Adoption Update

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Good news. Extraordinary news.

Incredible, exciting, jubilant, fantastic, exquisite news!

We had out first adoption social worker visit last week. Not a foster care social worker, but an ADOPTION worker. We have now officially begun the process of adopting Baby A.!! (The real name of which we’ll reveal at the time of adoption.)

At seventeen and a half months, Baby A. is doing wonderful. She is growing fast and learning even faster. She laughs a lot and sleeps through the night (mostly), and really loves to be tickled. She just recently overcame her fear of the bucket swing at the local park, loves to slide down the biggest and fastest slides, and is always anxious to go outside for a walk or splash around in the bathtub.

She’s also learning to be a really good big sister to Baby B. – whose case is being audited so we can get him into the adoption process quicker.

So when will we get to sign the official adoption papers? The worker said it could take up to ninety days for everything to be finalized, so we’re hoping sometime in September.

That feels like waiting for Christmas 2019. But in the meantime, we’re anxious to have her belong to us officially. Sarabeth and I cannot possibly be any happier to have her in our lives and in our home, as we couldn’t possibly imagine a better daughter.

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Spielberg Movies Ranked From Worst to Best

spielberg_steven_websiteI’m sure that every person in America over fifteen has seen at least one Steven Spielberg movie. With Jurassic World coming out next month, we’re all reminded of one the director’s greatest cinematic achievements. Even though the fourth part of the franchise isn’t directed by our beloved Spielberg, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at some of his best and worst movies. This list is purely my opinion and I left out the movies I either haven’t seen or didn’t remember enough to include. Add your opinions in the comments below!

15. War Horse (2011) – I don’t remember ever being so bored by a movie. You could tell that Spielberg’s heart
was in a different place during this making of this film.

14. Lincoln (2012) – I loved the education behind the movie, but I was hoping it would be more of a biographical piece rather than a topical piece about the fight for emancipation of slavery.

13. A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001) – I saw this movie years and years ago, and I remember being both intrigued maxresdefaultby the imaginative dystopia that was portrayed as well as coming out extremely depressed. Something about Pinocchio…

12. Amistad (1997) – I love this movie about the slave ship Amistad, where the crew pulled off a mutiny and were tried as slaves. It’s only flaw is that it runs about forty minutes longer than I think is necessary, but it’s a fascinating account nonetheless.

11. The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) – Easily the worst movie in the Jurassic Park franchise, but there’s still dinosaurs chasing people, and that puts this movie much higher up on my list than it deserves to be.

Minority-Report10. Minority Report (2002) – Totally impressive idea about people being arrest before they commit a crime. The concept always gets me wondering: What if?

9. Indiana Jones Movies (the span of many years) – I just mashed all four movies into one here. There’s great things about the series, and some things that don’t really hold up, but overall, a great series for the family to invest in (that is, if you don’t let your kids watch the Nazis be obliterated by God’s wrath).

8. Hook (1991) – Robin Williams. Dustin Hoffman. Peter Pan. ‘Nough said.

7. E.T. (1982) – This one still makes me cheer and holler when they’re riding their bikes through town to get E.T. home.

6. War of the Worlds (2005) – I know this wasn’t a very popular movie with most people, especially after Tom Cruise’s little episode on Oprah’s couch, but man this movie was intense!

5. Jaws (1975) – The thing I love about Spielberg’s movies is that there’s usually substance and character jaws_592x299development before all the action kicks in at full throttle. This film is a direct example of that.

4. Jurassic Park (1993) – Again, dinos. In dinosaurs’ greatest movie ever.

catch-me-if-you-can.123903. Catch Me If You Can (2002) – What genre is this movie in? Comedy? Drama? No, it’s fun. The genre is fun. Right there next to Italian Job and The Incredibles.

2. Schindler’s List (1993)  – One of those movies where you can’t speak for about an hour after you watch it.

1. Saving Private Ryan (1998) – Greatest war movie ever. Power flows out of this movie.

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The Tough Question for Writers

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As an author I am constantly asking myself, Is this something I would read? And I think all authors ask that.

My wife once pushed me a step further and said, “It’s great that people will read it, but is it a book that they’ll recommend to their friends?”

THAT changes the game up a bit, doesn’t it?

Because if you think about it, you’re just one person. And if you’re trying to write a breakout book, you’ve got to ask yourself if your book is going to be talked about in work elevators or on little league bleachers.

So go ahead, ask those harder questions, because that’s one more thing that’s going to push you to write better.

You won’t find bologna sandwiches on my new Facebook author page, but you’ll find more pearls of wisdom. That, or just really cool stuff.

Inside Out Early Reviews!

