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Sayonara, Sprint!

My family finally made the jump off of the “Not Now, Not Ever”* network, Sprint. Recently, their coverage, due to upgrades, slipped from bad to abysmal. Dropped calls left and right, phones constantly having to be charged due to constantly looking for a good signal.

Sayonara, Sprint. It wasn’t me–it was you.

To be fair, the process of switching to T-Mobile wasn’t as smooth as it should have been. In fact, after trying to order online, and getting shot-blocked, I had to escalate to Executive Relations. Where Telesales dropped the ball, the executive team more than made up for it.

Thank-you, T-Mobile for saving me (and my family) from the dark side of cell service.

Who’s your cellphone provider?

Win a Prize Pack from the Son of God

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Roma Downey and Mark Burnett (producer of The Voice, The Apprentice, Shark Tank, and others), the couple who brought us the Bible Miniseries last year, now have a feature film about the life of Jesus called Son of God. The film opens this Friday, February 28th, 2014.

As a person of faith I’m certainly interested in cinematic depictions of Our Lord, and indeed how He is in fact depicted. To be perfectly honest, I did not see all of The Bible when it was on; what I did see left me scratching my head. For instance, in Scripture Jesus didn’t enter the tomb of Lazarus. But in The Bible, He does-kissing the dead man on the forehead. For my money, commanding a corpse to rise is dramatic enough all in itself (without any need for embellishment).

I’m certain there were other changes as well. And I understand that neither T.V., nor movies, are the same kind of medium as the written word. That changes may sometimes have to be made for time, for flow, etc. But they should at least make sense.

Anyway. I’m likely going to see Son of God because it appears to be the kind of movie that I can take my family to (unlike The Passion of the Christ, which would be too violent for my little girl). Which is my roundabout way of saying that we who are believers should at least try to support fellow believers who are trying to make wholesome art.

That’s my $.02.

Are you going to see Son of God?

Comment below for a chance to win a prize pack consisting of:

An official tie-in novelization
A soundtrack CD
A 1000 piece puzzle.

Thanks for reading!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This ‘N That

You may have noticed that things have been a bit sparse around here of late. All I can say is, because life.

In the last couple of weeks:

I’ve changed jobs.

I became the parent of a first-time Girl Scout (yes, that means cookie sales, Virginia).

My wife has been dealing with health challenges. And everyone knows that when momma’s down the family comes to grinding hault. (If you could pray for her, I’d appreciate it very much).

Theny family came down mega-hard with the “crud.” While I didn’t get it, I was a lot more tired than usual. My get-up-and-go got up and went… somewhere.

Maybe over the rainbow. Who knows. I just know that since entering my forties that neither my energy, nor my focus, is in Kansas anymore.

Is that the enough Wizard of Oz references for one post? Can I get a ruling?

I’m woefully behind on both blog reading and writing. I owe both friend,  Tim, and author Shawn Smucker,  reviews of their respective books.

Hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s back to work I go!

See you around the Internets, friends.

Ciao for now,

Chad

Goodbye to My So-Called Upbringing

'Dysfunction Junction: Cold Spring NY Photowalk' photo (c) 2010, Nick Harris - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

I don’t want you getting the wrong idea–I wasn’t beaten as a child. The spankings I got, I earned (helping your buddy try to burn down his grandmother’s garage, anyone?). I wasn’t a battered child, but I’ve got come to the conclusion that abuse is never just physical.

There are psychological, and emotional, abuses, too. And if I was abused, it was in this way:

I was ignored. One of my earliest memories is being told to go away, relax, unwind, watch T.V. And then later, when she checked on me, my mother was aghast to find me drinking a beer in front of Sesame Street. Why? “Because it wat daddy do.”

When I fell, got hurt, got a boo-boo, there was precious little soothing; instead, I was indoctrinated with the mantra “I’m alright.” Even though I most decidedly was not alright. They say the lessons learned earliest go the deepest.
And are hardest to overcome. I’ve been alright far too many times when I shouldn’t have been. Been okay in places I never should have been…

If my mother’s chiefest failing was practiced indifference–emotional diffidence, my dad’s was indifference followed by the bitter wash of sarcastic chasers. I would go from being ignored to verbally masticated, spit out, left to put myself back together…

And I had to be alright.

After their inevitable divorce, the neglect only deepened. My mom, of course, didn’t share her pain; instead, losing herself in work, she hoped (I think) to give others something she couldn’t give herself: an intact family.

And my dad? Our relationship was as defined in the divorce decree: I saw him twice a year. His second wife hated my brother and I…

Divorce touches millions of families. And my life, seen from the outside, may have appeared to be, while perhaps less than ideal, a privileged one. I was white, lived in Scottsdale, had a roof, clothes  food. In short, the basics.

