Forever My Girl

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I am old. At least, I feel like I am old when it comes to the idea of courtship in this modern culture. To give a fair assessment, I am only thirty-one; however, I have been with Leighann (my wife of eight years) for nearly fourteen of those thirty-one. To say that I am out of touch with the dating scene would be an understatement, but I do think I have some wisdom to share. In fact, I am going to take a few minutes and do just that. So, sit back and listen to me ramble from my proverbial rocker.

Social media has made a courtship (or dating if you prefer the term) relationship much more complex than it ought to be. The relationship I have with Leighann has a foundation laid before the rise of social media and has managed to thrive through it all. I still remember chatting with her on my dial-up internet during the days of MSN Messenger (I am not going to be offended if you have to Google that). In fact, I had a Facebook account before she did as I was able to establish one when it was opened to my college in my freshman year. Yes, I am one of the ones that still remember it as “The Facebook” and when it was actually practical and allowed you to see other classmates so you could connect for actual educational purposes. There is one takeaway I cannot stress enough when it comes to navigating the courting waters in the days of constant social media:

Establish Boundaries

That’s it. Establish boundaries prior to accepting someone’s friend request. Establish boundaries for what is acceptable for your significant other to tag you in on their feed. (Do you really need another animated, glittering rose to express your undying love for someone you started dating earlier this week?) Establish boundaries of how much of your story you will share on social media.

There will be times that you do not need to share how this person has made you feel because, honestly, it stinks right now. There are things that are better communicated outside of your last Facebook post where your entire friends list can read your life like a newspaper. There are hilarious photos that do not need to be uploaded and your significant other tagged in! (I learned that the hard way with a photo of Leighann stuffing a muffin in her mouth in a hotel room in Manhattan before we were to head out for the day. I did not do myself any favors by adding the caption “Doing what she does best.” Yes, it stayed up for all of fifteen minutes before I was required to take it down. What was done in jest turned into a life lesson that I will never repeat.)

If you are going to be in a relationship (any at this point, but dating specifically) you need to establish boundaries on social media. It is a good habit to start and you may as well start early. In some ways, the cultivating of true, deep relationships can be missed by constantly focusing on social media. Instead of enjoying the presence of the other we can be consumed with making sure we take the right photos to make our dessert on date look great. We can lose site of the fact that relationships change and people change by trying to groom the other into becoming a picturesque version of the thing we saw on our favorite sitcom last week. We must fight against the desire to overshare and over glamorize our lives. We do this by establishing boundaries prior to entering into this relationship. I want a life that will outlive Instagram and Snapchat. I want to be known deeply by one who accepts me, flaws and all. I want someone that is willing to sacrifice the perfect for the pursuit of presence.

Forever My Girl tells the story of music super-star Liam Page (Alex Roe) who left his bride, Josie (Jessica Rothe), at the altar choosing fame and fortune instead. However, Liam never got over Josie, his one true love, nor did he ever forget his Southern roots in the small community where he was born and raised. When he unexpectedly returns to his hometown for the funeral of his high school best friend, Liam is suddenly faced with the consequences of all that he left behind. Forever My Girl is an uplifting romantic film about second chances. It releases in theaters on January 19.


Paddington 2 – Upcoming Movie

I admit, I was hesitant to see the first Paddington movie. I mean, can you imagine a grown man and wife wandering into a theater to see it? Now that I have a toddler, I am excited to see the sequel. My daughter is at an age where, although she may love Paddington 2, she will greatly enjoy it. Paddington 2 releases to theaters on January 12, 2018.


Synopsis: Following the worldwide hit “Paddington,” one of the most successful family films of all time, this much-anticipated sequel finds Paddington (Ben Whishaw) happily settled with the Brown family in London, where he has become a popular member of the local community, spreading joy and marmalade wherever he goes.

While searching for the perfect present for his beloved Aunt Lucy’s hundredth birthday, Paddington sees a unique pop-up book in Mr. Gruber’s antique shop, and embarks upon a series of odd jobs to buy it. But when the book is stolen, it’s up to Paddington and the Browns to unmask the thief.

