Sunday, July 5, 2015

DVD Review: Catching Faith

The Taylors look like a perfect family. John is a successful business man. Alexa is a beautiful, stylish mom who seems to have everything under control. Their son, Beau, is the star of the high school's football team while their daughter, Ravyn, is an academically exceptional student. But the picture-perfect family starts to unravel when Beau is caught drinking alcohol which is against the football team's code of conduct. In the meantime, Ravyn feels pressured to succeed and tempted to cheat. Alexa has to deal with her children's problems, her moved-in mom's constant criticism & controlling behavior, and her own issue of needing to maintain control and image. 

I thoroughly enjoyed watching Catching Faith. It's raw and real. It made me cry. Life is messy. Parenting is hard. But God is enough! This film is inspired by the Elijah Project workbook. Honesty. Dishonesty. Integrity. Peer pressure (even for adults). Courage. Relationships. Outstanding performances! Great lessons! Fantastic music! I highly recommend this family, faith-filled DVD!

~I received a free copy of this DVD via Edify Media, Inc. in exchange for my honest review. All opinions 
are my own.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Movie Review: Inside Out

Opening Date:                  Friday, June 19th
Rating:                               PG
Running Time:                  106 Mins
Directed by:                      Academy Award® winner Pete Docter ("Monsters, Inc.", "Up")
Co-Directed by:                Ronnie del Carmen
Produced by:                     Jonas Rivera ("Up")
Screenplay by:                  Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley

Thanks to Allied Integrated Marketing, my family and I were given an opportunity to attend an advance screening of this film. Inside Out is an emotional movie about emotions. It shows what's going on inside the mind of an 11 year old girl, Riley. The main emotions that reside in Headquarters (aka the control center) are Joy (voice of Amy Poehler), Sadness (voice of Phyllis Smith), Fear (voice of Bill Hader), Anger (voice of Lewis Black), and Disgust (voice of Mindy Kaling). The voice cast is excellent; each voice fits its character perfectly. All five emotions work together to help Riley adjust to a big change in her life when her family moves from Minnesota to San Francisco. But then Joy and Sadness get swept up into Riley's Long Term Memory and have to figure out how to get back to Headquarters. Since only Fear, Anger, and Disgust remain in Headquarters, Riley is in turmoil. In the meantime, Joy and Sadness have an unforgettable adventure of their own. Parents of preteens and teens will be able to relate to Riley's parents as they know how challenging it is to help their kids navigate through the roller-coaster ride of their emotions.

I highly recommend Inside Out! It's a fantastic family movie! Funny, witty, imaginative, thought-provoking, and heart-tugging! All emotions have their places (roles). We use different emotions to convey (a thought or feeling), communicate, cope, and connect with others. This movie shows how emotions affect our actions & reactions and what we experience in the real world affects our emotions. There are many more emotions in real life but it would be too crowded in the Headquarters if they had more than 5. My family enjoyed this poignant movie and and was touched by it. It reminded me that childhood doesn't last forever and that I should make as many fond memories with my children as possible. These "core memories" will serve them well, especially when their emotions are out of whack :).

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Check out these fun activities below (by clicking on the links)! Have fun!
Emotions in different languages

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Join Odyssey Adventure Club for a Summer Challenge and Movie Ticket Giveaway

Take the plungebanner banner 

Summer . . . a time that kids pine for during the school year and parents may anticipate with something akin to dread. Fearing refrains of “I’m bored” or hours spent on the couch playing video games can make moms and dads nervous about the long, hot months stretching before their family. Focus on the Family’s Odyssey Adventure Club offers an answer, encouraging parents and kids to embrace faith and fun with the Take the Plunge Adventures in Odyssey Clubhouse magazine’s Summer Challenge.

Take the Plunge

The Take the Plunge challenge features:
  • Master Mind Monday — commit God’s Word to memory
  • Ways to Play Wednesday — spend active time with your family
  • Faith Sharing Friday — share God’s love with others
The Take the Plunge challenge helps families memorize at least five verses, engage in five activities together and share their faith with five people before the school doors swing open again. Those who sign up will receive an 11-week plan with suggested verses to memorize, activity ideas (such as visiting a war memorial) and ways to witness (such as passing out popsicles at the park with an invitation to your church), making this challenge the perfect tool for parents who want summer to be a time of spiritual and social stimulation for their kids.