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If you know me, you know I’m freakishly, uncontrollably, unfathomably, impossibly, unquestionably, super excited about Pixar’s newest movie coming out this summer! (Let’s add a few more exclamation points for emphasis… !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) Especially after coming out of the Dark Age of 2014, being completely absent of any movie from the greatest movie studio in the history of the universe.

Inside Out is the story of a little girl named Riley and the emotions that live inside her head. Thinking through what the movie could be about, I deducted that this could quite possibly be the saddest movie Pixar has come out with since the heart-breaking Up.

I mean, one of the emotions is Sadness, and she’s bound to get her fair share of screen time, and the trailer suggests that the family is not as close as it could be…

Well, I’ve been digging around lately for some early reviews, and so far, the consensus is not just that it could be the saddest movie since Up, but it also has the potential to be the greatest movie Pixar has ever made. And let’s face it, they have their work cut out for them to reach that status!

For those of you a little skeptical after the deplorable Cars 2 and the mediocre Brave and Monsters University (two movies that I actually really enjoyed), put your anxieties and fears to rest.

I read a book written by Pixar’s president and co-founder stating that the studio is serious about getting back to their roots, and with what they have planned and the radical changes they’ve made inside the studio, I have no doubt that they will succeed and they’re about to enter into their second Golden Era just as Disney had (their third) with the release of The Princess and the Frog several years ago.

Read the review for Inside Out by CinemaBlend and let your emotions celebrate and anticipate!

Share with us below what movies Inside Out has to beat in order to be the best Pixar movie ever.

Also, something else to get excited about: My new Facebook fan page! Join it and enjoy!

One of My Favorite Blogs

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This guy is awesome. He worked at a dead-end job a few years back, hated it, but had a wife and kids to support. But he wasn’t going to let his job ruin his life like it does so many others. Jon-Acuff-Do-Over

So he decided to do his life over.

His name is Jon Acuff. You need to check out his blog, and read his book, Do Over (I haven’t yet, but I’m looking forward to picking up a copy). He’s basically like a genius when it comes to writing snappy blog posts and witty Facebook statuses. He’s like the Babe Ruth of the social media sphere.

Here’s his blog:

http://acuff.me

Check it out and I’m sure you’ll have as much fun as I do.

Welcome Summer With This Fun Treat

liam_james_in_the_way_way_back-1920x1080I try to be selective with the movies I recommend on this blog, but as I type this the end credits are rolling on one that just took me by complete surprise. I watched it because it was a serious roll for one of my favorites, Steve Carrell, AKA Michael Scott.

The Way Way Back is a coming-of-age story about a boy who’s just trying to make it through his fourteenth summer without his self-image dissipating any more than it has already.

It’s got the feel of 500 Days of Summer, and is full of 100% awesomeness. Plus, it’s got a great soundtrack to boot. I’ll be revising this movie every summer, as it is a good reminder that we can, in fact, change the things around us if we just step outside of our comfort zones.

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Our Best Friends?

PfoteThey say dog is man’s best friend. I disagree.

Let me explain.

People have had a strong attachment to animals, particularly dogs, for many years. I don’t know the history of man’s relationship with animals, and I’m not going to pretend to. But let’s just go back to the early 1900’s. Even then, people have had a strong attachment to their animals. Think Old Yeller and even The Grapes of Wrath where even the most stoic group of men mourn over a dead dog on the side of the road.

Why do you think that is?

3690_1I think I may have an idea and you can you can take it with a grain of salt.

I feel like the older I get the more compassionate I feel toward animals. I used to love going to Sea World, but knowing how it is an abuse to one of the smartest mammals on the planet, I would be hard pressed to buy another ticket. I am deeply bothered when I see a dead deer on the highway. And don’t even get me started on the movie My Dog Skip or the book The Yearling. 

I think – and I may be wrong – but I think that animals embody a sense of childhood, or innocence, that we all once had and sorely miss.

When our dog Prim does something wrong, I may yell at her for it, but deep down, I know she never intended marley-and-meharm or did anything out of malice. Or when our other dog Pixie takes fifteen minutes before finding a suitable spot to potty on the grass, she’s not doing it to be mean or waste my time – she’s just enjoying being outside for all I know.

But I think animals remind us, even subconsciously, what it was like to be innocent, and when we see Marley die, even see Dug get yelled at and called a “bad dog,” when he did nothing wrong, then it pains us greatly because it’s like a piece of our forgotten innocence has just been torn further away from us.

Dug-upIt’s like an assault on our childhood.

Or maybe I’m looking too much into it and it’s just a simple fact that we just feel a deep bond toward animals for no other reason than that they’re cute and fun to play with and beautiful to watch.

So to say that dog is man’s best friend, I disagree. I think that the pets we bring into our houses become our very family. And to lose them is to lose not only a family member and loyal friend, but also a piece of our younger selves.

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