Reunions Reminders and Reflections

My 20th high school reunion was this past weekend (and even thinking about it now just seems weird it has been that long).  It was a good time spent over a couple of days both at (what turned out to be homecoming) football game Friday night and then gathering and dinner on Saturday night.  I got to see some friends I hadn’t seen since the 10 year reunion and then some I hadn’t seen in probably 20 years.

I have to admit I was kinda surprised that so many were so excited to see me.  Not that I don’t appreciate it, I do.  I just feel like growing up it took a long time for me to fit in.  Probably not until really my senior year did I feel like I belonged.  I think that’s the case of growing up in one town and going to school in another town.  Looking back, going to school where I did made me into who I am today.  If I hadn’t went to school there, I would be very different I would imagine.  So I appreciate where I went and the friends I had there.

I had one friend come up and say to me “You haven’t changed a bit!”  I laughed and was like “Was that a good thing or a bad thing?”  On the one hand yeah I kinda still look the same as I did but I sure don’t feel like I’m the same (which I would say is a good thing).  I would hope that I have at least grown in wisdom and maturity (even though I still have the tendency to do and say stupid things because sinful nature).  But I hope that I haven’t lost that innocence I had as a kid.

I was glad to catch up with some friends I hadn’t seen in a really long time and was sad that there were some that weren’t able to be there.  I was happy to hear some good stories about some fun and exciting adventures my friends have had.  And I was sad to hear stories of friends being at odds with one another.

This weekend reminded me of a film I recently watched called Juilet, Naked.  The main characters in the film throughout the film dealt with the regrets of decisions in the past as well as the struggles of life in the present.  I think we all have those regrets and struggles that we wrestle with at every stage of life.  But I trust that God works through all of them at all points.  I am who I am today because of what has come before.  But my worth is not defined by that.  I find my worth in Jesus.  I have my experiences to share my story and through that hopefully point people to Jesus.

I have been blessed to have lived where I’ve lived, to serve where I have served, to learn what I have learned and hopefully that can in turn be a blessing to others.  This past weekend was another good reminder of that.

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Crawling Out of a Writing Rut

I’ve been in a writing rut of late.  There hasn’t been much that has been inspiring me to write.  There hasn’t been the motivation to write.  I’ve had these kind of seasons where I want to write but I don’t know what to write about or have any inspirations to draw from to write.  Couple that with a season of time where there’s nothing “exciting” going in my life it makes for being in quite a rut.

I think it also plays into creatively being in a rut.  I miss being a part of a podcast.  I miss having that format to explore creative ideas.  And though I have toyed with starting my own podcast, I just haven’t been able to get it off the ground just yet  Feeling in a rut.

This season of my life has been more downs than there have been ups.  It has been a struggle.  My hope is always that things will improve but when one is stuck in a rut, it takes a lot of momentum to get out of it.

I’m going to try and brainstorm some ideas at least for this blog to try and get out of this writing rut.  Hopefully the inspiration and motivation will come and the creative ideas will start flowing again.

Sunday Devotional: 1 Corinthians 1:4-9

I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus,  that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge— even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you—  so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ,  who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.  God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”  (1 Corinthians 1:4-9)

In his first letter to the church in Corinth, Paul right off the bat wanted to share with the members there his love and care for them.  He was very thankful for them and loved them very much.  He wanted them to know how much they meant to him and how much he wanted them to know the love of Jesus more fully and deeply.

Paul wanted the Corinthians to know how much Jesus loved them and that He was the sustainer of their lives.  Before getting into anything else, Paul made it a point to share this with the Corinthians.

The same is true for us today as well.  We should be grateful for the grace that has been given to us by God through Jesus Christ.  He is the one that sustains us and gives us hope.  He is the one that loves us so much and is faithful.

This week, let us live in that hope.  And more so let us share that hope with others.

