writing experiences, according to, was, “Writing fiction, there are no limits to what you write as long as it increases the value of the paper you are writing on.”

Jesus and Shirley Temple

Welcome to September, the back to school month.

This month, I plan to share movies I’ve enjoyed that have a school theme. I’ve chosen several that were released between 1936 and 2007. I’m sure you’ve seen at least a couple of my favorites.

This weekend, I’ll review a Shirley Temple movie. One of the things kids have to do while they’re growing up is learn how to adjust to new things. If they don’t learn how to adjust while they’re young, they’ll have a harder time adjusting as an adult.

I’m reminded about adults adjusting to new things when I read in the Bible about the twelve disciples who followed Jesus around and listened to his teachings. Some of the concepts Jesus taught were difficult for them to understand.

Today at Seek God With Me, I’m taking a look at Jesus teaching on the mountainside. All kinds of people gathered there. I believe every generation of that day was represented in the crowd. Jesus drew crowds of deep-thinking adults as well as innocent children with open hearts.

So join me and find out what Jesus was teaching.

Joseph and Mary

Ahh. The 25th of the month means Christmas is coming. So it’s still four months away, so what. The stores are getting ready for the Christmas season already, and so will I.

Today on Seek God With Me, I’m blogging about Joseph and Mary. Yes, THE Joseph and Mary. In keeping with this month’s theme of great love stories, I’m sharing about what kept these two lovebirds together.

Okay, okay. I know. Everyone already knows it was a miracle from God that kept them together. But for more on this famous Christmas couple, check out my devotional blog Seek God With Me.

City Lights, 1931

The story is about a tramp and a blind girl. After the girl mistakes the tramp for a millionaire, he falls for her. Without trying very hard, he befriends a drunk millionaire and finds himself making hard decisions like whether or not to take advantage of his new wealthy friend. He finds out the blind girl needs money, so he goes to work and earns a small income so he can help the girl. His love for her grows and as more opportunities to help her come along, he gives it his best shot. The heartwarming ending showed graceful acting and good writing.

City Lights is considered one of the highest marks of Charles Chaplin’s career. Not only did Chaplin write, direct, and star in this movie, he also composed the entire score for it. In fact, he was quite an accomplished composer, writing music for several of his films. Probably his most famous song is “Smile”, which he used at the end of his 1936 film Modern Times. “Smile” has been used in many other films and TV shows, including the first season of the popular TV show Glee.

I love Charles Chaplin movies. He had success with silent films in a world where “Talkies” were the new standard. I’ve only seen Limelight and City Lights, but both were worth my time. In each of these movies, the hero wasn’t a superhero, just a guy with a heart of gold.

Boaz and Ruth

How far around the world would you travel to find your true love?

Many would travel far away if they knew they would find true love, but few widows would follow the mother of their late husband in order to take care of her in a foreign land. That’s exactly what Ruth did. She didn’t have true love on her mind, but she found it while caring for her mother-in-law.

Today on Seek God With Me, Ruth’s story shines as an example of how God can put two dissimilar people together and make it work out great. Join me and see God’s hand at work.

John Loves Mary, 1949

A soldier, John, comes back home to marry his fiancé, Mary, but he first must be divorced from the woman he married in England. He hopes he doesn’t have to explain that he only married the English woman so she could come to the US to marry John’s best friend Fred who saved his life. Fred looked all over England for her and had to come back home without her. When John found her, he vowed to repay Fred for saving his life by bringing home the girl Fred thought he’d never find.

Great conflict and twists in this film. Patricia Neal did a great job in her Hollywood film debut. Neal, as Mary, was believably emotional. I also enjoyed Ronald Reagan as the troubled, but hopeful John.

Taken from a play by Norman Krasna, this film was written by Henry and Phoebe Ephron, parents of Nora Ephron who was nominated for Best Writing Oscars for Silkwood, When Harry Met Sally, and Sleepless in Seattle.

Samson and Delilah

When Samson fell in love with Delilah, he knew better than to tell her the secret of his strength. Her people wanted to capture him, so they asked her to find out how to subdue him. Samson loved being with her, so he gave her answers that would keep her around longer, but wouldn’t give away his secret.

Why did he not just throw her out?

When I read Samson’s story in the Bible (Judges, chapter 16), I knew it wasn’t fiction. He was a real guy giving a real guy’s response to the woman who stole his heart.

In a novel, Samson would propose to her near the end of the story. She would agreed to marry him on the condition that he tell her his secret. The wedding scene would be where she stops him before throwing the wedding bouquet and asks him to tell her right then. Instead, he’d whisk her off to a faraway cabin where they would spend the next year in wedded bliss. She’d have her answer, but no one around to tell it to.

And no one would gouge out his eyes.

For more on the true story of Samson and Delilah, join me at Seek God With Me.

Samson must have really loved Delilah, bless his heart.

Midnight, 1939

Don Ameche was wonderful as the smitten Tibor Czerny, a Paris taxi driver who falls for penniless Eve, played by Claudette Colbert. After her taxi ride with Czerny, she gains attention of wealthy Georges, played by John Barrymore, and agrees to help him get his wife’s attention back. Mary Astor played Helene, Georges’ wife. Jacques Picot, played by Francis Lederer, is a smooth-talking philanderer who has eyes for Helene until Eve comes along. Czerny enlists the help of all Paris taxi friends to look for his long lost love, Eve, whom he’s just met.

