Defining Luxury

I am spoiled. It is that simple. I love my hot showers, I eat out at least 2 times a week, I typically have pretty new technology, I have a nice car, and a small shopping addiction. I am also a picky eater, even when I try something new I stay pretty safe and the most daring thing I have probably ever tried was scallops (and I did not like them). I like luxury and I like being comfortable, who doesn’t? I know I have been called to the missions field around  the world where these luxurious things are not always available to me.

Awesome! I want my definition of luxury to change. 

People always mention to me when I speak of being a missionary, or doing missions work, about how I will have to eat food I might not like. Or how I might not have access to AC/heaters, or that the showers might be cold. That my easy transportation methods now will not be at my immediate disposal. That my hands will be dirty, and my work will be intense. That I might be in a dangerous area not protected by the “freedom” that my country offers me.

That’s great. I want my definition of luxury to change.

Sometimes I pause and look at all of the things around me. My books that no longer fit on my bookshelf so I creatively reorganize them. My DVD’s that I must own at least 100 of. The video games and game systems I have that I maybe play once a month. Maybe. The ease of binge watching Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon prime because I have all 3. At the same time, sometimes when I pause and look at all of these things – the things that honestly consume a good amount of my time when I am home – I find nothing. They do not hold my faith, my hope, my value. They are just kind of there and there is nothing wrong with spending time to enjoy something luxurious.

But, I want my definition of luxury to change.

I have not spent much time, okay any time, outside of the United States. I have never been overseas and I have only been in a plane for one round trip. I get a lot of questions of, “How do you know you will like it if you have never done it.” Well… because I know God is calling me to do work overseas and anything my Heavenly Father calls me to do is going to be something amazing, of course I am going to love it. Besides, I have a fiery passion to go overseas. It is a terrifying want – I would by lying if I said that the thought of doing missions work and living overseas did not terrify me. But something that scares you is not always a bad thing.

I want my definition of luxury to change because,

I am tired of being comfortable.

I am tired of not being exposed to all the cultures, people, and languages that go from one end of the earth to the other.

I am tired of holding back.

I am tired of routine.

God did not call us to be comfortable. He called us to do some crazy things – like make disciples and love our enemies. He called us to heal people through him, he called us spread the Good News. The image of this does not look like binge watching the latest Netflix original.

And for some people the image of this does not look like going overseas and that is great for you! Some people are called to stay in their home country, some are called to stay in their small towns. That is great!

But some of us are called to do work overseas – in a new country, with a different set of customs. A country with a different view of luxury. And that is also great! I say go out and chase what God is calling you to do. Too many times have I ignored His plans for me because I was scared and/or uncomfortable. He has something amazing for you!

Resolutions Update #1

So at the beginning of the year I made a post (New Year, Old Year) about my goals and resolutions for the 2017 year and I just wanted to give a quick update on some of those.

  • Goal: Read the entire Bible this year.
  • Update: So far I have read almost everyday. I have read through Genesis, Job, and Matthew and I am currently reading through Exodus and Mark. I am about 3 days behind but I am persevering and not giving up!
  • Goal: Do things that scare me
  • Update: I got the summer job in Minnesota and it terrifies me to move away for 14 weeks, to a state I am unfamiliar with, and not knowing anybody. I actually bought my plane tickets this week so I am in this! I also plan on, when the weather clears up, to conquer my biggest fear: motorcycles. I know, I know, most people its spiders, or snakes, or death, but for me it is motorcycles.
  • Goal: Read more
  • Update: Okay this one is not going well. Besides reading my class books and the Bible I have started (but not finished) one book on my read list.
  • Goal: Blog More
  • Update: Well I am not doing the best at this but I am doing better at it. That counts right?
  • Goal: Be healthier
  • Update: I have been eating healthier. I have yet to workout… oops… but I have made some health changes. I am making sure to drink at least 8 cups of water a day, and instead of eating out for lunch constantly or buying frozen TV dinners, I have been making my lunches for the week on Sundays. So my eating habits are getting healthier now I just need to take the plunge to work out
  • Goal: Write more
  • Update: I have wrote nothing. Unless I count these blog posts, lab reports, and research essays.
  • Goal: Be a better listener, friend, and daugher
  • Update: Actually this is going decently. I am working on saying “Me, My, I” less and turning the conversation to focus on the other person. I am doing more for my mom, I am working on repairing my relationship with my step-dad. So this is actually going really good.
  • Goal: Learn to crochet
  • Update: I have not touched any of my crochet stuff. I used my yarn for a different project though so at least it is still being put to use.
  • Goal: Finish unfinished projects
  • Update: I really need to set up my senior year photo album.. which I should have done 3 years ago. I just need to go through thousands of pictures and get some printed. I also have a lot of EMPTY picture frames I need to put photos in. Maybe I will do that during spring break.
  • Goal: Start learning another language
  • Update: I have made no progress here. What’s the best way to learn a language?
  • Goal: Join a discipleship group or Bible Study
  • Update: I have gone to a Bible Study this year. I went once last week and was not able to make it this week. But I am actively working to surround myself with people that share the same values and beliefs with me.

