An Adventure Of A Lifetime

When this post is published, I will be in the midst of an adventure. I am currently at the beach with my wife and daughter. This is her first extended trip away from home and her first trip to the beach. Through it all, this has been the adventure of her lifetime (and if I am being honest, mine).

This adventure is special because it is the first time we have ever been away for nearly a week as a family. Instead of leaving her with family, we decided to embark on the unknown and take it on as a family. I have learned that there is nothing quite like it. Much like parenting in general, you can think you are prepared and yet you know nothing. Until you have been down this path paved with thistles and roots, you cannot truly understand the difficulty of it. Now, don’t get me wrong, for the most part she is well behaved and has a very joyful demeanor, but it is difficult to occupy her.

Through these past few days, I have learned that a toddler doesn’t have very much of an attention span. We had these grand plans and thoughts of all the things we could do and yet we have had to work very hard to accomplish even a fraction of it. We knew that she would need a nap in the middle of the day. We anticipated laying her in the stroller and letting her nap, but that has not happened. She would rather use the stroller as a climbing mechanism instead of actually relaxing in it. I have learned that we have to take whatever we plan to do and reduce it to twenty-five percent of that.

A heartwarming family film is releasing this week.  Distributed by AMBI Distribution, BEYOND THE SUN, is a modern day tale of hope, faith and courage based on stories from the Bible. This delightful family movie chronicles the adventures of four young friends in search of God.

The film features a very rare special appearance by Pope Francis.  In support of the film, AMBI Media Group is holding a special contest where one lucky winner will win an Exclusive Private Tour of the Vatican and Front Row Tickets to an Audience with The Pope For Four! 

For anyone who has ever wanted to visit Italy and The Vatican, this is your chance!  For additional details about the contest and to enter, please go to:

www.freetriptorome.com.

BEYOND THE SUN will be available for purchase across multiple platforms including iTunes, Amazon, and TUGG onMay 15th.

Advertisements

Unashamedly Pro-Life

Let me state upfront that I am still working through what it means to be completely pro-life. I understand that when most people hear that word they think about whether or not a person supports abortion and the right for a woman to choose whether or not to continue a pregnancy. I recognize that the issues go deeper than just this one situation, but for the sake of this post, that is where I am focusing my efforts. Related specifically to this definition, I am unashamedly pro-life.

I get that may be a difficult and even unpopular opinion to hold in today’s society; however, that is my camp. In some ways, I found it easy to say this all the time through high school and college, but found had to confront it face to face during my wife’s first pregnancy. We wrestled with a difficult situation during that season of our life.

We were over the moon excited about the thought of our first child being born. We had some things planned out and even figured out an expected due date. Things sort of transpire in that way and rapidly. From the very first doctor’s appointment, you are given a due date as if to somehow prepare you for the arrival of a child (for fair warning, no matter how many steps you have taken, it is not enough). What we did not expect is for the doctor to give a pause and a sigh.

From that very point, I knew that something was not quite right; however, in the moment the doctor sought to console us and told us to come back in a few days. He thought (maybe, it remains a mystery) that he may have just missed being able to detect a heartbeat.  Through a heart-breaking and gut-wrenching couple of weeks and multiple doctor’s visits, the pregnancy simply was not viable. There was nothing that we did or did not do that could have altered the state of the pregnancy. We were simply apart of another statistic in life.

One of the interesting things that the doctor told us was that there was new evidence that suggested that a large percentage of pregnancies ended with a miscarriage. He stated that the evidence suggested it could be fifty-percent or more. Whether or not this percentage is true, the experience marked me forever. After seeing and living this first-hand, I know just a small part of what it is like to live with these emotions. Our second pregnancy brought forth a beautiful, healthy girl who will turn two years old in just a couple of months. Add to it the fact that I am a man, I do not begin to claim that I am an expert.

What I do know is that it further engrained in me my belief in being against abortion. In that brief period of a couple of weeks, I truly saw just how valuable and unpredictable life can be at times. There is no such thing as a guarantee. The fact that a pregnancy results in a birth is nothing short of miraculous. Protecting life is important to me because I recognize how fast the hope of life can be gone. In relation to this, there is a new movie coming out that is all about protecting an innocent life.

image001

Synopsis

Wraith (rāth) noun: a ghost or ghostlike image of someone, especially one seen after, or shortly before, their death

Something’s very wrong in the Lukens’ house.

After living uneventfully for years in their historic home, the Lukens family have somehow awakened a ghostly presence. Who is this frightening spirit and why won’t it leave their 14 year-old daughter, Lucy, alone?

Everything changed when Dennis and Katie Lukens discovered they were pregnant again. Expecting in your 40’s is always high-risk and dangerous, so when the Lukens decide all options are on the table – including termination – the unexpected starts to happen. Sinister forces are now conspiring against the family. But is this eerie, wraith-like spirit actually trying to haunt them…or help them?