Eve has begun the charade of being Baroness Czerny when taxi driver Czerny finally finds her. Georges helps Eve persuade the wealthy people they’re with that she is the Baroness Czerny of Hungary. Of course, she made up her identity to keep from getting thrown out. Funny how one lie always leads to another and another until the whole mess gets quite difficult to unravel. Taxi driver Czerny and fake Baroness Czerny fall for each other, but Eve’s problem is money and how to justify giving it up for love.

This was very well written and played out well to the end. I think this was the first time I saw Don Ameche in his early films. He showed passion both for and against the woman who didn’t realize she had the best man in the beginning. Another actor who stood out was John Barrymore. His humor built an enjoyable sneakiness into this film. But Ameche is unsurprisingly quite charming.

The writing team of Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett had many successes. They were often paired together, but in the early 1940s, Brackett started producing films, and Wilder started directing Hollywood films. Wilder and Brackett wrote Midnight, What A Life, and Ninotchka, all of which came out in 1939. Ninotchka was nominated for 4 Oscars, two of which were for writing.

Hosea and Gomer

When a love relationship is broken and needs mending, what tools can you use to fix the problems?

God’s love heals.

In the Bible, Hosea has a whole book to himself. It even has his name on it. He was a prophet through whom God showed his love. Hosea emphasized to his wife, Gomer, that she would be a wife and not a prostitute. The Lord told Hosea in chapter three, verse one, “Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods..."

Today on Seek God With Me, I’m sharing the story of God’s strong love as shown through the example of Hosea and his wife, Gomer. Join me.

So Proudly We Hail!, 1943

Army nurses set out to Hawaii to provide medical support in December 1941, but the attack on Pearl Harbor leaves them no other choice but to help out in the Philippines. Their time in Bataan changes the nurses. They have to learn how to cope with constant Japanese bombardment and the daily loss of life around them. When their part of the jungle is overrun by Japanese, the nurses must flee to the island of Corregidor. Romance tempts many of the men and women who struggle together. Though they try to keep up with each other, communication isn’t always possible.

The movie starts with the realization that not everyone was able to leave the island. These army nurses found out they were the only female survivors from Corregidor. As the movie progresses, we find out why the strength of their leader, Lt. Janet ‘Davy’ Davidson, waned.

Claudette Colbert as Lt. Davidson showed compassion and strength to her nurses. Her romance with Lt. Summers, played by George Reeves, gave a picture of how difficult it was for nurses to keep their hearts protected. Damage from the realities of war was demonstrated on the face of Lt. D’Arcy, played by Veronica Lake. Paulette Goddard as Lt. O’Doul gave us the example of nurses who gave every effort to keeping up morale even if it meant wearing a nightgown as an evening gown for a party.

The film received four Oscar nominations: Best Actress in a Supporting Role/Paulette Goddard, Best Cinematography in a Black and White, Best Special Effects, and Best Writing of an original Screenplay.

This was the first time this important story was told on film. The war wasn’t even over so they couldn’t end the movie with the Japanese surrender. Instead, this film gave a window into the lives of humble army nurses who didn’t like being called heroines.

Glory Alley, 1952

In New Orleans, boxers have to face their fears like anybody else. When prizefighter Socks Barbarrosa, played by Ralph Meeker, runs out on his career, no one knows the real reason why. Having lost confidence in himself as a boxer, Barbarrosa joins military and fights in Korea, winning the Congressional Medal of Honor for blowing up a bridge. He expects that war medal to change his life, but when he gets home, the parades eventually stop, and he’s no longer a hero. His insecurity resurfaces, and he must face the challenge of making a living so he can marry his girlfriend.

Blindness is shown in different ways. The Judge, the blind father of Barbarrosa’s girlfriend, is played by Kurt Kasznar. He forbids his daughter Angela, played by Leslie Caron, to see Barbarrosa after he runs out of the boxing ring like a coward. Other forms of blindness are found in the story.

This movie features songs performed by Leslie Caron and Louis Armstrong. Armstrong played Shadow Johnson who trained Barbarrosa when he was still a prizefighter, but he was also the Judge’s trusted friend who helped him travel.

Those who know Jack Teagarden will find him in the movie playing himself. If you listen to the title tune, you’ll hear Louis Armstrong and The All Stars (featuring Jack Teagarden).

Battle Strategy

In order to defend themselves in a battle against the Amalekites, Moses kept his hands raised with aid from Aaron and Hur. How is this a good battle strategy? Did Gen. MacArthur ever do this?

I’m looking at the battle with the Amalekites on Seek God With Me. In order to win your battles, there are a few things to keep in mind. Check out this battle that was won by simple obedience to God and see how Moses figured out how to triumph against any enemy.

Father Goose, 1964

As WWII heats the Pacific waters, the Japanese are starting to clear people out of the islands. Walter Eckland, played by Cary Grant, is doing whatever he wants, wherever he wants. He hopes to be unaffected by the war, but when he finds an old friend who needs a favor, he is forced to help out.

Trevor Howard, as Commander Frank Houghton, Eckland’s long-time friend, seems adept at getting people to do what he wants. In order to avoid getting his boat confiscated by the military, Eckland agrees to report Japanese sightings. The men know each other well, and their concern for each other keeps them from being too harsh.