So overall, I feel like I am doing pretty good. Consider I work 40-45 hours a week, and I go to classes 3 out of 7 days a week, along with my online classes, I am making some good progress. It is only February so I am pretty happy with where I am at on my goals.  I am only home Wednesday Nights, some Saturdays, and Sunday afternoons. So not too shabby!

But I do plan on keeping yall updated, and it helps me stay accountable and keep track with my progress! Don’t give up on your goals!

 

How Valentines Day Humbled Me

First and foremost I am happy to announce I have internet again after a month(ish) without. So a big yay for that and a big yay for college campuses and Starbucks, I appreciate the use of your wifi. Since then I have been jotting down notes in my phone on blog posts to make so I hope that I can get all of those posted over the next week or two.

Anyways, back to my post for today.

So it has been a few days since Valentines day. I hate valentines day, it has never been a celebration worthy holiday for me. Even when I have been in relationships I did not celebrate Valentines. Just not my thing.

My mom told me the Friday before that she was going to bake brownies for her team she sees on Tuesdays. I gave her a hard time because the only reason she was doing this for them was because of some holiday. I am not all for the “I am buying you something because that is what we do this holiday” and yes, I do complain about the gift giving at Christmas time as well it should not be so commercialized but that is a different post for a different time. I am all for showing love and doing small acts of kindness for others, but it should be done throughout the whole year and not just on holidays.

I have a tendency to be stubborn though. I will NEVER buy people something because of Valentines day. That is what I always thought and always argued for.

Then Valentines day comes along.

All morning I had an urge to treat my mom and step-dad to lunch. After wrestling with it, I finally gave in and took them to their place of choice for lunch. “Happy Valentines day,” I said with slight sarcasm in my voice (okay, maybe a lot of sarcasm).

That is it, I have done my good deed for today.  I ‘celebrated’ and now I am done.

Then the afternoon of Valentines day comes along.

I spent all afternoon with the thought in my head to buy two of my classmates, a friend, and my brother some candy. NO! I did not want to do that, I was tired of it being Valentines day. I was wrong again. The urge would not be shaken off and forgotten. So I leave work early, stop by the store (which I despised), and picked up some bags of candy to give to 4 people. That number quickly went from 1 to 4. I go home, pack up my stuff for class, along with the candy and head off to class. I pass out the candy and a friend I gave some to said that it, “made her day.” That was a nice thing to hear and apparently I got her her favorite candy.

So… I say this to remind people how important it is to do little things for people. I might have just bought lunch, or candy, because it was a holiday, but I also bought it because God kept telling me to just let go and do it. It did not matter that it was February 14th, it mattered that I thought about those people and did something to brighten their days.

I find it easy to get caught up in my stubborn ways. To decide I will do things my way and stick with that. But, I also was reminded that my way needs to be changed to God’s way, to the way that is about love and compassion for others. I have spent every Valentines day concerned with MY defiance against the holiday instead of thinking about how my small act of kindness could brighten the day for SOMEONE else.

So though I spend the day begrudgingly doing these things, the next day I realized just how humbling it was. I realized how everyday, including the holidays, is a day to take advantage of doing something for someone else.

So to all of you, especially to those Valentine day haters out there, whatever reason you have not to do something for someone else, set your pride, stubborness, or anything else to the side and just go out and make a difference for someone else. It does not matter how small or big what you do is.

Habits Die Hard

Can I just say that breaking a bad habit is extremely difficult? I mean, someone agrees with that… right? Well, I have developed a lot of bad habits. I say that out of honesty to myself and to you guys. As I was fasting last week, which I will share that experience with you in a post to come I realized something.  I have a lot of bad habits! But before I dive into that let me take you on a flashback.