Wraith is available on all VOD platforms and Blu-ray/DVD May 8th.  

www.wraiththemovie.com

From writer-director Michael O. Sajbel, Wraith explores the super-natural story of a family who invites evil into their home after they decide they may not go forward with an unplanned pregnancy. Sajbel, who previously directed One Night With the King based on the Biblical story of Esther was raised Catholic, wanted to present a story about protecting the most innocent of life. “Growing up in a household rooted in God was my biggest influence when I decided to become a filmmaker. On my application to film school at UCLA, when I filled out the forms there was one question in particular that asked, “Why do you want to go to our film school?” I thought I’d put God to the test and put down that I wanted to make films that honor Jesus Christ and spread the gospel throughout the world.” He was accepted which began his journey into filmmaking.

When it came to the sensitive subject about pro-life, he wanted a different take by creating a supernatural-thriller. Sajbel, who is a father of three adopted children, believes in the sanctity of all life. “I had not seen a film about this subject matter presented this way and wanted audiences to have fun with a little twist but to also incorporate a very important message about valuing all life no matter how complicated it can get. We see the Lukens couple struggle with this decision about whether they can afford another child and Mrs. Lukens age and how there could be medical complications and her overall concerns with having a baby at her age. I wanted to convey that no matter what – God provides and the value of protecting an innocent life.  Wraith gives us a chance to present this important message in a very unique way.”

Website: www.wraiththemovie.com

Hashtag: #Wraiththemovie

Genre: Supernatural Thriller

Rating: PG-13

VOD/DVD Release date: May 8, 2018

Cast: Jackson Hurst, Ali Hillis, Lance Henriksen, Jensen Buchanan, Catherine Frances, Lily Hansen

Director: Michael O. Sajbel

Writer: Michael O. Sajbel

Producer: Dennis H. Ranke, Michael O. Sajbel

Director of Photography: Antonio Mata

Composer: James Covell

Like us on Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/wraiththemovie/

Twitter:                       https://twitter.com/wraiththemovie

Instagram:                   https://www.instagram.com/wraithmovie

 

 

Book Review: How To Ruin Your Life

At first glance How To Ruin Your Life by Eric Geiger is a book that you would not want to read. After all, who wants to ruin their life? However, as you can probably guess, the contents from the book are far from a step by step instruction manual to this process, but instead are a guide of what to look for to avoid this situation. We can slowly drift into situations where we can easily ruin our life. Geiger set out to give us characteristics that we should look for before it is too late.

howtoruinyourlife

We gain this knowledge by looking at the life of David (and Saul to some extent). Rather than simply gathering the points and then communicating, Geiger has taken us on a journey through the life of David. What we see through this journey is not only the steps to make sure to ruin your life (if you choose, but I would recommend not doing it), but also how to respond when we do blow it.

Geiger knows that despite how much we may fight against it, we may blow it in the major things and will blow minor situations. We all may not commit adultery, but we will all surely miss out on a deadline that we agreed to or break a promise to our kids to be at their baseball game. I am thankful that Eric included the steps of confession and celebration towards the end of the book. It does someone no good to make a choice that can ruin their life and then sit there and do nothing about it. Confession is good for the heart and it is an excellent virtue to adhere to early in life.

You may think that you do not need this book that there is no way that you will set out and make a decision that will ruin your life. The problem is, as Eric points out, boredom and complacency is a great spot for us to make one foul move. You need to know how to combat it and this book will help. It would benefit everyone to get this book, read it, and live by it.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review. The words above are my own and have not been influenced in any way other than the written manuscript of the book.

Thoughts on Yesteryear

I have to be honest. I have always been a little nerdy. I am not a full-blown, suspenders and pocket protector type of guy, but I always have had a nerdy side. What most folks do not realize is that I also had (maybe it’s still in me) a musical side as well. Starting a rock band in high school is one of my proudest accomplishments.

I learned that in order to be proficient, one has to be willing to spend a large amount of time making the same mistakes over and over and over. It would be nearly impossible to count the number of times that I played the notes on a guitar for some songs. It is impossible to truly master a musical instrument as there is always something new to learn and new patterns to discover. The biggest challenge for me to have any sort of proficiency was finding time to practice. As a teenager, it was difficult to find any spare time, much less hours to produce a lot of voluminous noise in your parents’ home.

The word accomplishment must be used loosely though. We never made it to gigging outside of about an hour from our hometown. We never made any legitimate recordings. It was a little too early for folks to have the ease of recording like they do now. Sure, there was software and we had access to a soundboard, but the best we could hope for was a direct feed from there into a 1/8″ soundboard input on a computer. Part of this could have also been due to our inability as teenagers to acquire funding to purchase the necessary equipment. Either way, it still stands out as an accomplishment due to the tenacity I learned through it.

I think that we are shown throughout our life that we only have to become good enough and not great. We only have to become good enough at writing to pass a test, but we do not have to become proficient like C. S. Lewis. We only have to become a good enough driver to pass the exam with the instructor. We only have to become a good enough musician to fool the audience. If we want to become great, we must be prepared to make the same mistake again and again and again. Each and every time we must be willing to start again and do it better than the last time. The inching progress eventually adds up to substantial gains.

