Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Movie Review: I Am Gabriel

A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to review a movie that is coming out called I Am Gabriel.  After I viewed the trailer (below) and decided to review the DVD.  Warning:  Lots of Spoilers.

The description on the back of the DVD reads: Promise, Texas is no place to raise a family; the fields are dry, businesses are failing, and kids can't wait to grow up and move away.  Some folks say the town is cursed.  Just when things are at their darkest, a mysterious boy wanders out of the wilderness with nothing but the clothes on his back and a strange mat tucked under his arm.  He has a message of hope for the people of Promise, but it's hard for some to receive.  The slow death of this small town reflects the condition of their own parched souls.  When the boy demonstrates the love of God through signs and wonders, they begin to discover the power of prayer.  Still, not everyone in town sees his presence as a gift and the Sheriff is on a mission to expose who the boy really is.  In the end, with his back against the wall -- surrounded by skeptics -- the boy is forced to reveal his true identity.

I watched the movie twice.  The first time was rather difficult because my daughter kept climbing all over me throughout the movie.  The second time I waited until after everyone went to bed so that I could refresh my memory to write this review.

Overall, it's not a bad movie.  If you like movies dealing with the spirit realm (and I hope you know that most if not all are going to be very fictionalized and not Bible-based), then you'll probably enjoy this movie.  If I had not been reviewing the movie, I may not have stuck it out through the whole movie (and certainly wouldn't have watched it twice).  My husband watched part of it, said he'd seen enough and went on to bed.

The movie begins with the reference of II Chronicles 7:14 on the screen (no verse, just the reference).  This is a great verse ("If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."  The movie primarily focuses on praying to God and seeking His face.  Many forget, or will ignore, the phrase tucked into the verse that says to "turn from their wicked ways."  People like to throw this verse around in a redneck theology kind of way about praying on Sunday and expecting God to fix our country while living for self Monday through Saturday.  This could have been developed in one particular sub-story (and would've made for a great part of the movie) and would've helped to flesh out the movie some more, but it wasn't part of the main message.

In the opening sequence, there is a childbirth scene where a doctor is delivering a baby in the couple's home.  This is rather graphic (for children), showing blood on the sheets.  You will have to decide for your own family, but if my daughter had been much older (old enough to sit down and watch a non-animated film), I wouldn't have played it with her in the room.  The mother conks out all of a sudden, leaving you to think she died; instead, the baby boy dies.  [Offtopic, I find it amusing that the doctor looked more wrung out than the mother!]

John Schneider (of Dukes of Hazard fame) plays the doctor.  When the attending nurse asks him "Why do bad things happen to good people?" He answers, "Who am I to question God?" and then continues with a seemingly prophetic statement that this is only the beginning of bad times.  He also seems to know, from the beginning, who Gabriel is.

While looking at the IMDb description of the movie, I noticed that the director, Mike Norris, (son of Chuck), actually played a part in the movie, and one of the young girls may even be his daughter.  I thought that was very interesting.

The story itself is far-fetched and unbelievable.  Nowhere in the Bible is an angel portrayed like this young boy.  In the Bible, angels provoke a reverential fear, not confusion and sympathy.  The Bible says that we sometimes entertain angels unaware of who they are, so Gabe's very different clothing is unrealistic.  The boy is a passable actor, but he almost never smiled.  He was always very solemn and serious and a little bit monotone.  He says at the beginning that he will be a boy to them and later on, "Don't worry about explaining me.  I'm just a kid," but he does not even remotely portray a "normal" boy.  (What boy doesn't know what PB&J is?)

Gabe suggested to Ellen, the woman he stays with, that she should make prayer mats for the world because "His Word should be spread throughout."  It's ironic because there is no Bible mentioned in the movie until close to the end when the pastor speaks to the people.  There is only one mention of Jesus (see quote in next paragraph). 

One thing I kept looking for while watching the movie is a presentation of the Gospel.  It finally came (somewhat) towards the end of the movie when Gabe says to the doctor, "You are worthy [of going home to Heaven].  The blood of Christ made sure of that for all that accept Him.  You did." A little later when the pastor is speaking to the people, he quotes the verse, "...verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life..." (John 5:24)  I feel like they definitely could have done a better job with presenting the Gospel.

There were other rather odd things about the movie.  On the Sunday morning after a town fellowship, the pastor, his wife, and their granddaughter walk into the church down the aisle to the front of the church.  The people stand up as they enter, the pastor begins speaking, the wife and granddaughter remain at the front to the side, there is no choir, no ushers, and no pianist.  It was just a very odd church service.

The couple who take Gabe in have a lovely home (I really like their little bridge in their front yard), but put him in a very plain guest bedroom with no decorations.  Even if it had been a nursery for their baby 10 years before, I would think that they would've done something to the room especially since the wife teaches art at the local community center.  The rest of the house is decorated very nicely.

I don't even know what to say about the revealing of Gabe as the angel Gabriel (who, by the way, the Bible describes as a man -- see Daniel 9:21).  The wings sprouting, the lights and the adoration of the people.  Maybe I'm being very cynical and skeptical, but I just can't see it happening that way.