Growing up I was a sports fanatic. I tried everything – running, basketball, softball, gymnastics, cheerleading, volleyball (which I am horrendous at), tennis. I stuck with Gymnastics for about 6-7 years and cheerleading for 13 years. During this times I had good habits, it was pre-Facebook/Instagram/Twittter/Snapchat time and I was not allowed to have a MySpace. I had a little 12-inch screen box TV, and my time was full spent doing extracurricular activities. I was physically active everyday, I never cared for TV or movies, and had no cell phone to spend time on. Eating habits were in the middle of good and bad but cafeteria food is not the best anyways. These were healthy habits.

Then came high school. I don’t remember how all of this went down but I got my first smartphone, the HTC Evo 3D and it has gone downhill from that. All of a sudden in my 3 years of high school, I had a smartphone (eventually upgrading to a Galaxy S3), a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, a new game system, a bigger TV, a Netflix account, and a growing collection of movies. Due to a knee injury I was no longer doing cheerleading and I rarely got exercise, even more so after I graduated. Now I find myself glued to the safety and warmness of my bed, my eyes fixated on a TV while occasionally playing on my Kindle and jumping onto social media. I get bored, I get on Facebook or play a phone game. I spend my extra time doing nothing. Even when classes are going on, I have to battle with myself to overcome my desire to binge watch some show on Netflix. It seems so fast that all of this happened, but the bad habits are easier. Good habits are hard. What happened?

Well, I could answer that questions a million ways, pinpointing excuses – electronics, the ease of access to TV shows, a constant growing list of must watches that friends recommended, and it goes on.  But I am the problem. I have grown to love my 32-inch screen more than a 360 view I encounter when I have to put the effort into doing something else. It is easier to just fix my eyes on something and stay in that state. So, how do you break old habits?

Well.. I am not a good person to ask because I have absolutely no idea but I am working on it. They have become addictions – my TV and Facebook. So that brings me to this: last week on my fast I gave up food, social media, and pointless TV. I watched the first part of The Bible series but that was all I watched. It was so much easier than expected when I took the shortcuts off of my home screen. Opening the Bible app became 2nd nature to me when I got bored. I replaced Facebook with the Bible and it was grand. Five days without Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, and I did it. It was easy. Until..

My fast ended.

On Saturday.

Just like that, I had access again.

“I am just going to check notifications, 5 minutes,” I tell myself. I click the little blue icon, check the 22 notifications and then what was probably 15-30 minutes later I get off after scrolling through my news feed. It is now Wednesday and I wish I could say I have had one day where I did not spend more then 1 hour on Facebook, but I can’t say that. So, again I ask, what happened?

I happened. Me. It was so easy to go back to reading pointless posts, articles shared, comedic or serious videos that filter through my news feed. It was easy to fall back into the habit I had developed long before the fast. So here I go again, trying to defeat a habit. I could make it simple, delete Facebook. But I do like to keep my long distance family and friends updated with my life and stay up to date with theirs. Now I explore how to break away from the grips that I have found myself in.

Then I come to the TV. Saturday was a lazy day for me, so I played Pitfall on the GameCube and watched A.D. The Bible Continues since I had not watched it yet. Sunday I went to church, came home and continued the series. Monday I finished the series. Tuesday night I had class and when I got home, did my devotional, etc. I did not turn on my TV because it was time for me to go to sleep. So that brings me to tonight. Tonight I have homework calling, so I test to see if I can stay away from the habit of switching my TV on and forgetting my responsibilities. We will see how well that works.

Next comes eating habits. I have ate more fruit since Saturday then I probably did in the entirety of last year, or I have come close to it. And I have been craving a pizza with extra cheese and meat topped with Parmesan. But I have yet to succumb to this, I have continued a healthy diet but what happens when I am back to normal as far as eating. Will the new habits stay? If I try I know I can do it, but I must battle my not so healthy cravings and replace them with healthier foods which is easier said.

I want to develop better habits like I once had. I want to eat healthier, exercise more, spend less time in front of a phone or TV screen. I want them enough to make attempts but not enough to avoid falling back into old habits. So I try to find a balance, a balance of a little bit absent and a little bit present, mixing old and new. I will figure out a way to do this, and once (and if) I do, I will be more than happy to share that with you. In the meantime, any advice on breaking old habits that die hard?

P.S. The GameCube is pretty much my favorite system. I have a N64, a PS2, and an X-Box 360, but The GameCube will always be my favorite.

