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 fiancĂ© 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.