Feeling too crowded when he aids a proper woman in charge of several young girls, the last thing Eckland wants is to deal with is a group of females who were left behind on a nearby island. They borrow his clothing, share his food, and hide his whiskey. The woman, Leslie Caron as Catherine Freneau, wants to return the girls to their parents, but together they survive a couple of narrow escapes when the Japanese come too close.

None of the girls are unaffected by Walter’s charm. He’s an odd hero because he starts out a grumpy old man, but by the end of the movie, his girls had won a place in his heart.

Father Goose received a Best Original Screenplay Oscar. It was also nominated for Academy Awards for Best Film Editing and Best Sound.

Success in Battle

I was watching America’s Got Talent with my kids and noticed that the judges couldn’t agree on which performers should go forward to the next level of competition. Auditions took a lot of time as thousands of people hoped for the best. Only the most talented people would survive the cut. After sorting through the acts, the judges came up with a list of possible winners. The judges’ priorities helped them decide why one male singer would win over another.

This reminds me of the army that Gideon took with him into battle. There were thousands of applicants and only 300 slots to fill. God’s priorities helped him pick one warrior over another.

Today on Seek God With Me, I’m sharing my thoughts on the way Gideon won the battle. He started out with the understanding that he couldn’t win without God’s help. That’s something we all should remember.

For more on Gideon’s army, read my devotional blog post at Seek God With Me.

Battleground, 1949

Before Band of Brothers, there was Battleground. This movie tells the story of the US Army 101st Airborne Division during the Battle of the Bulge in WWII. Some of the original “Screaming Eagles” of the 101st Airborne Division were hired to play themselves and train the extras.

Instead of going to Paris for a little R&R, the Screaming Eagles wake up to the sound of new orders. They must move out and dig in around Bastogne. The war was mean and dirty, but those who survived dealt with the experience in their own way.

This story was very much like Band of Brothers in that it was the same story told through the same eye witnesses. But there were many differences. It had the grit and pain a war movie should have, and it had humorous moments as well. There was a young one trying to fit in with those who already had relationships. There was a guy who had to put aside orders to go home to be with family because they were surrounded and had no way of leaving.

Van Johnson is Holley, and John Hodiak is Jarvess, the soldier who spoke French and German. They and their company battle the weather and the Germans with the few supplies they have. Ricardo Montalban is Roderigues, a soldier from Los Angeles who sees snow up close for the first time. James Whitmore is Kinnie, the sergeant who keeps them all in line. James Whitmore actually served in the Marine Corps during WWII, but the actor who had more WWII medals than others who worked on this film was James Arness.

Battleground won the Oscar for Best Cinematography in a Black and White and Best Writing of Story and Screenplay. It was also nominated for other Oscars: Best Supporting Actor/Whitmore, Best Director, Best Editing, and Best Picture. James Whitmore also won a Golden Globe for his supporting role. Another Golden Globe was won for the wonderful writing in the screenplay.

An Unusual Battle

How much do you trust God?

We say we trust in God, but would we obey him if he told us to march around our enemy’s fortress?

On Seek God With Me, I’m taking a look at the battle at Jericho. The walls came down at the command of God, not because of explosives. I can’t imagine the surprise on the faces of the people of Jericho. They couldn’t have guessed their walls would fall so easily. But they trusted in their walls instead of the Lord.

Join me for a look at Joshua’s encounter with the city of Jericho and ask yourself where you place your trust.

The Fighting Seabees, 1944

With support from the Navy, Hollywood created a movie to tell the story of how the Seabees, or Construction Battalions, were created. It was good to see the men working together as a team rather than supporting the valiant efforts of one man.

John Wayne plays Wedge Donovan, the owner of a construction company who welcomes his crew home from a job working for the Navy during WWII and throws a party that honors the men who didn’t make it home.

Susan Hayward is Connie Chesley, a news reporter whose boyfriend, Lt. Commander Yarrow, has been trying to convince the Navy to change the way they’ve been sending construction crews overseas. With construction boss Donovan’s help, Yarrow may be able to train those men to work in the Navy instead of for the Navy.

The romance thread in this braid (the other two threads are the history of the Seabees and the story’s main plot of creating and defending a refueling station in the Pacific) is the tried and true “two men in love with the same woman”. I enjoyed the spunk of the Connie, but she and Donovan had obvious flaws. The one person who I felt deserved a happy ending was the one who showed patience and control throughout the movie, Lt. Commander Yarrow. Yarrow was played by Dennis O’Keefe a talented actor who not only began his career as an extra in over 200 movies, but also later hosted his own TV show.

It was also fun to see William Frawley in his role as Eddie Powers. Frawley later became famous as Fred Mertz on the I Love Lucy TV show.

The Trouble With Lions

Lions are beautiful creatures. If they were as tame as a puppy, I’d pet one.

But they’re not tame. They have super sharp claws and teeth. If I tried to ride an elevator with an untamed lion, I’d hope the same thing happens with me that happened to Daniel when he was thrown into the lions’ den.

Today on Seek God With Me, I’m taking a look at why Daniel was with the lions. It wasn’t a good place to be. With God is the best place to be, no matter what kind of den you’re thrown into.

Join me at Seek God With Me and find out when the poor lions finally got to eat.

