Wednesday, February 29, 2012

See/Skip/Savor: To Tintin

As I begin this review, I'll remind you of the assumptions behind See/Skip/Savor: I assume that like me you don't have the money to see a film before it hits the dollar theatre, making my review still timely.

So here's the scoop on the adventures of Tintin. In short, I have never liked this animation style, until today. It wasn't the scenery that got me, although the 3D was well used. Where it really made its mark is in the face of Tintin.

I've heard it said that Tintin is a boy's movie. There is more than enough crashing and "car" chases to earn that label. But as a woman, the expressiveness of Tintin's face never ceased to pull me in and engage me. He was the kind of boy I loved at ten and fourteen: curious and slightly dramatic. He also does lots of great monologuing, which I actually, in all seriousness, adore. He's definitely got the lines of a book character, but his face convinces us that he's in all earnestness enjoying the moment.

Will you occasionally groan? Yes. Will there be the odd incredible escape that is physically impossible? Oh yes. Will there actually be numerous escapes that are absolutely impossible? There will in fact be more than you might be able to handle. Will it be enjoyable though? Yes. Savor it for being fun, enjoyable, and still somewhat surprising.  

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Meeting my needs

This is not the essay I'm supposed to be writing, but I'm going to write this one first.

Today has been an up and down day. By seven in the evening though, I no longer had the emotional strength to do more than cry. This made me mad, so much so that I kept asking Heavenly Father for comfort and was frustrated when I felt like the Spirit didn't send that as I pleaded for it.

I think often on this quote: "God cares for us and watches over us, but it is often through another person that He meets our needs." (I'm sorry I can't find the citation for that right now.)

This is so true in my life that sometimes I don't even recognize it. But tonight, after my slightly demanding prayers, I recognized the several forms of comfort that came. There were two emails in my inbox from friends offering support, love, and assistance.

Tonight, I was supposed to do a class assignment but didn't have the book I needed. After seeing my facebook post about it, a friend I haven't talked to in nearly a year called to offer me his copy. He was willing to drive fifteen minutes just to get it to me. (My favorite part of this story is that he forget he'd already lent his car to someone. That's charity.) Another friend also offered to bring me her copy.

I am blown away by what these people offer me—mercy and love—and by what they teach me. Sometimes I mistakenly think that while God is merciful the world is harsh. It's true that the world can be harsh. But it's more true that God created the world and all the people in it. God is not only merciful when we are on our knees asking for forgiveness and help. His support and grace and love go way beyond those moments. His miracles don't cease at our amens. His Spirit and tender mercies range throughout the world, snatching us up, catching us off guard, and turning our hearts home.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

See/Skip/Savor: My Neighbor Totoro

I'll spare the categories and just cut to the chase: see My Neighbor Totoro and savor it. I was afraid it would scare me. I was afraid I wouldn't like it. I was afraid I would miss something by not watching it with subtitles. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get it back to the library. I was afraid I'd never get it to play on a computer past the first five minutes.

I am obviously afraid of many things. I watched it in spite of those. It's a children's movie after all, right? Yes. And no. It's a movie for everyone. For me though, it was a movie for the mom I am not yet: both literally and spiritually.

I'm afraid of more things than just not liking movies. Unlike Satsuki and Mei, I'm afraid of the dark. I'm afraid of things hiding in corners. I'm afraid of monsters. I'm afraid of ghosts. These are things we normally stop fearing once we're no longer little kids. I think Satsuki and Mei have beaten me to overcoming these though. They step into the darkness with a loud growl and a laugh to scare away anything scary. This is a lovely method, but can a grown woman scream every time the sun goes down?

I'm afraid of my own children some day coming to me with fears that I also have: things under the bed, making new friends, and dark spaces. I need to respond with comfort, proper assurance, and real answers—things I need to give myself now.