I did like most of the instrumental music.  I didn't like the vocalized music so much, but that's because I don't listen to contemporary Christian music.  I also liked the positive ending.  It was evident that not only were good times coming back to the town, but people were going back to God.  I thought that the very end where the couple who had lost their baby boy 10 years before suddenly had a new baby was not surprising and a rather predictable happy ending.

All in all, it's not a terrible movie, just not exactly my kind of movie.  I am appreciative of being asked to review the movie.  I regret that I can't give it a more positive review.

A Larry Ross Communications, representing Echolight Studios, provided me with the DVD in exchange for an honest review.
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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Blog Post Roundup (8/25/12)

Here are a few posts I thought y'all might like to read.
Count Your Encouragement @ The Pastor's Perspective

Are You Self-Righteous? @ Learning God's Lessons

Busy Wives, Busy Lives @ The Lighthouse Letters
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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Memory Box

This project was based on an idea I saw on Pinterest; however, I can't find the pin!  Update: I found the pin! YAY!  I always like to give credit when I can.

I made this Memory Box which holds cards for each day of the year.  Whenever something special or significant happens, I write about it on the card for that day and label it by the year.  In truth, most of these are "mommy memories" which won't mean anything to anybody besides me (except maybe Gracie's Grandma!).

My Memory Box sits on my computer desk. (Like the shoe? My grandma gave that to me years ago.  We both love old-timey things!)
I finally found this box at Big Lots.  I actually saw another one that I liked better, but it cost more than what I wanted to spend.  This box only cost $4.  The memories it holds = priceless!

For now, the box holds one card for each day of the year.  I hope that I will continue to use it for many years to come and will be able to add cards for each day.  Until the space is used up, I put some foam behind the cards to help hold them up.  I plan on wrapping the foam in some matching material.

I used my old wall calendars to mark down events from previous years.  I had written things down rather than in Gracie's baby book because that was quicker and easier.  "One day" I will transfer them into her baby book.

This project was very easy to do, just a little bit time-consuming to write the dates on each card.  I also put family birthdays and holidays on the cards when appropriate.

Some days I will think of something that Gracie has said or done but do not remember the exact date or time frame.  I write it down, anyway.

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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Blog Post Roundup (8/11/12)

Here are a few posts I thought y'all might like to read.
The Prayer of a Child @ Candle in the Night
Dear Stay-At-Home-Mom @ The Gospel Coalition (An encouraging blog post I found out from a friend of mine.)

Draw a Stick Man -- this is fun!

Saturday afternoon 8/4 @ Prayers for Dale  (This is a Must Read account of how Dale drowned one year ago and was revived.  I've been following the blog for nearly a year and have rejoiced at each step of improvement that Dale has made.)

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Dresser Rescue

My sister-in-law recently posted before and after pictures of a dresser they rescued from an old barn.  Her husband (my husband's brother) fixed it up and it is now a lovely new dresser!

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Monday, August 6, 2012

Liebster Award

Liebster is a German word and it means, sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing and welcome. The award is given to blogs with less than 200 followers.

My bloggy friend Laurie at Everyday Grace awarded the Liebster Award to me.  It was a nice surprise and a bright spot in a difficult week.

She asked me 11 questions which I will now answer.

1. What is your favorite Bible verse?
My "life verse" is "They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep." - {Psalm 107:23-24 KJV}
After I got back in church in late 1999, my pastor at the time, Jimmy McCullough, preached a sermon called "Doing Business in Great Waters" which talked about getting away from your comfort zone near the edge of a body of water and going out into the deep of doing God's Will.  It was a great sermon (I wish I had a copy of it!), and really motivated me to take my Christian living to the next level.

2. How long have you been married?
Robert and I have been married 4 years, 8 months, and 5 days.  Yes, this December 1st will mark 5 years of marriage!  {I'm hoping we'll get to do a little getaway to celebrate.}

3. What is one of your family's favorite meals?
Hmmm.....this is a little hard since there aren't many foods that all three of us like, my daughter being the pickiest eater.  I think I will have to pick spaghetti.  All three of us like to eat that. I have found some yummy frozen meatballs to put in it

4. What advice would you give a first time mom?
Sleep when the baby sleeps.  Don't worry about the house; it'll still be there in all of its dusty, cluttered glory.  Enjoy the baby, and if you can, try to do dishes, one load of laundry, and have something picked out for supper.

5. List 3 words that best describe your husband?
I would say that Robert is very straight-forward, intelligent, and strong in his convictions.
6. What is your favorite restaurant?
I can't name just one.  Eating out is one of my favorite things (good food that I don't have to cook or clean up after? Win-win!)  Fast food:  Chick-Fil-A and Zaxby's and Arby's. Sit-Down: Red Robin, Steak-and-Shake, anything seafood (except Red Lobster.  I love their food, but their tartar sauce has a weird wang to it.)  We also like a local restaurant called J. Alexander's.