Trouble In Paradise, 1932

This film, starring Herbert Marshall, is set in romantic Venice and Paris. These two places, where anyone can envision romance and even intrigue, let the reader know it’s snuggle up time. This story of lies, romance, and crime takes a man who meets his match and then lets him get involved with a woman of means. Which woman has his heart? Hard to tell.

Kay Francis plays Madame Colet, millionairess in charge of Colet perfume company in Paris. In spite of her obvious intelligence, she gets mixed up with the very charming Herbert Marshall as Gaston Monescu and allows herself to fall in love with him. Of course the fact that he’s her assistant makes things a bit dicey. Some may whisper how strange it is that she’s dating a new employee.

When the audience first sees Miriam Hopkins as Lily, we figure out quickly that she and Gaston are a perfect match. However, when she sees how Gaston is setting up a huge scam at the Colet mansion, she wonders just how involved her husband is.

This is not quite the romance I usually enjoy because the story is about an antihero. I love a good romance with a Happy Ever After, but when the bad guy gets away with it and don’t seem to have learned anything, that kind of takes away the shine. No real sparkle in the happy ending.

However, I would watch it again to see the way the movie was put together. Director Ernst Lubitsch did a fantastic job of making this story memorable. Even the beginning frames of the movie were not the cliché location set up. I thought I knew what was going to happen next, but I was enjoying getting there. Everything had a certain kind of surprise feeling to it.

Herbert Marshall’s scenes kept me wanting to see more of him, but I have to admit I’m also a big fan of Edward Everett Horton. The scenes with them together showed how you mix humor with glamour and deception. The combination of acting talent, writing and directing made it impossible to not like this movie.

The Trouble With Kings

Not very many Americans have had a king throw a spear at them. After David killed Goliath, the royal spear was thrown at him – twice!

What are we supposed to do when we come to the rescue and save the day, only to find a spear headed our way from the one we helped?

Join me at Seek God With Me where I discuss David’s response to King Saul’s antics. Sometimes it’s more important to do, not the easy thing, but the right thing.

A Woman Called Sage by DiAnn Mills

The outlaw gang who killed Sage’s husband and baby are after something, but she doesn’t know where to look to find it. The only thing she can do is stop the thieving, murdering gang of brothers who have been terrorizing the west. And she’ll do it her way, by being a bounty hunter.

The death of Marshal Parker Timmons’ only deputy, his brother, keeps him determined to find the outlaws who killed him and see them on trial for what they’ve done – if he doesn’t lose his mind and kill every one of them with his bare hands first.

Sage and Parker have a common enemy, the McCaw brothers. Together they’re stronger than they are separately. Parker knows the area, but she knows the ways of the wild. Her pet hawk is an additional set of eyes when they need them.

The McCaws had their attack on Sage and Parker planned for a long time, and they aren’t about to give up at the slightest problem. They have additional eyes and ears too.

This historical romance set in the late 1800s gives the reader a beautiful view of Colorado. The characters struggle with other people and with their own faith, but the ending is worth the wait.

DiAnn Mills has been telling her readers to “Expect an Adventure”. That’s exactly what they get with her novels. She has fifty books in print and has sold over 1.5 million copies. If you’d like her to speak to your group, contact her at her website

The Trouble With Giants

Join me at Seek God With Me, my devotional blog, where I am taking a look at giants and the trouble they cause.

Can you imagine yourself as David listening to Goliath’s defiance? When Goliath challenged young David, who had come to the battle by himself, he was not prepared for David’s response.

1 Samuel 17:46 details what David said. “This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I'll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel.”

I love that. Come see the rest of the story at Seek God With Me.

The Music Man, 1962

River City smells trouble with a capital T when a con man arrives to cheat the town out of hard-earned money. Marian the librarian won’t be scammed by this man, but she’s having trouble convincing everyone else that Harold Hill cannot be trusted. Harold’s a charmer, but it’ll take a lot more than charm to leave town with their money. He falls in love, and that changes everything.

I love the opening song, well most of the songs. I love the rhythm of the dialog. I love the courtship. I love Ron Howard’s performance. Kids should grow up singing these tunes. I would’ve given it every available award, but the only Academy Award it went home with was for Best Music, Scoring of Music, Adaptation or Treatment. It was also nominated for 5 other Oscars, including Best Picture.

This musical made Robert Preston a stand-out star. I also enjoyed his performances in Mame and Victor/Victoria.

Getting Into Trouble

If you’ve ever gotten into trouble just by being yourself, you might identify with Joseph. His brothers got tired of hearing about Joseph’s dreams. “Here comes that dreamer,” they said. Even though he didn’t mean to pester them, they decided to put a stop to his talk of his power over them.

At Seek God With Me, I’m sharing the reason behind Joseph’s rise to power. Join me.

Trouble Along The Way, 1953

John Wayne stars as a down and out former football coach Steve Williams, who is trying to raise his 11-year-old daughter Carol on his own. His ex-wife Anne, played by Marie Windsor, wants him to play the divorce game her way since she remarried into money. She threatens to take their daughter away from him if he doesn’t abide by her rules.

Charles Coburn is a delightful Father Burke, rector of financially-failing St. Anthony’s College. He attended as a student, worked there as a professor, and now as rector, he hates to see it torn down. It’s not just a college to him, it’s his home. Unless he can come up with the money to save the school, Burke will be reassigned.

