Sundays That Inspire!

Hello lovely readers! I hope you all are having a relaxing weekend enjoying the final, lazy days of summer. Welcome to this week’s Sundays That Inspire in which I link you up to some things that encouraged, challenged, inspired, and just made me smile this week.

I know this week the events in Ferguson have been on a lot of people’s minds and hearts, and I encourage everyone to continue to pray for peace and grace, for justice and reconciliation for everyone involved. It has certainly made me think not only about what this means for us as a community of people living in this country together, but also been a cause for self-reflection and how I see and perceive people. Here are few posts I found thoughtful and challenging regarding Ferguson this week.

Ferguson & Me, or Why Should I Care? by Esther Emery

A perfect love casts out all fear. Or so I have heard, from a man with long dreads on a subway train. I am only human as far as I can see humanity in others. And I am ready to be made free. I am ready to live forward into a Kingdom dream, of city streets where Black people walk free.

And a great follow-up from Esther, Choosing Joy, Again, reflecting on finding beauty and rest in a messy, ugly world.

There is such ugliness in the world. Such terror. So much wrong. And around each wrong there are hearts moving, hearts opening, hearts responding.

In Which I Have A Few Things To Tell You About Ferguson by Sarah Bessey

Black lives matter. I cannot even believe I have to write that sentence but there it is. Black lives matter. These young men matter, their lives are sacred. It doesn’t matter if Mike Brown was on his way to college or on his way to the unemployment line – his life had value and purpose. He was loved. His life mattered. Every single black life matters.

On Race, The Benefit of the Doubt, and Complicity by Rachel Held Evans

I’ve been told all of my life that we live in a post-racial culture, that my generation is essentially free of racial prejudice. And from my small, predominantly white town in East Tennessee, that’s an easy enough lie to believe. It’s a lie I want to believe…But wanting to live in a just world is not the same as living in a just world.

And also from Rachel this week over at Sojourners, Not As Helpless As We Think: 3 Ways To Stand In Solidarity With Ferguson

I’ve heard from many of my white friends and readers who say they aren’t sure how to respond to the anger and grief they are watching on TV or hearing from their black friends. They want to be part of the solution but don’t know where start. They may even feel a little defensive when they hear people talking about white privilege or inaction on the part of white Christian leaders. I’m in the process of learning too, but as I’ve listened to people of color whose opinions I trust, I’ve heard them issue several calls to action we can all heed…

If you need a reminder that there are good people out there in the world doing good. Love this story about a pastor in St. Paul who is using a food truck to minister to those who are struggling in her community. “This lunch is free because Jesus is free.”

Over at A Deeper Story, a lovely reflection on our common humanity: We All Face The Sun Together by Tamara Lunardo

For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. –Romans 1:20…We’re all here for the same reason: It’s the beauty.

This one made me smile. Words of wisdom. 8 Movie Characters Who Prove Older Really Does Mean Wiser

We have all been overwhelmed with videos on our Facebook and Twitter feeds of friends, family and celebrities who are taking the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Here are a couple of my favorites this week. First, you need to go here and watch Patrick Stewart take the challenge with more dignity and class than you or I or anyone ON THE PLANET will ever have. The end.

This one, however, is my absolute favorite because it is BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH! Yes, my inner Cumberbunny was fangirling HARD when I saw that he had accepted the challenge, and the video is filled with all the wit, charm, and humor we love about him. It is glorious. Watch and enjoy. Also, you can click here if you would like to make your own donation toward ALS research.

Finally, I wanted to pay my own tribute to the late Robin Williams. Like everyone else, I was shocked and grieved at his passing. My heart and prayers go out to his family as they continue to cope with his loss, as they do also for anyone dealing with depression and mental illness. I can only hope this will lead to more open and compassionate conversations and help for those in similar situations. Mr. Williams was a rare and uniquely gifted performer, and we are blessed that he shared that talent with the rest of us. Dead Poet’s Society will always be my favorite of Robin Williams’ movies, and I have included a scene that exemplifies so much of what we loved about him.

The powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse. What a verse it was. Thank you. O, captain, my captain.

Anything you found this week that was interesting? Funny? Inspiring? Would love to hear about it! Leave me a comment below! Have a great week, everyone!

