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In Review

 

I’ve been reviewing quite a few movies recently. Here’s my take on a few at your local theater:

 

Up in the Air

A trio of strong performances, witty dialogue, and a deft blend of snark and heart makes this dramedy soar.

 

 

 

Everybody’s Fine

The acting and poignancy are much more than fine; unfortunately the film gets marred by a heavy-handed message.

 

 

Read more...

Edible Benevolence

 

It was a good trade. I lent my friend Mark some DVDs and he gave me 12 containers of fish, chicken, and beef he and his wife had gotten on the cheap through their food co-op.

The government had Cash for Clunkers. We had Movies for Meat.

I obviously got the better end of that trade. I get to keep the meat; Mark’s eventually going to return my DVDs. But this wasn’t true bartering. This was benevolence.

As Mark told me, “We don’t have tons of cash to give to our unemployed friends, but we have lots of meat!” So that’s what he gave, and what I’ve been happily eating ever since.

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My Cover Girl Moment

 

It was a huge honor. And, honestly, a fearsome thing.

When Larissa, the editor of Christian Single magazine, called and told me they wanted to feature me on their cover, I was pleasantly shocked.

And then slightly horrified. Mainly due to the timing. Before the interview and the photo shoot took place, I got laid off from my job of 15 years. Then I went to China for 16 days for a church trip. So by the day of the big photo shoot a couple days after my return, I was unemployed, jet-lagged, weighing 20 pounds more than I wanted to. And now being crowned the Queen of the Single People.

Say cheese!

Driving myself to the photo studio the day of the shoot, I remember telling myself to just get over myself and own it. During my 15 years on a magazine editorial staff, I'd been present at many photo shoots where the cover girl obviously felt self-conscious (a feeling I especially get now). And I'd seen some of the resulting deer-in-the-headlights pictures.

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Jobless but Thankful

 

Unemployment came as a huge surprise six months ago. But that’s nothing compared to my surprise at the blessings that have accompanied this unwanted life stage. As we pause to give thanks today, here’s what this unemployed woman is thanking God for:

-the chance to go to China a few weeks after losing my job, preventing me from sitting and moping and forcing me to focus on others and our fascinating world.
 
-my Anonymous Caffeinator, who keeps sending me Starbucks gift cards in the mail.
 
-the time to volunteer with an English as a Second Language class twice a week, where the students (refugees and immigrants from around the world) fill me with joy and remind me that I’m a have, not a have-not.
 
-the friends who mailed me a check for $250 one overcast Monday, a humbling and blessing act of generosity.

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The Time-Closet Space Continuum

 
I know “I’ve been busy,” the excuse that’s practically as American as apple pie and snarky gossip, is a hard sell when you’re unemployed. As in, “Why haven’t you added to your unemployment blog in so long?”
 
Well, I’ve been busy. Really.
 
I taught a three-week class at Willow Creek church in October. I spent a week in Kansas City with my family. I’ve been writing a slew of freelance articles. I’ve been volunteering.
 
And, most importantly, I’ve been learning valuable lessons about the preciousness of our days.


Read more...

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