Deuteronomy 32:15 (paraphrased: He grew fat and kicked) became Burke’s impetus, pushing him forward down the trail to the money he needs to save his home. At dinner with other clergy, he announces the Bible verse, but the other men don’t already know the verse. Father Burke says, “Is there a Bible in the house or do you have to go to a hotel?” Love that.

The verse speaks of football to Father Burke, so he goes to a college with a successful football program already in place where he receives a tip on where to get a coach with the right experience – and one he can afford to pay.

Steve and his daughter Carol had been living off gambling money, so the offer to coach again is a step up for his lifestyle. Social worker Alice Singleton, not impressed with Carol’s home, vows to do everything she can to get her out of the less than perfect circumstances.

Steve accepts the coaching job and uses a lot of patience during the transition to living at a Catholic school. Carol, though streetwise and used to her dad’s faults, gets to know Father Burke and ends up liking him.

The writing in this movie is fabulous. There are plenty of zingers and cute lines, but I think they saved the best dialog for Father Burke.

Needless to say, I liked this film. The acting was very good, but you expect that from these actors. There were good twists and unexpected turns. The characters made you like them, except for the ex-wife, of course. And the ending gives you a sense of what will happen next.

Avoiding Trouble

When I was growing up, my beloved big sister got into all kinds of trouble. I could avoid trouble just by listening to her tell what she’d done. She gave me examples of what not to do.

After her hard-knocks education, she decided to do things the right way. She began to develop a relationship with God and let Him lead her. She’s still a God-lover today.

Many people go down the path she traveled. They see someone doing something wrong and follow in their misguided footsteps. But God always gives us a way out of temptation. He warns us in scriptures that there will be days when we will be tempted. He filled the Bible with encouraging words that strengthen those who accept them.

Join me today on my devotional blog, Seek God With Me, as I examine this further.

Illegal, 1955

Edward G. Robinson stars as Victor Scott in a courtroom suspense film that has bodies dropping from beginning to end. Victor Scott is a District Attorney who knows how to get a conviction. When he convicts an innocent man, his career turns around the wrong direction. He begins a career as a defense attorney and uses every clever cell in his brain to win cases. When he gets caught up in a forced relationship with a mob boss, he has to outthink both outlaws and the current DA.

Jayne Mansfield plays Angel O’Hara, a pretty blonde who finds herself mixed up with the wrong people and becomes a key witness in a trial.

Nina Foch’s role as Ellen Miles is made of elastic for all the stretching, twisting and turning in her character’s plot path. The poor woman can’t get a date with a decent man. She carries a torch for a man she can’t have and marries a man she shouldn’t have. But of all the men in her life, she knows there is one who will never let her down.

This film shows many sides of Victor Scott, which proves Robinson’s acting is superb. I enjoyed the suspense because trouble seemed to snowball at every turn.

Angelic Reminders

Anyone who reads the beginning of the 24th chapter of the book of Luke will see frightened women listening to an angel. The angel who spoke to the women at the grave of Jesus told them something they already knew, but had forgotten. In Luke 24:6, we find the angel telling them, “He is not here; he has risen!”

Not everyone in the Bible got an angelic reminder. What will you do to make sure you remember those important messages from God?

In my devotional blog, Seek God With Me, you can find a way to keep those messages where they can be found later on when you need them again. Join me.

Wonders Never Cease by Tim Downs

What do you get when you cross a desperate publisher and an equally desperate agent with a foolish nurse who causes trouble wherever he goes?

Kemp McAvoy is about as self-centered as a person can get. He’ll stop at nothing to feed his greed. When he gets the idea to help an aging actress have an angelic visitation so he can reap the financial benefits, trouble finds him - again. Kemp gets her agent and a publisher involved to make sure his plan is successful, but he finds out there are problems with the plan.

Natalie, Kemp’s girlfriend, is having trouble understanding why her daughter is claiming that she sees angels. Can’t a little girl admit to seeing angels without getting into trouble for it? Leah didn’t think it was such an odd thing when she told about her experience in school. Then again, it was unusual, but that’s why she mentioned it. People don’t see angels every day.

Or do they?

Tim Downs shares an amazing set of characters with us in this suspenseful story of seeing things as they really are. He keeps our eyes open with expectation as Kemp, Natalie, and Leah make room for all the changes taking place in their lives.

If you’re one of the people who have heard about angels and spiritual beings but still don’t believe in the unseen, after reading Wonders Never Cease, you’ll probably be willing to.

Angelic Visitation

Almost everyone has heard about the angel who spoke to the shepherds about the birth of Jesus. A description of that angelic visitation is found in the Bible (Luke 2:8-20). The event is memorable to many people today, even people who have never read the Bible. People who don’t go to church can hear some of these Luke 2 Bible verses sung in shopping malls during the Christmas season. People who don’t go to church or shopping malls can hear these Bible verses spoken by Linus on the Charlie Brown Christmas Special which is on TV every year.

Why? Because angels are memorable. God has used them many times to bring messages that He wants remembered.

Join me for more on that angelic visitation at my devotional blog Seek God With Me.