"Research tells us that the more senses we involve when teaching children a principle, the more likely it is to stick,” Plugged In editor and Adventures in Odyssey podcast host Bob Smithouser says. “Bible memorization by itself is great, but it becomes even more powerful when put into action. Know it. Share it. Live it.”

Families who sign up to take part in the challenge at will have access to weekly verses to memorize, ideas for family fun and suggestions for service projects that allow a family to share their faith. Additionally, anyone who signs up to participate in the Take the Plunge challenge will receive a free scene from the latest Adventures in Odyssey album, as well as a free story from the book Strange Journey Back.

A Bonus Contest

From June 1–5, tell us in 30 words or less how you are going to take the plunge to deepen your faith this summer for a chance to win a family four-pack of tickets to the theatrical release of Beyond The Mask June 5th weekend and free access to the Odyssey Adventure Club all summer long (June, July, August—total $85 prize value)!

Send your entry to Two winners will be chosen to win each day June 1-5 and announced on the Adventures in Odyssey Facebook Page.

Entries will be chosen based on creativity and writing skill. Rules are available at

Sunday, May 31, 2015

DVD Review: When Calls the Heart: Trials of the Heart

When Calls the Heart series is inspired by Janette Oke's book series. This DVD ("Trials of the Heart") is the first DVD of Season 2. I enjoyed Season 1 very much. What has kept me a fan are the likable characters, uplifting family values, and old-fashioned love story. The new season introduces several new characters that add even more flavors to the already remarkable cast. You will meet Miss Samantha Madison, a woman prosecutor who handles the court trial against the Pacific Northwest Mining Company in Coal Valley. Elizabeth's mom is ill so Elizabeth (Erin Krakow) goes back home (city of Hamilton), accompanied by Constable Jack (Daniel Lissing). You will meet Elizabeth's family and see their high-society lifestyle in the big city, contrary to the simple living in Coal Valley. You may drool over their elegant and graceful costumes (mostly modest except a few). You will also meet Tom, Jack's younger brother, who is a troublemaker and Charles Kensington, Elizabeth's childhood friend who now works for her father. Abigail (Lori Laughlin), Rosemary, Mr. Gowen, and Bill Avery (Jack Wagner) from Season 1 are not going anywhere. However, lots of changes are coming to Coal Valley. The beginning of Season 2 is packed with love, romance, justice, prejudice, dilemma/emotional conflicts, and surprises. I'm excitedly looking forward to seeing how this season will play out. The DVD includes exclusive behind the scenes and interviews.

~I received a free copy of this DVD via Edify Media, Inc. in exchange for my honest review. All opinions 
are my own.

DVD Review: The Father's Love

My review:
This film is about a longing for the Father's love. Sarah's father left her family when she was young. She now is a career woman who is looking for love in men. In New York City, she meets Reece, a handsome and charming man who lavishes attention and gifts on her. Her coworkers/close friends warn her but she is way too deep into this relationship to see the situation objectively. Broken promises. Betrayal. Broken heart. Bitterness. In the end, Sarah discovers true love from our Heavenly Father and learns the importance and value of forgiveness.

I can relate to this film emotionally. I'm an Asian woman like the main character and my father left our family when I was young. I'm so grateful for God's unconditional love for me and for having Him as my forever Father! The film shows that God's amazing love for us brings us hope and healing no matter what we have done or how many times we have failed. The acting is awesome. The message is powerful. Life is hard and messy but God is good and almighy! I hope you'll check this DVD out.

~I received a free copy of this DVD via Edify Media, Inc. in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

DVD Review: Virtuous

Virtuous is based on the concept of a virtuous woman in Proverbs 31. This film shows not only the plights of several women but also their faith and perseverance. Simone Burner (Brandy Allison who is a Christian singer) is accused of murdering Patrick Walters (Ben Davies) who was a local millionaire's grandson and a playboy. She seeks help from a kind attorney Jack Evans (Erik Estrada) to prove that she acted out of self-defense. Simone has a troubled past. But she learns that her past does not define her. She and many women in the movie learn that once they give their lives to Christ, they become daughters of the King of kings. Besides Simone (the main character), you will meet a young woman who's captured as a prisoner of war in Afghanistan, an ambitious TV news reporter (Vanessa Ore), a judge (Bonnie Johnson) who has an abusive husband, a lonely nurse (Kelly Bowling), a cop (Angelita Nelson) whose husband cheated on her, a hard-working single mom (Melissa Barron), and a few other women at Potter's House (a drug recovery center). 