Sunday Devotional: “I Saw The Light”

“I wandered so aimless life filled with sin
I wouldn’t let my dear savior in
Then Jesus came like a stranger in the night
Praise the Lord I saw the light.

I saw the light I saw the light
No more darkness no more night
Now I’m so happy no sorrow in sight
Praise the Lord I saw the light.

Just like a blind man I wandered along
Worries and fears I claimed for my own
Then like the blind man that God gave back his sight
Praise the Lord I saw the light.

I saw the light I saw the light
No more darkness no more night
Now I’m so happy no sorrow in sight
Praise the Lord I saw the light.

I was a fool to wander and a-stray
Straight is the gate and narrow the way
Now I have traded the wrong for the right
Praise the Lord I saw the light.

I saw the light I saw the light
No more darkness no more night
Now I’m so happy no sorrow in sight
Praise the Lord I saw the light”  (“I Saw The Light”)

On this Resurrection Sunday, there is that great reminder that Jesus is the light of the world.  And when he rose from the grave, the light shown out from the darkness.  Death had no more victory.

Because of Resurrection Sunday, we are able to see the light.  We are able to not live in darkness anymore.  Jesus made a way.  And he loves us so much that He wants to bring us along.  Before Jesus, we are wandering in the dark.  But with Jesus we can live in the light.  We get to have that renewed relationship with the Father.

This week (and every week), let us be thankful that we have the hope of Resurrection Sunday.  Let us live in the light of Jesus.  And let us share the good news that we have seen the light.

When Inside Out Was There: Thoughts on When Marnie Was There and Inside Out

The last two films that I have seen in the theater have a lot of similarities.  But they also have some distinctive qualities that make them unique as well.  Those films?  They are When Marnie Was There and Inside Out

MarnieInside Out

Both are animated features.  Both feature young females in prominent roles.  Both have great voice casts.  And both are done by the best in animation (Studio Ghibli and Pixar).  They both tell compelling stories and are both worth the price of admission.

The differences speak to the art of animation, it’s past as well as it’s future.  When Marnie Was There, being a Studio Ghibli film, is more in the traditional ink and paint animation style.  Studio Ghibli has done some computer animation, they are most known for their traditional animation style (as well as telling great stories).  Pixar, on the other hand, has been known for it’s cutting edge CGI animation and Inside Out shows that off.

The stories the two films tell are also different in the sense of source material.  Inside Out is an original IP (intellectual property), which was a staple of Pixar films in the beginning (though you can’t fault them for sequels like Toy Story 2 & Toy Story 3).  When Marnie Was There is based on a book written by Joan G. Robinson.

Probably the one thing that stood out to me, now having watched both films was this.  When Marnie Was There is the end of an era.  It has the distinction of being (as of right now) the last feature film released by Studio Ghibli.  With the retirement of co-founder Hayao Miyazaki, news was released that the studio was taking a “hiatus” from feature films.  If this does end up being the last Studio Ghibli film, then they went out on a high note.  Inside Out, on the other hand, is the first Pixar feature film to be released in theaters in two years.  Anticipation was high prior to it’s release, and it has met (and some cases exceeded expectations).  Depending on how good The Good Dinosaur does come Thanksgiving, Pixar could have another resurgence.

Having seen both films, I can say two things.  1) I enjoyed both of them and the stories that they told.  2) If I had to choose which one I enjoyed more, I would have to say When Marnie Was There.  Granted I saw When Marnie Was There at the historic Belcourt Theater in Nashville and I am a huge Studio Ghibli fan, but for me that story resonated more with me.  I’ll say it was a very bittersweet feeling I had watching that film know that it could be the last Studio Ghibli film I see in a theater.  Those films never got the wide release in the States that other animated films get (though there were a few exceptions).

Given the box office that Inside Out had its opening weekend, I’m sure you have seen it (or are planning on seeing it).  But I would hope that if there is a theater in your area that’s showing When Marnie Was There that you check it out as well.  Both are great films (animated or not).