Last Week of Freedom

This is my last week of freedom. Freedom from school to be more specific! And along with that comes freedom from assignments, forced reading, mandatory nights that I have to show up to class. I have had a total of 5 weeks off of school and I have enjoyed what I have been able to do when I am not in class. Such as reading, writing, and enjoying less stressful days. I went back to work last week but my schedule will soon be:

Monday-Friday: Work from 8-5

Monday: Class from 7-10

Tuesday: Class from 5:40-6:55

Thursday: Class from 5:40-6:55

Friday: Errand night – grocery shopping, and any errands that need to be done

This doesn’t include church events and Sundays, as well as an abundance of homework. Not to mention I want to fit in a discipleship group somewhere in the midst of that schedule. But I only have 4 semesters left til I graduate so *YAY*

If you are wondering what classes I am taking, I am taking Biology and Biology lab (I put science off until the last minute, I am not a science person), Public Messages, Dark Side of Communications (I am super excited for this one), and my senior seminar.

I am spending this week, my last week of freedom, doing a church-wide fast. My first fast ever and I am on day 2 out of 5 and so far so good. Not only am I doing a fast from food, I am also doing a fast from social media and spending the week listening to only Christian music and I am watching The Bible series just to have a week filled with Jesus. I do this to not only spend the week in prayer for my church, pastor, Every Nation, but I also do this for some Spiritual renewal. After the hectic-ness of last year I am enjoying this time to just breathe and be surrounded by God’s peace and presence so that I can get my mind clear and ready for what’s to come this year.

So this goes out to my last week of a school-free life because I won’t have another break until December. College is great and all, but I have to admit I am so TIRED of school. School for 13 years, then higher education for 4 years, and that does not include time to get Masters/Doctors/etc. I plan to get my masters but I am taking a year off before I do that. I also don’t plan on going further than my masters but plans change so we will see. So to all of those college kids out there, I wish you the best on the semester(s) to come, and if you are near to graduation just keep pushing through.

Moolah and Materials

Money, money, money. Let’s get real, most of us are either great with handling money or we aren’t and I have met very few people in the middle ground of being somewhat good and somewhat bad with money. Me? Yeah I am in that middle ground. I go on streaks where I am great, I pay my bills with almost no extra spending. I don’t make much anyways so I don’t have a lot of money. Then I have times where my money is gone before I even get it because sometimes I buy very useless items that in the long run bring me no value or special meaning whatsoever. But I HAVE TO HAVE IT!

DONT spend money.

SPEND money.

I NEED that

I WANT that.

SALES! Well, now I HAVE to get it.

If you ask me what I think of money, it is just green paper. I mean I have green paper at the office I work at and it isn’t that special. At the same time I know how important money is – to pay bills, eat, and keep a roof on your head – it almost becomes a necessity, right?

Nonetheless, as a 20 year old I try to find the sweet spot – not spending too much but still allowing myself to buy a new book, or a movie, or a soft blanket. Just something small that I can enjoy. Sounds easy, but for some reason if I aim to buy 1 book I buy 14 (I speak out of my experience last weekend) and if I am to buy 1 shirt it turns into 4 (also out of my experience last weekend). And then I go two or three weeks without spending anything. I see the receipt and because of sales I saved $84.00 dollars and *BOOM* my spending is justified.

My theory is when I die, I won’t die rich or poor because of the amount in my bank account or the materials I possess in my house. I will die rich or poor based on the things I did, the love I shared, and the people I helped and influenced. I am rich in God’s love and to me that is the best form of payment. This theory is partially why, at times I can be irresponsible with money because it is just money. At the same time I have had this thought for the longest time and still keep buying stuff.  So this year, I am going to spend less and do more.

I tried getting the spending out of my system. On the last day of December I bought 14 books (happily so a gift card paid for half of those) and I bought some new workout clothes (all paid for by a gift card except $2.00). Point being though I am going to spend my money to go on mission trips and travel and to touch other peoples lives. I have, somewhere along the line, become lazy and too materialistic and it happens to a lot of us. It’s fine to read a book and watch a movie or TV show but it should not be what a person does all night and every night all year, which is what I started doing aside from grocery shopping on Friday night.

This is a hard habit to break but as I take on the challenge of doing things that scare me, part of that challenge includes to stop doing nothing and start doing something, anything. So as I enter the year, I hope to spend less on materials, except my Friday night dinner with my brother and my Sunday lunch with friends after church. These are wonderful memories I make. But I will spend less on movies and books, I will stop saying “I HAVE to have that” because in reality I don’t. Instead I hope to say, “That would be great to have, but I have lived and can live without it” and that money will be best put to other things.

