Saturday, December 01, 2007

Serials and Scenarios - Amazing Grace

In case you haven't seen it. Here's my review of Amazing Grace.

Click on the movie case to go to the Amazon page. Click here to go to the website for further info.


I can't handle history in black and white dates. But give me history with faces, sights, sounds and smells and I'm hooked. Add sacrifice, heroic acts and strong convictions and you have Amazing Grace and my heart.

This movie blew my expectations out of the water. I expected good enough because so many have given it great reviews. I didn't expect to laugh. I didn't expect to care so much about the characters. I expected to struggle a little with boredom during parliamentary discussions but even those grabbed hold of me.

The Christian theme is present but not overdone. God was part of the picture-- a driving force -- since He loves all people and all people are created in His image. And on the flip side the words arse, bloody and hell are tossed about throughout the well-written dialogue.

If you are a history fan you really should at least rent it. Fans of movies like Luther, Master and Commander, Girl with a Pearl Earring etc. will probably like Amazing Grace. It's not ram-packed action and has plenty of heavy dialogue so thinkers should get much out of it. I would caution parents to watch the movie first before letting younger children see it as there are some disturbing images.

Serials and Scenarios - Giver of Gifts/Eleven Foot Four

Fans of Christmas books probably will want to check these out. The same author wrote both books and one of the stories is adapted for the children's book.

Click on the book covers and then take advantage of the Seach Inside options.

My Reviews are below:

Giver of Gifts -- Three Stories of Christmas Grace

If you are a collector of feel-good stories that make you think as well as entertain you, check into this small book.

A tale of a real life mother, four-feet-eleven inches in reality, who "swelled" to eleven-foot-four is charming. The author has adapted it to a children's book. Hope, love and forgiveness fill the story and I struggled with keeping dry eyes.

The second story within the book visits Joseph huddled with the newborn Christ, shielding the baby from the storm outside and the less than perfect conditions of life. Joseph muses and shares his hard earned wisdom with his sleeping child in the touching write-up.

Finally, a teen girl with a chip on her shoulder gets a chance to see the world through different eyes. With a little bit of magical help she digs deeper and discovers that what is visible on the surface is not necessarily truth. A lovely story of acceptance and grace.

Overall the book is a mere 150 pages and each story is a stand alone and quick read.

When Mother was Eleven - Foot- Four

Jerry Camery-Hoggatt, author of Giver of Gifts, has crafted story number one "When Mother Was Eleven Foot Four" into a children's story.

I'm a sucker for books I can read out loud to my family. One year we even narrated and acted out "Why Christmas Trees Aren't Perfect" for a church Christmas program. My ideal Christmas includes the reading of the story of the birth of Jesus and either The Night Before Christmas or the The Tale of Three Trees, and a family viewing of A Christmas Story. It just doesn't get any better than that.

If my children were younger, "When My Mother Was Eleven Foot Four" would likely be added to our stack of feel good Christmas memories.

The author tells of his mother, small in stature and huge in love, and how Christmas became a picture of grace and love. There is a little extra backstory that distracts in the beginning but once I got several pages in, I was hooked. My eldest daughter and her friend cuddled up next to me on the couch and I read the story to them and showed them the pictures. They agreed that there was magic within the story. I suppose I should mention that they are twenty.

The illustrations and the heart of the story are beautiful. I think children struggling with sadness might very well find a hint of hope within the story of Mother, too. The author's dad leaves and the following Christmas "failure" almost steals Mother's hope. But love inflates it to the proper height - Eleven Foot Four.