I'm afraid of worse things: like losing children. I recognize that I'll become an over-bearing mother who can't let her kids out of her sight. Though I recognize that, I'm determined not to become that. As Satsuki and Mei ran around free in their world, I was nervous. I wanted them to be safe. I wanted someone to know where they were at all times. But as the movie went forward, my worries left. The example of trusting, loving, and hopeful parents stood in place of what I feared. Their children were taken up by a cat bus, for crying out loud, and I was totally okay with that. It's a safe world. My children won't have a Totoro exactly, but are we not constantly encircled in the care of angels? I believe that. I can trust that. I can let my children run. I can escape my own fears.         

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

You know enough

When people think of Mormons, they often see us as a people bound up by rules. They might mistakenly think that our entire religion is a great list of dos and do nots. It's easy even for myself to start thinking that my relationship with God is based entirely on the commandments. I do know that God gives us commandments for our good, for our safety, and for our growth. However, His first commandment to us is to love Him. There must be faith, hope, and charity in our lives. Obeying His counsel helps us to develop those, but they are also conditions of the heart that we must choose to live with.

Moroni 10:23 says, "And Christ truly said unto our fathers: If ye have faith ye can do all things which are expedient unto me." It is through our faith that Heavenly Father manifests His power in our lives. In the video below, Elder Neil Andersen talks about how this simple principle is at the heart of what we should focus on in our lives.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Canadian Heritage? It sounds as ridiculous as American Heritage really is

"Smart girls like us, we can get at least a C on multiple choice tests without even going to class," I told my roommate, Aneka.

Aneka notified me that while this is true, the test she was about to take was for American Heritage—the most infamously terrible and unpassable class in the history of BYU. This class makes grown men cry. Though designed for freshmen, even a seasoned college student will only scrape by with lots of effort.

More importantly though, Aneka is Canadian. They definitely don't prepare you to take American Heritage in Canada.

Of course, Aneka would study and prepare and nail this test on a normal week. These past few weeks have been anything but normal. She's been distracted by this brown-haired man who has two broken thumbs but seems to love her still the same. In our apartment, we're learning to let love trump all other pursuits. American Heritage didn't stand a chance. All you can do at that point is pray though, since in some realm of the universe, it still matters whether Jefferson declared the pursuit of happiness or whether that came from John Locke.

I was at work when I got this text: "I got a 73! I don't even know what letter that is cause I've never done so bad, but I'm so happy!"

This sign that things work out made me so happy that I started crying right then and there for Aneka who got a C and the boy who can't use his thumbs.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

"How can I become the woman of whom I dream?"

Over the past few days, the title of this talk by President Hinckley keeps coming to my mind.

"You are creatures of divinity; you are daughters of the Almighty. Limitless is your potential. Magnificent is your future, if you will take control of it. Do not let your lives drift in a fruitless and worthless manner."

Friday, February 17, 2012

In which I appreciate C Jane

I tend to fluctuate in my love and hate of C Jane, but at the end of the day, I must always confess that she is a great writer. After watching this vlog on her fifth love though, I must also confess today that she is a great person who is not so different from myself.

On the clatter of children

As a single woman, I've become unrealistically and unnecessarily dependent on silence. It's because I'm selfish sometimes. I think, "My brain can only handle this homework assignment if I have utter and total silence so that I can concentrate on it."

I sell my brain short. I also sell the Spirit short too. I forget that even in the noise and craziness of the world, thinking clearly is still an option. God won't abandon me because it's loud around me. We need quiet time to think and ponder. This is certainly true, and it's true that we need to search for and create that quiet time to have more intimate moments with the Spirit and with ourselves. But this need not happen at the expense of those people around us who need to share a space with us.

When I break out of my silent studying, I come to the Erying Science Center on campus, which is filled with little science demonstrations. Today as usual, the building was filled with second graders clanking ropes, weighing space matter, and generally enjoying their lunch. Rather than distracting, it was cleansing and clearing.