Comic Con 2014 — Video Roundup

Superheroes…vampires…demon hunters…zombie apocalypse survivors…hobbits, dwarves, elves & dragons. All of these things together in one place can only mean one thing: COMIC CON!!!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen…I am a geek. Geek and proud! And this time of year gets me excited like no other! Last weekend fans from around the world made the pilgrimage to San Diego to connect with their fandoms and catch a glimpse of the actors that bring to life the stories and characters we love. Making it to Comic Con one day is THE DREAM (camping out all night with hundreds of passionate fans all waiting to get in to Hall H? YES PLEASE!!), but until then I will feverishly check my Twitter feed for 3 days and live vicariously through the lucky fans who make it.

One of the things I love about the way Comic Con has evolved over the years is that now there is a wider variety of TV shows and films making appearances. Not only do you have the expected Marvel & DC Comics panels, and shows with large teen followings like Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries, and Arrow, but also shows like Game of Thrones, True Blood, and The Walking Dead. Even Breaking Bad did a panel for it’s final season last year! Comic Con has something for everyone these days, and it’s fantastic!

So today I put together a collection of some of my personal favorite panels from this year, as well as a few of the trailers released especially for Comic Con.

Marvel: Phases 1 & 2 — This is a montage of the Marvel films starting with Iron Man and leading up to the second Avengers film, The Age of Ultron, due out next year, and it is oh-my-Thor EPIC! The new footage from AOU is awesome! A great reminder why we love these characters so much and continue to root for them. If this doesn’t make you want to run and marathon ALL THE MARVEL, I don’t know what will. I know before next summer, I definitely will! Under that, I have included the Age of Ultron panel with our favorite heroes. Avengers Assemble!

Zach Snyder made a brief appearance again this year to plug the next Superman film, Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. And he brought a few surprises with him. It’s a short clip of the panel, but it’s fun and worth a look.

Next up, The Walking Dead panel, followed by the HOLYCRAPISITOCTOBERYET season 5 trailer. Badass leader Rick Grimes is BACK, baby! And none too soon! Ricktatorship FTW!! SO. EXCITED. for this season!

Vampires, werewolves, demon hunters, superheroes…just a few of my favorite things…and they all have shows on the CW that are some of my favorites right now: The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Supernatural & Arrow. These groups of actors are always so much fun to watch in interviews, and this year was no exception. I love them all so very much! Enjoy!

In case you’re still reeling from this season of Game of Thrones, the cast and author George R. R. Martin were at Comic Con this year to answer questions and tease new characters for the next season.

And finally, this year was Benedict Cumberbatch’s first year to attend Comic Con, and judging by the way he was beaming that gorgeous smile the ENTIRE TIME, I think it’s safe to say he enjoyed himself…though maybe not as much as we enjoyed seeing him there. Though sadly he was not allowed to talk about Sherlock (seriously Comic Con, we need THAT panel next year!!), he did join the panel for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies and was lovely and charming, as always.

So there ya go! A few of the highlights from Comic Con 2014! MANY, MANY THANKS to everyone who videoed these panels so those of us who cannot attend can pretend we did. Lol! Lots of great stuff to look forward to! I hope you enjoyed, and I’d love to hear what movies and TV YOU’RE looking forward to! Leave me a comment below! Until next time, friends!

Thanks For The Memories: A look at Hollywood’s biggest night

Hello friends!  Sorry it’s been a while since I posted.  Real life busyness has gotten in the way, but I’m excited to get back into the swing of blogging.  If anyone is still out there reading, thank you for sticking with me!  You’re awesome, and I appreciate you spending any of your valuable time here with me, so THANK YOU! 🙂

Well, the awards have been handed out and the Oscar celebrations have ended for another year.  There weren’t too many real surprises this year, but overall, I was very satisfied with the winners.  Unfortunately, due to an ice storm that passed through our area Sunday night (seriously, Universe?? It’s OSCAR NIGHT!!), my usual Oscar party had far fewer guests.  However, I did prepare a movie themed menu which I will share with you guys.  We wound up with lots of leftovers, obviously, but everything turned out good, so I’m not complaining. 😉

First, the Oscar Party Menu.  I have included links to the recipes if you want to check them out.  My main dish was inspired by “12 Years A Slave”.  Drawing from the movie’s Louisiana setting, I made Slow Cooker Jambalaya with sausage and chicken. I have never made jambalaya before, so I was a little nervous.  It turned out really good, though, and had great flavor!  I will definitely be making this again!  I made some cornbread to go with it, which I thought, as a corn dish, not only fit with 12 Years A Slave, but also the movie Nebraska.  I went with a Tex-Mex theme for Dallas Buyers Club, a layered dip inspired by Ryan Seacrest’s Nana!  This is the best layered dip I have EVER made, and it has become a go-to recipe for several get-togethers.  It’s always a hit!