I try this knowing that I will struggle greatly with it. I try this knowing I will fail a few times but I will try again, and again, and again.

 

New Year, Old Year

Okay guys… let me be the first to say… I FAILED at blogging last year. Ha! I could make excuses like I got caught up in schoolwork or personal stuff but I am not going to do that. In light of being honest, I kept putting it off and then I never got around to that. So here I go.. I am trying for round 2 of this! I will probable fail again but I am going to keep attempting because I want to blog regularly. So lets try this again…

So here is my 2016 in review:

  • My dad died January 20th. It made for some tough holidays but I can’t believe its almost been a year since his passing.
  • My lawyer for my dads estate died sometime in February.
  • My parents truck got repoed and they almost got evicted… twice.
  • Our water heater broke….
  • Our faucet broke so thanksgiving we used paper plates, huzzah! P.S. sorry environment…
  • My Dad’s Estate has been a pain to take care of.
  • I finished another 3 semesters of college and was in school for 48 weeks straight before I had a break. Boy was I ready for that break.
  • I got engaged to my boyfriend of 3 years in November
  • In December I called off the engagement and ended the relationship. Do you know how sometimes you just realize something isn’t meant to be? Yeah, I had that realization.

So with all of that being said, I have to say I am a big fan of resolutions, but for me they are more like goals. I am not a “new year, new me” person but more like new goals for a new year and to strive for more things and try to be a better person because I can always improve on myself. In light of that let me share my 2017 goals with all of you.

  • First and foremost, I will read the entire Bible this year since there is a handful of books I have not read. It is important to note that this has been my goal for 3 years now and I have yet to accomplish it. The first year I tried, I couldn’t get through parts of the Old Testament so I gave up. The next year I kept up with it until about April. Last year I did well up until July. This year I have a new way to go into it so lets see if that works. So far I am on day 3 and I am loving it! This also goes to say I plan on doing a lot of spiritual growth this year.
  • Secondly, I am going to do things that scare me. Which almost seems to be everything. I miss being a kid when I dived headfirst without worry about everything else. So I am going to learn to be alone, I am also going to learn to be a part of new groups. I applied for a mission trip, I applied for a summer job in Minnesota (note that I live in Texas), and I am just going to go headfirst into this year and get out of my head.
  • Thirdly, I am going to read more. Last year, I read NO books for my pleasure but I read around 10 500-600 page college textbooks. But that is not leisurely, trust me. I read a post that said, “You are thrown into the world of the last book you read, would you survive?” The last book I read was Crisis Communication and Intro to Geology
  • Fourth, I am going to attempt to blog more. Easier said than done, but it is a goal.
  • Fifthly, I want to be healthier. Gyms scare me to be honest, so I am going to take baby steps to getting to this point. Since I work for 9 hours and in a couple of weeks have night classes 3 days a week I am going to try to fit in some workout time in the mornings. In light of this I am spending this week and next week getting my sleep schedule adjusted – which is hard for an insomniac. So bedtime at 10 and wake up at 6. Today I woke up at 6:15 not too shabby, but I also went to sleep at 11:30 after lying in bed for an hour and a half. I gave in and took my medicine which  I try to avoid doing but I was desperate and just wanted to go to sleep. After this couple of weeks I will start easy with some in-home yoga and workouts and I will build up to going to the gym as well as eating healthier after my church-wide fast next week.
  • And for some smaller things I plan on doing:
    • Write more, just some short stories, nothing big or overwhelming
    • Be a better listener, friend, and daughter
    • Learn to crochet
    • Finish unfinished projects
    • Start learning another language
    • Join a Discipleship group or Bible Study.

This are the biggies. I am taking baby steps. I have learned the hard way to not overwhelm myself by just jumping right into everything. I just give up when I do that so I am building up to them and they don’t all have to begin this month. Some of them I won’t get around to until later parts of the year and that’s okay. So I start this year with a clear mind, open to all the possibilities around me. Here is to 2017.

 

 

Well Hello There!

Okay… so my last post was quite sometime ago..

Please, allow me to explain…. PLEASE

Okay are you ready…??? I haven’t forgotten about all of you lovely people reading, following, posting. Heck, I even read as many of your posts as I could when I was in the 15 square foot spot that allowed for a connection.