As part of my studying, I read a small snippet about how Americans have a sense of space, rather than one of place. We are not rooted in our surroundings, but instead fix our focus on what is outside of just where we are, riveting on a horizon and a future before us. I'm not sure if this is a good thing or not. I feel this endearment and this desire in my heart for the clatter of children around me, but I get nervous when it comes too close. I shouldn't be. God sanctifies us in close conditions of sound, silence, and heart beats. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

An interesting story on what it means to be a woman

BYU Women's Services and Resources: Model gives up Victoria Secret career

At the link above you'll find some interesting coverage about a former Victoria's Secret model who gave up what she was doing to make a return to virtue. I haven't watched the interview yet, but what I like most about what I read is how this is a choice. She could have picked many ways of working around this, and she choose to just stop. I admire her for her awareness of issues, but mostly I admire her for her willingness to do something about it.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Letter to the Mother with One Child

My first thought as I glanced at this article was jealousy that there are 601 comments on it. Then I read it. If all of those 601 comments are good and positive, Simcha Fisher deserves every one of them.

These are beautiful thoughts, which I agree with completely. (I wouldn't disagree as I don't have the credentials for that.) I wanted to share it with my readers, because I want to hear your thoughts as women, girls, inbetween those two, mothers, grandmothers, and even as men, boys, and fathers.

You can read the article here, Then come back here and share some comments. What part of this resonates with you the most?

Here's what resonates with me: we have so many expectations of what we are capable of and of how things should feel. We are usually wrong: we are capable of everything, and there is always deep joy to be had somewhere.

I include this picture of my brother and me from about five years ago because this was a moment when we were deeply grateful for my mom, who tried to get us to win her a cake at the elementary school cake walk for twelve years, between the two of us. At the last time possible, we did it.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Skip it/See it/Savor it: Midnight in Paris

The story: Owen Wilson wanders Paris while his fiance engages in all kinds of nonsense. I'm on Owen's side, but then when am I not? I'm always impressed at his charm and acting abilities no matter who he plays. This Owen had me feeling sorry for the ridiculous selfishness of his fiance. May of you have probably never seen a Woody Allen film before. I never had, but I read part of the script for When Harry Met Sally once in a book of scenes for actors. After about seven years, it sticks with me still. This film didn't carry the wit and sharpness I expected, but the sincerity of it was nice, even if that was only something I extrapolated onto the film from the Allen name.   

What's it got to do with loving and being loved? At one point, Ernest Hemingway says, "Cowardice is not loving or not loving well, which is the same thing." I didn't see that moment coming at me, but it hit me like the sea. I can't say that the rest of the film really supports the sentiment in a way I subscribe to, but I'm going to take this phrase and use it for all it's worth to me.

The verdict: See it. It's worth some contemplation, if only to say you have seen a Woody Allen movie. 

Concerned about cleanliness? I'll direct you to Parent Previews here.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Skip it/See it/Savor it: We begin with boots

I'm pleased to announce the beginning of something lovely that will be happening on this blog, generally on that splendid day of Tuesday, which is also discount night at the dollar theater. I call it Skip it/See it/Savor it.

Here's how it works: 1) I make the general assumption that like me you are too poor to see movies very often before they hit the dollar theater and that you often use the dollar theater and RedBox to compensate for that. 2) I go see a movie from one of those locations. And 3) I give you my reccomendation based on the most important factors. Keep in mind that these recommendations are based on the idea that you're only going to spend a dollar. Let's give it a go.

The film: Puss n' Boots

The story: I've never made it through any of the Shrek movies. They don't appeal to me.  So, I was hesitant to give this movie a shot. But surprisingly Byron, Puss n' Boots satisfied my need for entertainment, a bit of laughter, and just enough real meat to think on. 

What's it got to do with loving and being loved: Friends are worth having, even when they don't always come through. In the end, real love and friendship do bring good things.

The verdict: Savor it, despite its rough edges. This film is worth seeing and worth enjoying.

Concerned about cleanliness: I'll direct you to Parent Previews here for their content advisory, but mostly I'd say it's manageable.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Go dinos, go: Agatha and I make friends for real this time

This web comic used to stress me out. I've been reading it over the past week, though and I think this strip is the one where I finally connected with it. I recommend skipping back a few and checking it out.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Going somewhere?

This semester I'm working as the assistant managing editor and the web director of Stowaway magazine. Stowaway is a travel magazine for young adults who like to go to the most exotic of places for the price of Provo. It's got great photography and great tips. While you're looking forward to my articles in the fall 2012 issue, you can get started reading the winter 2012 issue at this link
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