Giant, 1956

Rock Hudson stars as Bick Benedict in this enormous, 201 minutes-long story of family. Elizabeth Taylor wins the hearts of everyone as Leslie Benedict, Bick’s wife. Carroll Baker played Elizabeth Taylor’s daughter, Luz Benedict II, even though Taylor was almost a year younger.

Giant was one of the three major movies James Dean completed in his brief career. Dean, Dennis Hopper, and Sal Mineo were cast in both Giant and Rebel Without a Cause. In Giant, Dean was Jett Rink, Bick’s nemesis. Hopper was Bick’s son, Jordy Benedict. Sal Mineo was Angel Obregon II, a memorable character from the Hispanic village.

This is a story of misplaced pride. Texans are known for their emotional connection to their state, aka Texas pride. However, Bick Benedict had a hard time of letting go of the wrong attitudes he’d grown up with.

It’s a story of arrogance. The Benedict family had always treated the Hispanic ranch workers poorly. The workers lived in a village with no doctor. When the new Mrs. Benedict found out, she was appalled. When Mr. Benedict found out she was going to do something to change the situation, he was appalled.

It’s a story of love. Bick Benedict fell in love with Leslie and brought her home to a ranch that already had become set in its ways. The new marriage had to be worked out, as all marriages do, so that both people make adjustments.

It’s a story of envy. Years of friction came to a boiling point at the end of the story. The way the relationships were shown throughout the story showed how a person can face conflict and either be ruined or come away with moral standards intact.

I loved seeing the growth of the characters. Bick was far from being two-dimensional. His children didn’t grow up to be just like him, but had minds of their own. Watching little Angel Jr grow up added a lot to the story.

Earl Holliman was cute as Bob Dace who married Bick’s daughter Judy. Jane Withers was fabulous as Vashti Snythe who was supposed to marry Bick, but became good friends with Leslie. According to, the enormous painting on the Benedicts’ wall found a new home in the Menger Hotel in San Antonio, Texas. The cast visited with locals during the two months of filming outside Marfa, Texas. Some of the locals got to work as extras.

Time Out

I'm taking a brief time out while I tend to my dad in the hospital. He'll be fine, but I have to take time away from what was on my schedule to be with him.

The funny thing is that while I was reading some of the hospital scenes in Tim Downs' new release, Will Wonders Never Cease, I was in the hospital with my dad. I watched the nurses to see if any of them resembled the characters in the book. They didn't.

I'll post the review soon.

A Fierce Angel

The angel who kept Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden was not a weak angel. He was not a fat baby with wings. He had a sword, and he knew how to use it. It had to be a scary sight. You never hear of Adam and Eve trying to do battle with that angel.

This month, I’m going to focus on angels. On my Seek God With Me devotional blog, you’ll find the story of the angel with the flaming sword. Over the next few weeks, look for some new testament angel sightings.

Later on this blog, I'll share a review of Tim Downs' new release, Will Wonders Never Cease, which has an angel in it.

But for now, go ahead and check out what's going on at Seek God With Me.

The Robe, 1953

Richard Burton played Marcellus Gallio, the Roman tribune whose job it was to crucify Jesus Christ. Victor Mature played Demetrius the Greek who gave Marcellus the robe of Jesus, the Robe which changed Marcellus’ life. I liked the fact that Marcellus wasn’t in this movie to be a hero. He did whatever he thought was right, whether he was acting as a Christian or as a Roman. Real heroes don’t try to be heroes. Like Marcellus, they just do what’s right.

Jean Simmons played Diana, the childhood friend of Marcellus. Her character was basically there for those who watch movies to enjoy a good love story. Diana could’ve been taken out, and it still would’ve been a good story simply because it wasn’t about her. It was about Jesus and the effect he had on Demetrius the slave and on Marcellus the tribune.

Michael Ansara played Judas. He had few lines, but noticeable sound effects. “My name is Judas.” (Lightning crash) It was great. I had to laugh out loud because in 1953, people probably jumped in their seat at the special effects and got chill bumps from the dramatic music. Mr. Ansara was in several Biblical movies. He was in Queen Esther in 1948, The Robe in 1953, The Ten Commandments in 1956, and The Greatest Story Ever Told in 1965.

A little known fact about Cameron Mitchell is found on . He was the voice of Jesus in The Robe. Like Ansara, Mitchell’s lines were few, but quite effective.

Another little known fact found on is that a ten-year-old boy named David was played by Harry Shearer, who has been seen on Saturday Night Live and heard on The Simpsons.

The Robe was a big movie on the big screen. It was the first movie to be released in CinemaScope. In the 1950s during the time people first wore special 3D glasses in theaters, The Robe was advertised as “the modern miracle you see without glasses!”

The Cross

The cross of Jesus is one of the biggest topics anyone could cover in a discussion about love. If we look at it with an earthly mindset, the cross doesn’t seem to be about love at all. However, to a Christian, the cross represents the kind of love that is eternal. It represents the biggest love of all time.

On Friday, I’ll review The Robe, a movie from 1953, starring Richard Burton. In that movie, Burton’s character, Marcellus, is one of the people who crucifies Jesus. Marcellus, who is known by the Emperor and is known by the man who will be the next emperor, is influenced more by the powerful presence of Jesus than by any other man. One of the scenes in The Robe is taken from John 19:23-24:
When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.
"Let's not tear it," they said to one another. "Let's decide by lot who will get it."
This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled which said, "They divided my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing." So this is what the soldiers did.