Virtuous is an inspiring faith-based film about hope, strength, grace, and forgiveness. The movie aims to empower women to live out the principles of Proverbs 31, which include faith, wisdom, compassion, and integrity, even in the midst of adversity and trials. It's a beautiful story demonstrating the transforming power of God's unconditional love. When we give God all the broken pieces of our lives, He makes magnificent mosaics that reflect the light and beauty of His goodness, faithfulness, grace, and mercy. The DVD also includes a behind the scenes look with the cast and crew.

Note: A discussion guide is available at

VIRTUOUS Official Trailer from Bill Rahn on Vimeo.
~I received a free copy of this DVD via Edify Media, Inc. in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Movie Review: Tomorrowland

Director:                       Brad Bird
Producers:                    Damon Lindelof, Brad Bird, Jeffrey Chernov
Executive Producers:   John Walker, Bernard Bellew, Jeff Jensen, Brigham Taylor
Story by:                      Damon Lindelof & Brad Bird & Jeff Jensen
Screenplay by:             Damon Lindelof and Brad Bird
Rating:                         PG
Opening date:              May 22, 2015

Thanks to Allied Integrated Marketing, my family and I were given an opportunity to attend an advance screening of this film. Tomorrowland is a mystery adventure movie that's fun to watch. It has a slow start but it gets better from there. A very smart, optimistic teen girl, Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) discovers a special pin which takes her to another place ("Tomorrowland") whenever she touches it. She teams up with a former boy-genius turned into a distrusting hermit Frank Walker (George Clooney). Together they have to figure out how to fix a major problem in Tomorrowland that affects the world before it's too late. Tomorrowland is a secret society of geniuses, led by Governor Nix (Hugh Laurie). Science, innovation, and technologies are showcased in this movie. Excellent special effects! Riveting action scenes! Fantastic performances by the cast! The film also stars Raffey Cassidy as Athena (adorable and believable), and Tim McGraw as Casey's Dad. 

I'm sure I will enjoy Tomorrowland more when I watch it again because there's a lot of information to absorb. It gets philosophical at times. The journey to the unknown is exciting. The message inspires hope and discussion. Tomorrowland is a good, clean family movie (not intended for very young children due to violence) that encourages ideas, imagination, optimism, and making a positive impact in the world. Each one of us can do something to make this world a better place and to brighten the future. #Dreamerswanted 

Some Fun Facts about the movie (provided by Walt Disney Studios):
  • When it came to creating a city built by visionaries with advanced technologies, filmmakers knew it had to look like one and finding such a place was not an easy task. At first it seemed as though the whole of Tomorrowland would have to be built from scratch, an expensive and time-consuming proposition. But then in a series of wonderful coincidences, Tom Peitzman, the visual effects producer and the film’s co-producer, stumbled upon a car commercial early on in production; the location in the commercial looked so futuristic that he recorded the ad on his phone and brought it to director Brad Bird. The location turned out to be the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, Spain, and was designed by Santiago Calatrava whose work was already serving as an inspiration for production designer Scott Chambliss. The discovery also dovetailed with director Brad Bird’s preference for physical locations over virtual sets.
  • In addition to sets in Spain and Canada, locations included the “It’s a small world” ride at Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California, a beach in the Bahamas, and a second unit shoot in Paris. In total, the film had over 90 different combinations of sets and locations, and moved ten times.
  • Filmmakers were thrilled to see a real NASA Maven rocket launch (a probe to Mars) at the Cape Canaveral set location and several of them were able to view the launch from a position closer than the press viewing stage. For the filmmakers, it was a dream-come-true and symbolized the future that the film inspires.

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Please feel free to check out the fun activities below (by clicking on the links) for kids. Have fun!

Jet Pack Balloon Races
Memory Game
Spot the Difference
Coloring the Future