Paddington 2 stars: Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey), Hugh Grant (Four Weddings and a Funeral), Sally Hawkins (Jayne Eyre), Brendan Gleeson (Into the Storm), Julie Walters (Mamma Mia) and Ben Whishaw (The Hollow Crown) as the voice of Paddington.


To Seek Justice Is Admirable

I have been involved with my town government for a few years now. It is something that is rewarding, but also has its share of challenges. There are times where you feel your efforts are not worth the effort or even where you know someone is being taken advantage of in order to benefit someone else. It may happen all the time, but it does not mean it is right.

Throughout my time I have been introduced to many people and one that stands out to me is an older, retired lady who has lived in the town for about fifty years. Despite this fact, many people still consider her an outsider. That has not stopped her for standing up in the face of opposition for the good of every citizen of the town. I have learned a lot by observing her and understanding what it means to persist even in the face of all odds.

She is one member of the town that I admire because she has been given a multitude of reasons to quit and simply pass her remaining days in peace; however, she has made it a point to keep seeking justice. While I would have likely said when I retire that I would not want to be bothered with such issues, she has shown me that my thoughts were not appropriate. I should seek the justice of others at all times in my life, even when I may not feel like pursuing it. In the end I have to ask myself if I would be willing to die for this person since I admire her? I would like to take the Christian way out and say yes since that is what the love of Christ compels us to do, but I cannot make that statement because in the heat of the moment anything is possible.

The Promise is a new movie releasing next Friday (April 21) starring Christian Bale. It is a story of sacrifice and love. It centers on two characters who model sacrifice and justice in their own way. I for one cannot wait to see it when it comes out and I hope that you will go see it as well. The movie trailer and poster are below.


An Unwanted Child

I do not have to look far for a courageous woman in my life. I wake up to her decision every morning. You see, my wife was a child conceived out of wedlock. While this may be more socially acceptable now, during the late 1980s in the rural Appalachian region, this was something to be shunned. This truth is not one that we promote, but it is one that we do not consider a secret.

It would have been easier for my mother-in-law to have cast her child off and left her forever, but instead she chose to overcome the obstacles in front of her. She wound up marrying the father of my wife and the two remain married to this day. In the early years of my wife’s life this meant her mom was the sole provider of the home as her dad had some vices he had to work through.

Through getting to know her through the past decade, she has encouraged me to take risks that I didn’t know would actually materialize. Instead of sitting back and wondering what might have been, she has instilled in me a desire to make the best of my situations. If things do not always work out exactly the way I had planned, then call an audible and do the work to make it happen.

Is there a woman in your life that has taught you to overcome obstacles? If so, I would love to hear about her in the comments.

The Zookeeper’s Wife is a new film coming out that will inspire you to stand tall in the face of your opposition, whatever that may be. You can find the synopsis and a trailer below:


In 1939 Poland, Antonina Żabińska (portrayed by two-time Academy Award nominee Jessica Chastain) and her husband, Dr. Jan Żabiński (Johan Heldenbergh, a European Film Award nominee for the Academy Award-nominated The Broken Circle Breakdown), have the Warsaw Zoo flourishing under his stewardship and her care. When their country is invaded by the Germans, Jan and Antonina are stunned and forced to report to the Reich’s newly appointed chief zoologist, Lutz Heck (Golden Globe Award nominee Daniel Brühl of Captain America: Civil War). To fight back on their own terms, the Żabińskis covertly begin working with the Resistance and put into action plans to save lives out of what has become the Warsaw Ghetto, with Antonina putting herself and even her children at great risk.


Zookeeper’s Wife Trailer

An Unlikely Champion

It is hard to believe that I will be thirty years old next month. A new decade approaches and I am not sure what it will bring. What I do know it will bring is a chance for people overcome their situations and become an unlikely champion. I have seen it happen in a few lives. I live in a fairly rural area where there are many people living in poverty. I know the region and its struggles and have tasted them myself.