Today on my devotional blog, I’m shining a spotlight on the cross. Because it’s used as a symbol of Christianity, we see it all over the world. Many look at it and feel great emotion, whether it’s love or hate.

So join me at Seek God With Me for a look at the cross.

Ben-Hur, 1959

Ben-Hur was originally a novel by Lew Wallace. This film followed much of what was in the book, which was a look at the life of Judah Ben-Hur, a wealthy Jew who, when thrown into slavery in the galley of a ship for a crime he didn’t commit, vowed revenge. The fictional Judah Ben-Hur crossed the path of Jesus a few times, as well as other famous people of that day. In that sense, he had an almost Forrest Gump-ish life. The scenes with Jesus were carefully played, believable, and important. The movie began at the birth of Jesus with the wise men worshipping, and it stopped at the crucifixion of Jesus, not as an ending, but as a victory.

This powerful film showed passionate love and passionate hate. It showed what revenge looks like on the face of a friend. It showed his loyalty to people he’d known all his life and a bonding with people he’d just met.

The scene with the crowd going up the hillside to hear Jesus preach gave us an opportunity to imagine ourselves in that crowd. Would we follow and listen or turn and be about our business?

The most famous scene in Ben-Hur is the chariot race. The set was enormous and included a few hidden cameras. MGM spent $15 million on the film, and they were glad they did because the film earned $75 million. The chariot race alone had 15,000 extras during the five weeks they filmed it. There were many rumors about stunt men dying a violent death under the hooves of horses. However, I saw the interviews in the special features which verified that the rumors were false. When you look at the “trampling deaths” in the race, you can tell that the body was a dummy (that is, wasn’t alive to begin with).

Directed by William Wyler, this film boasted that it had the biggest cast, the biggest crew, and was the biggest film of its time. It was also a big winner during the Academy Awards where it won 11 Oscars. Four of the winning categories were: Best Picture, Best Actor (won by Charlton Heston), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (won by Hugh Griffith), and Best Director (won by William Wyler). Other Ben-Hur Oscars include: Best Art Direction-Set Direction, Color; Best Cinematography, Color; Best Effects, Special Effects; Best Film Editing; Best Music, Scoring of a dramatic or Comedy Picture; and Best Sound.

With a length of 214 minutes, I was surprised at how well the movie kept my attention throughout, except when I fast-forwarded through the overture and intermission music. The music was gorgeous, but I was more interested in checking out the plot and the superb acting.

Feeding the Five Thousand

As I take a look at big things this month, I can’t help thinking of the time Jesus fed the 5,000 followers with only five loaves and two fish. That seems like an overwhelming task. I can imagine the sharper followers noticing that Jesus and his disciples had come to that remote area in a boat, and they hadn’t brought that much food with them. Where had the food come from? It had to be a miracle.

I think of contemporary miracles and how we take things for granted today. Have we become oblivious to the signs of God’s love? There are many overlooked clues that would lead us to God if we’d only notice them.

I think also of the 1959 blockbuster movie Ben-Hur. This story tells how a man can walk in God’s favor and protection and not even recognize it until he looks back at the overwhelming evidence that has piled up through the years. I’ll post that movie review on Friday.

But today, you can join me on Seek God With Me where I’m taking a look at the compassion of Jesus as he miraculously fed the 5,000.

CJ Darlington’s Thicker than Blood

I was impressed with CJ Darlington’s debut novel, Thicker than Blood, because the story kept me reading until all of the conflicts resolved. There were some things that I thought would certainly happen and they didn’t. But the story had a satisfying ending with room for my imagination to take my guess into the unwritten chapters after the end. Will there be a sequel? I don't know. I hope so!

The scenes which included facts about the antique books were quite interesting. Many authors choose to write on subjects they already know something about. Darlington did a great job with those antiquarian bookseller details.

I was among the crowd of Brandilyn Collins’ blog followers (June 2005) who read on her Forensics & Faith blog the public critique of CJ’s bold offering, a portion of this book. Since then, many have awaited the release of this novel. It was well worth the wait.

This novel is about big issues. I won't list everything that struck me as important because it would give away too much. But I will mention that God was seen in this book as a God of love who can handle all our desperate times.

It's about sisters. I think the conflict between the sisters drew me in emotionally because I have always enjoyed a great relationship with my sister. As I read the story, my heart was pulling for their reunion.

I hope this book proves to be a ginormous success. It's a well-drawn story with big issues, but written with such intimacy that the characters feel real.

From the back cover:
CJ Darlington is the winner of the 2008 Jerry B Jenkins Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel contest for Thicker than Blood, which she began writing as a 15-year old homeschool student. She has been in the antiquarian bookselling business for over a decade, scouting for stores before cofounding her own online bookstore. She also cofounded the Christian entertainment web site Visit her web site at

Noah's Ark

Today at Seek God With Me, I’m taking a look at Noah’s Ark.

Friday, here on Blogging Domino, I’ll be reviewing a novel that has two horses in it.

Seek God With Me is my devotional blog where I take one Bible verse and give encouragement for our journey. I hope you’ll join me there.