The experience of never making it far has taught me that you must never outgrow your roots. It would have been easy to have categorized ourselves as a success and in some ways we were at the time. We had a small following and had the making of a great thing, but the wheels fell off before we truly got started. Life happened and it slowly took our time and spread the bandmates in opposite directions. At the end of the day, we were a semi-large fish in the circle we were in, but that fame didn’t last. The majority of people will revert back to a life of relative anonymity after a successful career. We must never forget that in the end, no one makes it out of life alive. We are all destined for greatness, but we are destined to also perish. We cannot take life too seriously. That is what I want to pass along to my daughter.

Speaking of tenacity and sticking to it, there is a new movie coming out this Friday (April 6) called The Miracle Season. I have outlined some of the details of the film below:

MiracleSeason_FinalPoster

Synopsis: Based on the inspiring true story of West High School girls’ volleyball team.  After the tragic death of the school’s star player Caroline “Line” Found, the remaining team players must band together under the guidance of their tough-love coach in hope of winning the state championship.

Director: Sean McNamara

Writers: David Aaron Cohen, Elissa Matsueda

Producers: Mickey Liddell, Pete Shilaimon, Mark Ciardi, Scott Holroyd

Genre: Drama

Cast: Helen Hunt, William Hurt, Danika Yarosh, Erin Moriarty

Production Company: LD Entertainment

Distributor: LD Entertainment / Mirror

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WyHB9D2Su0&feature=youtu.be

Book Review: Being A Christian

I will be the first to admit, I have heard more about Jason Allen more than I have heard or read from him. I am glad that he took the time to write Being A Christian. This is a timely read for every person who follows Jesus. There is more to being a Christian than simply praying a prayer.

being_a_christian

People can be quick to check a box on a form somewhere identifying as a Christian, but they rarely give full thought to what it means. We ought to be about more than checking a box, but we may not know where to go or to live a life. Thankfully, Jason takes the time to give us ten short chapters that show just how deep our walk with Jesus should go. These chapters are ten parts of our life that ought to look different because Jesus is in them.

Instead of simply looking for Jesus to change our eternal destination, we should see how he changes all of our life from our vocation to our family to our past. Jesus exists through it all and works through everything. We are to not only see him moving in our midst, but also to continue to seek after him so that we may become more like him.

Being A Christian would be a great book for anyone. It is short enough that you can read the entire thing one Saturday morning. However, it is deep enough that you can read it multiple times and see it differently every way. It would be the perfect book to offer a new Christian as it outlines basic truths that are applicable to everyday life. It would be the perfect book to offer someone who has followed Christ for a decade. It is that important.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review. The words above are my own and have not been altered in any way by the author or publisher.

Television Documentary – POPE: The Most Powerful Man in History

Let me preface this entire post by saying, I am not Catholic. In fact, I have plenty of qualms with their theology. This does not mean that I do not understand their role in human history. Despite my qualms, they are a vital player in the faith community and must be recognized for their influence.

cnn the pope

POPE: The Most Powerful Man in History explores the truth about the one world leader who is neither politician nor general – but commands the attention of both. For more than 2000 years, the head of the Roman Catholic Church has wielded unimaginable influence – shaping the world and our daily lives in surprising ways. Now, combining never-before-seen footage, exclusive interviews, and dramatic recreations, this upcoming six-part television series focuses on the men who have held this unique and complicated position, and reveals the unexpected true stories from the Vatican’s past. The series also delves into the important historical moments that forever changed the Catholic Church – from the foundations of the Reformation to the origins of a new religious order within Catholicism – the Jesuits. The series premieres on Sunday, March 11 on CNN.

As part of the new series, you can win a trip to Rome. All you need to do is visit www.myvaticanvacation.com to register.  The contest runs from March 8 thru April 15th. The trip includes:

  • Airfare and five nights of hotel accommodations for two in Rome.
  • A $500 gift card.
  • A rare and private tour of The Vatican.  

It seems like a great trip and one that I would not mind to embark on with you, if you win (hint, hint, wink, wink).

Series Trailer:

 

 

Review: CSB Christ Chronological

CSB Christ Chronological is a new resource by B&H Publishing. While I could spend lots of time talking about how much I have enjoyed this product, I figure a summation is better suited. This product takes all four Gospels and puts them side by side with the other Gospels in a chronological fashion. If that is clear as mud, keep reading.

christ_chronological

In essence you wind up may wind up with all four Gospels side by side by side by side or only three. There are instances where an account of Jesus’ life is only recorded in one Gospel. In those situations you only see the one Gospel, but then as soon as there is a change in the time, then you get the next event with however many accounts there are. I promise it is a lot easier to understand when you see it.

There is an occasional bit of background story and supplemental notes before various passages of Scripture, but not a ton. This is not a good resource if you are looking to study Jesus’ life in depth; however, it is definitely valuable if you want to read about his life in a chronological fashion without having to flip back and forth between Gospel accounts. This would be an excellent resource in anyone’s personal collection. It is a little larger in size than most books, but it is not overwhelming.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review. The words here are my own and have not been influenced in any way than the finished product.