Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Book Review: Lilies in Moonlight

I had a chance to read the book Lilies in Moonlight by Allison K. Pittman through Waterbrook-Multnomah's Blogging For Books program. Set in 1925, it's the story of a "modern woman" trying to make her way by selling Dalliance cosmetics door to door after being kicked out of her home by her mother. She crosses paths with a confused elderly woman named Betty Ruth.

The book was an entertaining read, as Lilly, Betty Ruth, Betty Ruth's son Cullen (a former baseball player who was burned by mustard gas in WWI), their housekeeper and their driver head from Florida to Pennsylvania on a mission to see the Pittsburgh Pirates play in the World Series.

This book had some great lesson on forgiveness, acceptance, family and new beginnings. Lilly and her mother need to work out their differences and forgive each other. Cullen needs to learn to accept himself, despite his limitations and disfigurement, and both of them need to figure out how to deal with Betty Ruth's slide into senility.

While I really enjoyed this book, there were a few items in this book that might raise an eyebrow with some. Lilly definitely isn't a role model through most of the book: drunkenness, parties, references to her past involvement with men, etc. While she does change over the course of the book, returning to the faith of her youth, there were a few scenes in the book that I thought were a bit too "edgy" for Christian fiction.

The Woodcarver Review & Giveaway

I had a chance to review the movie "The Woodcarver" over the weekend. It's the story of a troubled teenage boy, Matthew, who takes out his anger over his parents' broken marriage by vandalizing a church. When Matthew is assigned the task of repairing the damage he's done, he crosses paths with "Old Ernest," a talented woodcarver who has retreated into a world of loneliness since the death of his beloved wife. 

As Matthew and Ernest work together to carve the wood needed the church renovation, Matthew learns more about love, family, hard work, and Jesus. He changes from a rebellious, angry young man to one who focuses on "What Would Jesus Do?" It was touching to see how the changes in Matthew's life rippled out to change the lives of those around him. 

Even though this movie touched on subjects like divorce, death of a spouse, a workaholic attitude, corrupt business practices, and arson, it still managed to be a great "feel good" movie, one I have no qualms about donating to the church library to share with others.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Movie Review/Giveaway: Three Hearts

I had a chance recently to watch a movie call "Three Hearts". It's the story of the Children's Heart Project, a division of Franklin Graham's Samaritan's Purse, and how they bring three children from Mongolia to the United States to have life-changing heart surgery. 

I had heard about Samaritan's Purse before, thanks to their "shoebox ministry." The church my daughter attended in Erie, PA had an annual drive to fill thousands and thousands of shoeboxes with small gifts for children around the world. I had never heard of the Children's Heart Project, though, and this movie was a wonderful introduction.

About Three Hearts:
A passionate team of people work to save the lives of three Mongolian children with life-threatening heart defects.
Graduating college senior, Cissie Graham Lynch, granddaughter of evangelist Billy Graham, takes on an internship at Samaritan’s Purse working with the Children’s Heart Project. This project is dedicated to saving the lives of children by providing medical procedures that aren’t available in many countries. Cissie is charged with supervising the arrival and surgeries of three Mongolian children suffering from fatal congenital heart defects. 
But the task is not easy and filled with unexpected challenges.  Cissie balances responsibilities as a newly married wife to a professional football player and her tasks with the internship.  Meanwhile the Children’s Heart team turns to a Texas family who travels to Mongolia for the adventure of a lifetime to help bring the children to San Antonio for their surgeries.  In Texas, two host families make sacrifices to care for these children and their mothers, while a team of doctors and nurses volunteer their time only to stare directly into the face of life and death. How far would you go to save a life?
It’s a fight for survival, a fight of faith, and a fight for a new life for these three hearts.

The movie is about such a serious topic: children who would probably not live past their twenties without heart surgery...and that heart surgery just can't be done in their country. The movie Three Hearts presents the stories of the three children (two teenage boys and a young girl) with warmth and humor. I cried with the families, laughed with them, paced while waiting for the outcome of the surgeries, and rejoiced with them. Cissie was supposed to go to Mongolia to meet the patients and bring the families back to the United States, but decided that, being a newlywed, she shouldn't make a commitment that would separate her from her husband for three months. She came up with a plan to send a young boy from Texas and his family in her stead, since the boy had heart surgery as an infant. Watching him and his family experience life in Mongolia (including fermented camel milk!), encourage the families of the Mongolian heart patients, and support them in their travel back to the United States was both entertaining and heart-warming. 

I would highly recommend this video for families and church libraries! I think that churches all across the country should become aware of the Children's Heart Project. The more churches, doctors and hospitals we can get to support this project, the more children they can help, physically and spiritually.

The Giveaway! 

I have the chance to give away a copy of  "Three Hearts" to one of my readers. 

There are two ways to enter: 

1. By leaving a comment below (leave your e-mail address if it doesn't show up in your Google profile, so I can contact the winner)

2. Or, if you would rather not post your e-mail on a public blog, you can send me an e-mail at - with the subject line "Three Hearts"

Giveaway ends on Sunday, March 18, 2012 at 11:59 PM. Limited to U.S. residents only, age 13 and up. Limit one entry per person per day.
"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services 
mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I 
only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. 
I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: 
"Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."