It has taken me years to pin down just exactly what I didn’t have:

A sense of love.

Part and parcel with growing up latchkey was, I guess, a sense of parental guilt. There were precious few boundaries, and even fewer consequences. I was left to my own devices, to indulge in whatever I wanted.

It’s a wonder I just got into smoking, and not drugs. My interest in porn was labelled “healthy curiosity.” If my childhood was defined by anything, it was these three things:

Neglect

Pornography

And Stephen King

I turned inward because there was nowhere else to go, no one to go to. My mom eventually had a live-in boyfriend, who’s example, and idea of culture, consisted of pizza, cigarettes, and “martoonis” in front of the T.V. This was my exemplar of manhood.

I wanted to escape, but had nowhere else to go. My dad didn’t want me, my mom was too busy, and this is “white privilege?”

None of this was talked about. I had to navigate a broken family, adolescence, on my own.

Habits developed then have not always been conducive now to  building healthy attachments. I’m almost 45 years old, and still bitter about what I didn’t have. Why couldn’t I have a normal, loving family? Why don’t I have meaningful relationships with my parents, brother, etc?

For years, as a growing Christian, I thought it was my job to put up, shut up, keep the peace. I allowed so many unhealthy things to happen, so many hurts to go unaddressed. I want to let my parents off the hook, say they did the best they could…

But I don’t believe it.

That’s why I want so much to be done with them. I can’t seem to get past the things which they’ve done, or I’ve done in relation to them. I want to say there’s too much water under the bridge. I don’t feel listened to.

I want to be done, but can’t. Because…

Because God.

He’s the God of second, third, thirty-third, and seventy-times-time chances.

Because He’s given me chance after chance, though I’ve blown it time and time again, I can do no less. I have to try.

If there’s a lesson I’ve learned in life, it’s this: the things we like least in others are usually the things which dislike about ourselves. That hurts to admit.

I’m not perfect (far from it), and neither are they. They dealt with their own demons, as I’ve dealt with mine.

God help me, I’m willing to try.

That’s the best I can do.

Gimme Shelter

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I had the privilege last month of conducting a telephone interview with Kathy DiFiore, founder of Several Sources Shelters, and Ronald Krauss, director/producer of Gimme Shelter (a new motion picture starring Vanessa Hudgens, Rosario Dawson, Brendan Fraser, and James Earl Jones). I had hoped to provide you, my faithful readers, with a transcript of the interview, but my voice recording software didn’t play nice. What follows are my recollections of the conversation.

According to Ms. DiFiore, after going through a painful divorce, and after getting her life back on track she wanted to do something to give back. So she started a shelter for teen girls with unplanned pregnancies in her own home.

That is not a typo:

Ms. DiFiore opened her home to girls who, through circumstance, and happenstance had nowhere else to go. Where they had received rejection at the hands of family and friends, they were now to be received with open arms. The movie’s tagline is: “Sometimes you have to leave home to find your family.”

And that is what Kathy provided: a home. In that home, the girls found something more: grace. They were given, despite perhaps poor life choices, hard circumstances, difficult upbringings, countless rejections, a safe environment where they could feel loved, accepted, human.

Over the course of decades, Several Sources Shelters was born. It went from one home to many. It was while visiting family back east, that Mr. Krauss first heard of Several Sources, told that he should very much check into them. As a socially conscious filmmaker, it was something that he was very much prepared to do.

After some careful investigation, Mr. Krauss was convinced that Kathy DiFiore was the “real deal,” and he would make a documentary. It was as he got to know the girls (he lived in one of the shelters for a year as he wrote the screenplay) that the idea of a documentary morphed into a narrative.

He could reach more people with this amazing story through a motion picture.

And that is what Gimme Shelter is: the story of one girl, Agnes ‘Apple’ Bailey, who stands in for all of the real girls whom Ron got to know during his time in the shelter. I’m told that Miss Hudgens, in preparing for the role, also lived in one of the shelters for several weeks, getting know the girls.

According to both interviewees, making the film was a transformative experience for them. That is indeed what the film is all about: transformation. Taking lives which have been written off, and giving them a home.

A shelter.

And hope… for now, and for the future.

I hope you will see Gimme Shelter in theaters. It opens this Friday, January 24th.

Thank-you for reading!

If you have any questions for Ms. DiFiore, you may click the following Kathy DiFiore to contact her. To find out about and/or support Several Sources, go here: Several Sources

Hope to see you at the movies!

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