Oscar Party Food

This year, U2, the greatest rockband of all time (oh, yeah, I went there! Lol!), was nominated for an Oscar, so of course I had to do something to commemorate the occasion.  My dessert this year was Irish themed, chocolate cupcakes with Bailey’s Irish Cream butter frosting.  Oh. My. Bono. GOD! Sorry…God. Haha! 😉  These were SO. GOOD.  Again, first time making this recipe, but I will absolutely be revisiting this one.  Just delish!  If you’re having a St. Patrick’s Day party, I HIGHLY recommend these!  And finally, along with my other movie candies, I got some chocolate gold coins inspired by The Wolf of Wall Street.  I kindof loved that idea.

Bailey's Irish Cream Cupcakes

On to the awards!  So, obviously the big winner this year was Gravity, a technical and visual masterpiece that deserved every award it got.  This film was intended to make you feel like you were there in space, experiencing everything Sandra Bullock’s character was, and it more than accomplished the task.  From the cinematography to the visual effects, this was a major achievement in filmmaking, and Sandra’s deeply emotional performance gives the movie it’s heart.  A beautiful film that is definitely worth watching.

12 Year’s A Slave took home 3 major awards as well, including the top prize: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Picture.  This is a film that deserves a whole post unto itself.  Suffice to say, this is the film I was pulling for to win Best Picture.  It is at once beautiful and horrifying, inspiring and gut-wrenching.  This film does not give you the option of looking away from the ugliness. It asks you to face it, to take it in, to acknowledge and remember.  It shows us the best and worst of humanity.  Every performance in this film is amazing and riviting, and Steve McQueen’s directing was impeccable.  I was so moved and grateful to have witnessed Solomon Winthrop’s story.  In my opinion, the Acadamy got this one right.

My only disappointment was U2’s Ordinary Love losing to Frozen’s Let It Go in the Best Original Song category.  While Let It Go is a really good song, and I adore Idina Minzel,  I think that the Mandela-inspired Ordinary Love would have been a better choice.  I AM aware that I have a certin degree of bias in this area, so you can take my opinion on that for what it’s worth. Lol. U2’s live performance was fantastic and seeing them perform at the Oscars was so cool!  If you haven’t seen it, it is definitely worth a few minutes of your time. 🙂

U2 Perform Ordinary Love

My absolute FAVORITE moment came early on in the night.  JARED LETO WON AN OSCAR!!!!!!!  Ahem….sorry….I still get emotional.  Jared Leto won his MUCH deserved Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Rayon in Dallas Buyers Club.  I have already posted about my love for this film, and as a devoted fan of the uber-talented Mr. Leto, this pretty much made my year!  Here is a link to his perfect, moving acceptance speech as he originally wrote it.  Matthew McConaughey won the Best Actor Oscar, also for Dallas Buyers Club.  These guys transformed and committed all of themselves to these roles, in a film that took 20 years to get made, on a shoestring budget.  Could not be happier for the success this film has had!!  Look at how cute and happy they are!! 🙂

Matthew & Jared with their Oscars

One other thing I loved about this night?  ELLEN!!  Seriously, all the awards to her for being a SUPERB Oscar host!  Funny without being mean or crass, classy and down to earth.  Thank you Ellen for letting me watch A-list dad Brad Pitt hand out pizza to Meryl Streep!  I really love you (and HIM!!) for that. Lol!  And this post would not be complete without the Selfie Heard Round The World…

Oscar Group Selfie

Aaaaaand I’ll just leave you with this….Benedict Cumberbatch, my future husband and King of the Photobomb. 😉 (Epic. Seriously, LOVE that guy!!)

Benedict Cumberbatch Photobomb

Til next year! Have a great day, friends!