7. Who is your favorite author?
For children's books, my favorite author has always been Laura Ingalls Wilder.  For Amish fiction, Beverly Lewis and Cindy Woodsmall.  For suspense/mystery, Dee Henderson and Robert Whitlow (I've just discovered Robert Whitlow who is like a Christian John Grisham.  His theology/religious style is quite different from mine, but I enjoy the stories.).

8. What are your hobbies?
Reading, Blogging, Pinterest, Photography, Travel (though I don't do it very much) and hanging out with family.

9. Where do you like to shop?
Just about anywhere, to be honest.  I am very much a go-and-do or at least go-and-look-at kind of person.  I do most of my shopping at Walmart.  I'm in there at least once a week and sometimes two or three times.  If I have a project idea in my head, I will sometimes have to visit many stores to find what I want or to get all of the supplies.  Fortunately, I live very close to many of the nationwide chains you can think of, so I don't waste TOO much gas.

10. Why do you blog?
I blog as a creative outlet, mostly.  Also to have backup copies of my recipes.  My Kinsey Family Blog mainly serves to share photos of Gracie with family and friends who are not on Facebook.  I don't even know if anybody ever views it since my sister went to Heaven last year, but I still post to it.

11. What is your favorite place to vacation?
I like going anyplace new or anyplace where there is something interesting to do or see.  As a family, we have been to Hawaii (honeymoon); Orlando, FL; Ashville, NC; Cade's Cove, Smokey Mountains, TN; Tuckaleechee Caverns in the Smokey Mountains (NEVER again!  I enjoyed it but it was scary, too, and there's no way I would ever take my children there.); and Lexington, KY.  We also visit family in South Mississippi; Springfield, IL; Moultrie, Ga; and Montgomery, AL.  Gracie and I visited my brother in Antelope Valley, CA, but Robert couldn't go with us.  We would love to go to Washington, DC and the Grand Canyon one day.  I would love to go to Amish Country, New York City, and New England.

The Liebster Award is a pass-it-along award. I am going to pick the following blogs:

Kristy of Making Sweet Memories
Kristy Jo and I know each other from a Christian Ladies Forum (Vessels Unto Honour).  She has four cute, funny, sweet kids and loves photography like I do.

Kristy of Thimble Thoughts
Kristy is a bloggy friend of mine.  Funny thing is I don't remember which of my other bloggy friends introduced me to her blog!  She is a fun homeschooling mom of three and is an adult sponsor for her church's youth group.  I forget the name of it (Sigma Theta?), but it sounds like a great, fun way to help teens grow in Christ.

Lori of Frog's Lilypad
Lori and I also know each other from Vessels Unto Honour.  She is a homeschooling mom of a teenage boy.  She enjoys reading like I do.

Pat of Living Life with the Loves
Pat is another lady I know from Vessels Unto Honour.  She has three children and four grandchildren and serves in the ladies ministry and teaching little ones in her church.

Robyn of The Lighthouse Letters
Robyn is my pastor's wife here in Memphis! She teaches in our church's Christian school, oversees the ladies ministry, and is a very talented singer.  My Gracie loves Mrs. Robyn (and Ryan and Jordan and Preacher, too!).

Valerie of Valerie Write Now
Valerie is my other "real-life" friend.  We got to know each other through Vessels Unto Honour and met in real life two years ago.  She is a homeschooling pastor's wife, mother of five fun younguns, and a talented writer.

Rules for the Liebster Award are as follows:
(1) Post 11 things about yourself, (2) Answer the questions that your nominating blogger has set for you and then create 11 questions for your nominees, (3) choose up to 11 blogs to nominate and link them in your post, (4) go to their respective blogs and let them know, and (5) no tag backs!

Before I forget, here is your homework assignment are your questions to answer on your blog:

1.  What is something special or unique about the place where you live?

2.  If you could meet anybody in history, who would you want to meet and why? (Jesus does not count because we know we will meet Him in Heaven one day.)

3.  Have you had your "15 minutes of Fame"?  Describe the experience or tell what you would love to have it for.

4.  When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?  Did you accomplish that?

5.  What is your favorite tip or advice for mothers of little ones?

6.  What is your best advice for keeping it all in balance? or at least from dropping all the juggling balls?

7.  What is your favorite joke? or What is something funny that has happened to you or you have seen happen?

8.  Who are you most like in your family?

9.  What is the best memory you have of any of your grandparents?

10.  Have you crossed any items off your Bucket List?

11.  Who is one of your Christian mentors and what is something they have taught you?

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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Blog Post Roundup (8/4/12)

Here are a few posts I thought y'all might like to read.

Someone IS Watching Us @ Apron Strings

No More Excuses @ The Pastor's Perspective

Handling the Little Extortionist @ Journal for Women

Going for the Gold @ The Lighthouse Letters

God's Embroidering @ The Lighthouse Letters

The Gates of Hell Will Not Prevail Against It @ Solve Church Problems

How to Survive an Explosion @ Keep the Heart
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Thursday, August 2, 2012


God is [always] good;
The devil is [very] bad;
People are broken;
We ALL need Jesus!
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