Well I have been out of town for a few weeks – in the middle of nowhere with practically no internet connection – and came back last week only to be welcomed by final exams, twice as much work at work, and pure exhaustion. As well as Pokemon GO addiction (but man I grew up playing that game and love having it on the GO). More about that later though.

I have returned from church camp. Where I spend anywhere from 15-20 hours out of my 24 hour day, each day, filming, editing, and presenting videos. Where I also spend the hours watching these kids go from disbelief to complete emergence in their faith and relationship with Christ. Seriously, the 2 days that we did Baptisms I cried. It is just so beautiful to watch the transformation.

But I am back, and boy do I have a lot of stuff to share with you guys. I mean I will try to resist the urge of making 50 posts today but I just have so much to say and share. I love camp but am happy to be home where I don’t have to worry about black widows and scorpions in my shower and hornets casually flying around everywhere.

Regression (2015)

Okay so I watched this unplanned last night after watching A Walk in the Woods (review to come). I was originally going to read, but then I ran across this on Amazon Prime and thought, “Hey I almost bought that movie Saturday!” That led me to watching it. Thank you Amazon Prime, thank you because I didn’t want to spend $20.00 on this.

What’s it About?

17 year old Angela Gray accuses her father of raping her. Though having no memory of this, the father says he did it. Detective Bruce Kenner along with psychology professor Kenneth Raines, work to get to the bottom of what really happened. Kenneth uses hypnotic regression to trigger memories not only in John, his father, but also the other members of the Gray family. This brings to light the activity of a satanic cult. Angela recalls, in very detailed manners, the rituals, the rape, the cult sacrificing babies, the painted faces, and tells a  chilling story. Soon, even our detective falls prey to what he believes is real and what is fake.

Who is in it?

Ethan Hawke as the detective, Emma Watson as Angela Gray, and David Thewlis as Kenneth our psychologist. Along with Lothaire Bluteau, Dale Dickey, David Dencik, and Devon Bostik. Devon Bostik being in this actually surprised me and made me happy because I love him on The 100.

Should You Watch It?

First off, it is important to note that this film is inspired by true events. During the 80’s and 90’s a widespread paranoia about satanic child abuse and rituals was sweeping through the nation, and there were even some court cases but a lack of hard evidence. I always like when a movie is based off of something real and talks about something so controversial.

Ethan Hawke does a tremendous job at playing the detective. The detective starts off having a hard time believing that a satanic cult, or the devil, is real. Then he falls into the paranoia that the cult will be after him next. He captures the seriousness, confusion, belief, and fear of his character very well.

Emma Watson also gives a pretty good performance. If you wanna keep watching her in roles outside of Harry Potter give this a shot. She does a pretty convincing job of playing deeply disturbed Angela Gray who is involved in nearly unspeakable deeds.

Technically the film is also pretty good. Script wise it is strong, and the camera angles are beautifully done. For some people, it would be a turn off that it is hard to tell real vs. fake at times and the special effects do get a little out there, but there is definitely worse

The film’s subject is not for everyone. If you do not want to see a deeply religious person, the satanic devil involvement, a stereotypical psychologist who is science minded, and the discussion of rape, sacrificing, and child abuse then this film is not for you. Seriously, I warned you.

The ending. I saw the ending coming about half-way through the film. Taking into consideration I was familiar with the phenomena and the cases the film is based on, and because of one very specific shot put into the film, I saw it coming. I think they tried to give closure to the viewers, and the ending was okay, but I wish it was done slightly differently.

Final Thoughts:

Okay I would give this a 7.5/10. Cinematically and technically this film was sound. Alejandro Amenabar did a great job directing this, his camera angles, choice of lighting, and overall direction was well done and complimented the film. I liked the core, special effects, script, and acting overall. This is a good mystery/thriller. Is it something you need to watch right now? Nah, probably not. However, it is worth a try. I mean I would watch this again just to pay more attention to the detective as he becomes obsessed with this case. I mean OBSESSED with this case, sleep-deprived, confused, and scared, but also confident at times. Brava Ethan Hawke, brava. He really brought it all together.