The Ten Commandments, 1956

The story of Moses from his escape to the Nile as a baby in a basket to the end of his career as the leader of the Israelites was a big project to film. The conflict between Charlton Heston as the hero Moses and Yul Brynner as his nemesis Rameses was played out well. The conniving Nefretiri, played by Anne Baxter, was constantly between them. I was impressed by Edward G Robinson’s efforts as Dathan. I also enjoyed Vincent Price as Baka and Debra Paget as Lilia.

Cecil B DeMille’s blockbuster took years to plan and film and only 220 minutes to view. Charlton Heston showed off his versatility in playing Moses the son of Pharoah’s daughter and Moses the son of slaves and Moses the messenger of God. It was the same character, but in vastly different mindsets. The transformation of his character showed how God can use anyone who is willing to obey Him. Moses showed many heroic qualities throughout the movie.

Heston persuaded DeMille to use his voice as the voice of God in the burning bush. DeMille took advantage of the fact that Heston’s son was born while the movie was being filmed and cast Heston’s son as baby Moses who was rescued from the Nile by Pharoah’s daughter.

Edith Head was one of the many people working on this film in the Costume and Wardrobe Department. One of my favorite movie costume designers, Edith Head won 8 of the 35 Academy Awards she was nominated for during her career. Working with her was Dorothy Jeakins, a costume designer who won 3 of the 12 Academy Awards she was nominated for during her career. The costumes they created for this movie were outstanding. They were nominated for an Oscar for this film, but lost to The King and I, which also starred Yul Brynner.

The Red Sea

I recently viewed the Cecil B DeMille blockbuster movie The Ten Commandments, starring Charlton Heston. I saw a love story, an adventure, and heroic characters standing up for what was right. I saw what was outstanding, state-of-the-art special effects in that movie, for a 1950s film. Don’t get caught in the trap of comparing those special effects by today’s standards. That was a top of the line movie in 1956. Today, of course, it would certainly look different – and be offered in 3D.

No matter how our technology advances and improves what we see on the big screen, they’ll never be able capture what actually happened. The Red Sea really did split into two walls of water. The Israelites really did walk across the sea on dry ground.

Join me at Seek God With Me for more on the miracles of God.

The Secret Things of God

Have you ever done something no one else has done? Have you been told something no one else has been told? It makes you feel unique and special, doesn’t it?

I have a relationship with God that has grown a lot from when I first met Him. I think any successful relationship is marked with growth. The relationship either grows or gets stagnant.

This relationship gives me opportunities to hear things from God that no one else hears. My relationship with Him makes me feel special and unique. Anyone can have that kind of relationship with God.

Join me at Seek God With Me where I’m taking a look at those entrusted with the secret things of God.

The Secret Ego Issue in Publishing

I was reading Chip MacGregor’s blog to catch up on news in the publishing industry and to grin at the man’s sense of humor when I came across the blog post about ego issues in the publishing world. What? Authors with a pride problem? No way!

So after finishing the article and my chuckling, I tried to think this through on a bigger scale. My conclusion? I think some people get noticed for having ego issues when they get caught wanting things to be done their way. In reality, we all want things done our way.

From loading the dishwasher to deciding which plants should be in certain places in the yard, we all think we know best. After my son cleans his room, I tell him he didn’t do it the “right” way. He responds that he did it his own way (which is obviously better - in his opinion). I think we deal with this in its various versions in all walks of life.

Many authors aren’t chasing celebrity, but trying to squeeze money out of their typing. But just because they don’t see themselves as jumping onto a stage screaming HEY LOOK AT ME (as Chip puts it), it doesn’t mean they don’t have ego issues.

Those who love college professors and [supremely wonderful] editors in publishing houses for their helpful instruction secretly still want to ignore the advice and do things their own way. So since we’re all capable of letting our pride get in the way, when do we need to do our own ego check?

The one who refuses to back down is the ego-maniacal jerk, and the one who submits or negotiates will learn, grow, and succeed.

Am I right?

Secrets Revealed: 3 Things to Avoid on a Date

Every date has great potential for success as long as you know what to avoid. I’ve narrowed down the list to three things everyone can unpack and leave behind when on a date.

1. Nervousness

There’s no reason to be nervous even when you think there’s not enough in common between you. Opposites sometimes really attract each other. Allowing nervousness to creep in on a date can lead to clumsiness: drink-spilling, tripping, or even calling your date the wrong name. It may help to remember the Bible story of Jonah and the whale. In Jonah 1:15 we find the reminder, “Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm.” Figure out if you’re supposed to be on that date. If you are, then the nervousness is the Jonah that should be thrown out so the rest of the date can be salvaged. It’s better to throw out the nervousness than to allow yourself to talk too much on a date, because that can lead to the next thing to avoid.

2. Revealing all of your faults

Nobody’s perfect. We all know this, so there’s no need to bring it up. A date is not the place for a lengthy disclaimer listing all the reasons the date should be unsuccessful. If you trip or spill a glass of water, it can easily be overlooked. Don’t dwell on it. The Bible gives great advice in Philippians 4:8. “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

3. Bragging

The third thing to avoid on a date is going overboard in the other direction. If you start out nervous, make a mistake, and warn your date about the coming deluge of mistakes you think you might be making in the near future, you’ve got to stop yourself. Make sure you don’t overcompensate by telling your date about every award you’ve ever won and all the favorable comments you’ve heard others make about you. The Bible has a word about this too. From Proverbs 27:2, “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; someone else, and not your own lips.”