Today’s post I want to talk about one individual who has become an unlikely champion. I went to high school with the individual and, at the time, he was known for his mischievous ways. He was always looking to instigate some sort of joke or spout off a comment or take some sort of action to provoke a response from those in leadership. It was not that he was a terrible guy, but rather one that liked to press the buttons.

After high school, he took a couple of years to find himself. That is the best way to put it, I suppose. He had a small run in with a police officer and had to fight a battle in the courtroom. Rather than letting this be his new normal and the way things would be for the rest of his life, he found mentors that were willing to help guide him to a better way of living. He had to overcome the obstacles of his past and his locality, but these can be see as excuses or a reason to put in the extra work required to make a better life.

He then enrolled at the college with the determination to not only survive, but thrive. Through the guidance of some inspirational figures around him, he managed to complete his degree in business and economics and was sought after as an employee when he graduated. He has since moved out of state, but now has a thriving career with nothing but potential in a field that is growing.  I fully expect him to be one of the most successful individuals to come out of our small town, but it was not without work.

I am thrilled that there are inspirational movies being pushed to the big screen. This Friday (September 30th), Disney is releasing a new film called Queen of Katawe and it is one that will inspire you. If you are like me, you may not have heard of the film before now. However, after watching the short clip below I cannot wait to see it for myself.

Who knows, maybe I will see you there!


My Favorite Hillsong Song

The title seems generic and almost a tongue twister to where you question if this will be a thoughtful post. Truthfully, it is and my answer is different today than it was last year and that it will be next year.

Narrowing down the catalogue of Hillsong songs is quite difficult. It’s difficult enough as it is, but if you consider United and Young & Free, you add even more great songs that fight their way to the top. I have always had a drawing towards the United stuff simply because I believe it resonated with me more during my teen years than the Hillsong Worship and Y&F was not even an idea there. So, what is my favorite Hillsong song?

Right now I would have to select Scandal of Grace as my top song from Hillsong. Could it change tomorrow? Yes. Will it change? Maybe. This one has meant a lot to me since I first heard it a few years back. It was reinforced even more after my visit to Hillsong New York where Brian Houston brought a message by the same title. It helped solidify just how scandalous the death of Christ was and still is. When you understand the nature of a scandal and how Jesus was willing to be involved in this for us, it puts everything else in perspective.

That’s my favorite song from any Hillsong outfit at the moment. I hope to hear more songs just like it on the big screen when I view their new movie Let Hope Rise when it is released on September 16th.

Do go out and support the film. I have known about it for quite some time now and am even more excited now than I was when it was first mentioned.

Do you have a favorite song from Hillsong? If so, I would love to hear your thoughts.

God’s Not Dead 2 and Giveaway

Do you want some free stuff? Keep reading. 

God’s Not Dead 2 is about taking a stand. It’s about courage and faith. This movie will encourage us to reflect on our own lives and ask ourselves the question whether we have the courage and faith to fight for our God-given right to share and express our beliefs no matter the cost.

The film’s central theme of religious liberty is a hot topic being addressed in our classrooms, courtrooms and national news today.

The film directed by Harold Cronk stars Melissa Joan Hart, Jesse Metcalfe, David A.R. White, Pat Boone, Hayley Orrantia, Benjamin Oyango, Paul Kwo, Ray Wise, Sadie Robertson, and Robin Givens. There are also cameo appearances by Gov. Mike Huckabee, leading Christian apologist Lee Strobel and The Newsboys.

Brief Synopsis:

From the college classroom of GOD’S NOT DEAD to the public square in GOD’S NOT DEAD 2, the name of Jesus is welcomed less and less with each passing day. If Christians don’t take a stand today, will we even have a choice tomorrow? The film takes you back to Hope Springs, home to the University, but also Martin Luther King Jr. High School, where beloved teacher Grace Wesley teaches her passion, history. Her love of teaching, her love for her students, and her love of life all come from the same place: her love of Christ. When a student asks a question regarding Jesus in class, Grace’s answer causes her to face an epic court case, that could expel God from the classroom.


Do you want some swag from the movie? Leave me a comment and let me know if you plan on seeing it and who you are planning to take. I’ll randomly select a winner from the comments on Friday, April 8th at 8pm EST.