Image: http://www.empirecinemas.co.uk/synopsis/regression/f4716

The Church

I go to a non-denominational church. It is a pretty big church actually, with a total of 5 services on Sunday (3 in English and 2 in Spanish). The kid department is overwhelmingly large (trust me, I used to work in it). The people are great though. In my past experiences large churches were just overwhelming – flashy, loud, bright, with a constant non-stop buzz. My church isn’t though, it is large but not flashy. It is loud but loud because nothing makes our family happier than loudly singing and proclaiming all that is good. The church is also quiet – quiet as we gather around to listen, to learn, to pray, to be empathetic and welcoming, to be understanding, congratulating, and humble. To be adventurous but to be adventurous for God when he calls us to go and we go. There is always something going on – an author, a special guest, a worship night, a prayer fast for the month, baptisms, new people, baby dedications, and it is joyful to get to see the Holy Spirit moving throughout the church.

It is important to remember that not all Christians are the same. There are people who use the name of God (and even specific religions) to condemn and dismiss others that they feel don’t fit into the Kingdom of God.

But then there are some of us who know that there is a spot for everyone in the Kingdom of God just take the step. We use the beauty of our God to exhibit love, kindness, forgiveness, and acceptance of ALL people – not just people we deem fit because it is not up to us. My church stands for this and it makes me proud for it to be a part of my home.

I grew up in a small baptist church going with one of my friends and her family. I don’t remember much honestly, and I can’t exactly tell you why I didn’t like it there, I just didn’t. It could be because I didn’t feel welcomed, accepted, loved, I just felt like a physical body showing up. Then I started suffering from depression and stopped going to church. When I did go back I went to a church that cared more about the flashiness and less about the message. I stopped going again for 2 years. Now I am in a church that feels like home and I am addicted – seriously I can’t get enough of it and it is wonderful. I think it is important for a person to find a church where they feel at home.

A place they feel loved.

A place they feel accepted.

A place they feel they can connect with God.

A place that is more than just a building.

My family doesn’t go to church – just me. They used to (they went to the more flashy church and for some reason they stopped going. They liked it, but they stopped, maybe even though they liked it they didn’t feel connected). Trust me though – I ask constantly if they want to go and I will go to ANY service of their choosing. I go to the earliest service *yay being a morning person* but they are not morning people so I would gladly go to second or third service. However, my brother promised to go to one service when he feels ready and that is okay I am praying for him (and the rest of them) to find God and when he is ready I will gladly take him. They sometimes get tired of me talking about my faith but it hasn’t stopped me yet – just like every “no, not this week,” has not stopped me from asking.

It doesn’t matter what church you grew up going to (if you did), it does not matter what denomination those around you associate with if they associate with one at all. The beauty of being a child of God is that He gives us freedom and with freedom comes choices. We get to pick our churches and our denominations, and it is a person’s choice to believe or to not believe in God.

Recently I met up with two of my friends who I have not seen in almost a year. One of whom grew up in a Catholic church and since moving to college has been going to a Church of Christ. Her mom does not support her doing this. I however am happy to see her going to church after moving to a new city and going from high school to college. I am happy to see her finding herself through God and finding a place that she loves and feels at home with. I am happy to see how happy she is about her new church, the people, and what she feels like has become a home to her.

My other friend grew up in a large Baptist church. Actually the largest Baptist church in my town. Her fiance does not like Baptist churches (bad experiences) and prefers non-denominational churches. He happens to go to my church – which was a shocker to me but he goes to 2nd service and I go to 1st which is why we never see each other – and she has been coming to church with him. She also hasn’t been able to go to church every week after a recent promotion to manager – but she goes bi-weekly. Her friends and family have told her that she is pulling away from God and also do not support her changing churches. Again this breaks my heart. I hear her talk about how much she likes our church and how much she enjoys it and her eyes light up. But I can see how much the disapproval saddens her. I am happy for her going out and trying something new, and discovering how much she likes it. I am happy for her searching for God in different ways outside what she was raised.

The point is we all have the choice. We pick our church, our religious beliefs, and how we live our life. It is important to seek God however you feel he is calling you to do that and sometimes he calls us in different ways than those around us. Also, going to church every week does not make you less of a Christian. Sometimes we have a job that does not allow us to have Sunday morning’s off, that’s okay. Sometimes you discover a church that is different than what you were raised in, that’s okay. Sometimes you go from being a person who went to church, stopped going, went again, stopped going, and then going again, that’s okay. Sometimes you go from being a person who never went to church and now going, that’s okay. Sometimes you find one church, one denomination, and you always believed and you always stay there, that’s okay. What matters is that you are seeking God and to each person that looks different because our journey’s and experiences are different.