72. To the Brokenhearted:Being a Christian with Depression by E.S. Huberty
Nine years ago, when I was doing the show Cinderella, I met a lovely and sweet girl who played one of my stepsisters. Over the years, we stayed in touch a bit although we rarely saw each other. However, her strength and perseverance always inspired me. Thus, when she wrote this book and had it published online, I was thrilled that she requested me to blog about it. The topic and message fit perfectly with this blog. Plus, she is a talented writer and storyteller which makes this book even better.
Synopsis: Can a Christian suffer from depression? This question is asked far too frequently. For many Christians, being depressed or anxious is viewed as a sign of failure or even demonic forces. Emmaline Soken-Huberty explores mental illness and faith in this read that is both quick and helpful. She looks not only at how mental illness and faith affected her own life but also how others can use her experiences to deal with their own mental health issues while remaining strong in their faith.
For months, I looked forward to the release of this movie although I worried a bit about how it might alter the story. With each preview, my worry decreased while my anticipation grew. The final product turned out to be beautiful beyond what I could have hoped for or imagined. Thus, it made perfect sense to feature it for Media Monday.
Synopsis: “Have courage and be kind.” Those are the last instructions that Ella’s mother gives to her young daughter before dying. This loss devastates the sweet girl, but at least her father remains a caring companion. Still, he longs for love again which his daughter readily encourages. Thus, Ella finds herself with a bitter stepmother who only wishes to further the lives of her two daughters. When Ella’s father also dies, the family loses money which forces Ella – or the newly named Cinderella – to become the maid for her stepsisters and stepmother. Still, she tries to continue clinging to her mother’s last words and example, hoping for something better in life. Continue reading →
This movie shows how there is no time like the present and age should never hold you back from living a full life.
70. The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Yesterday, I took a break from work and writing to see this film. As bright, inspiring, and witty as the first one, this movie made me feel warm inside and cheerful. Even better, the thought of growing old was less daunting. Because of the numerous hopeful messages, I chose this film to review on Media Monday.
Synopsis: Since the Marigold Hotel has been such a success with the elderly residents, the ever-optimistic Sonny decides to try to find a sponsor to open another one. However, this task turns out to be more difficult than he had supposed as he also prepares for his wedding while trying to fight off his rival. Meanwhile, the residents of the hotel have romantic decisions and life choices of their own to struggle through together. Evelyn and Douglas are somewhat in a relationship but both a bit anxious as Evelyn embarks on a new job. In a moment of drunken confusion, Norman unintentionally sets a hit man on his girlfriend Carol. Several new residents have moved in including a charming American, Guy Chambers, who Madge has her eye on although she is already stringing along two other men. Meanwhile, Muriel is helping Sonny but remains as cranky as ever. All the while, time continues to tick as the residents try to forget but cannot help but remember their age. Continue reading →
Susan Boyle has a beautiful voice and spirit that is shown in her music.
69. Selected Susan Boyle songs
I still remember the first day that my mother showed my sisters and me the video of Susan Boyle singing on Britain’s Got Talent. Her stage presence, raw talent, and emotional connection with the song touched me and millions of others deeply. Since that moment, she has continued to prove to the world that judging someone based on appearance is wrong. Another remarkable story broke when she was diagnosed with Aspergers. My connection to her grew even stronger. Because of these facts as well as her uplifting themes in music, I decided to feature her for Media Monday.
“I Dreamed a Dream” from her I Dreamed a Dream album
“Both Sides, Now” from her Someone to Watcher Over Me album
“You Raise Me Up” from her Hopealbum
“This is the Moment” from her Standing Ovation: The Greatest Songs from Stagealbum
This story by father and son tells the truth about the struggles and recovery process of schizophrenia.
68. Henry’s Demons: Living with Schizophrenia, A Father and Son’s Story by Patrick Cockburn and Henry Cockburn
Schizophrenia is a disorder that many people know about but few fully understand. People with it are characterized as crazy, murderous, vicious, impossible to interact with, etc. However, there is much more to these people than those negative conotations. Awhile ago, I wrote a review of A Beautiful Mind. For this Media Monday, I decided to focus on another recovery-focused work about suicide, this time a book titled Henry’s Demons: Living with Schizophrenia, A Father and Son’s Story.
Synopsis: What can be worse than receiving news that your 20-year-old son followed the voices instructions and tried to drown himself? Patrick Cockburn and his wife experienced this with their son Henry, who was later diagnosed with schizophrenia. This book, written by father and son, rides the ups and downs of this family’s life with this life-altering illness. Mother and father fight for their son to improve while he tries to convince the world that he is not ill. This and many other tensions fill this fascinating memoir.
This film tells of how even someone who thinks differently than others can change the world.
67. The Imitation Game
Love history or England? Intrigued by technology or solving problems? Think that Benedict Cumberbatch or Downton Abbey actors are amazing? If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, you might enjoy The Imitation Game as much as I do. Writing about it for my blog was obvious after my first time seeing it and essential after the second time.
Synopsis: Alan Turing was brilliant. Hated, perhaps, but still brilliant. However, his story went untold for decades because of the top-secret work he accomplished during WWII. Enigma, a German code, was broken by him and a group of others after Turing invented a machine that could compute information. The Imitation Game tells Turing’s story with all of its heartbreak, frustrations, loneliness, hopelessness, and courage. Continue reading →
This band might have dark songs, but their honesty and glimmer of hope make the music powerful.
66. Selected Imagine Dragons songs
Rock music usually overwhelms me. Heavy beats and screaming lyrics were what I associated with this genre. However, as I have been exposed to more types of music, my tastes have begun to broaden. The first song that I heard by Imagine Dragons was “Radioactive.” The somber lyrics and apocalyptic feel bewildered me, but something about the eerie tone transfixed me. As I have listened to more songs by this band, I have found that the morbid nature of their lyrics actually has some hope hidden beneath them despite the darkness in our world. Likewise, depression can cause one to see things in a grim light, yet hope remains for those of us who struggle with mental illness.This is one of the reasons that I chose them for Media Monday.
This novel depicts a young girl who slowly realizes the need to open herself up instead of staying locked in pain.
65. Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff
Growing up can be a challenging time for any youth. However those in the foster system face many difficulties that those with loving families do not. Few books touch on this element as honestly yet tactfully as Pictures of Hollis Woods. Although written for children, the themes and emotions in it apply to all ages.
Synopsis: No one wants to care for orphaned Hollis Woods. Not only is she already 12-years-old instead of an adorable toddler, her isolated and stubborn temperate make her a less than ideal child. Hollis’ life changes, however, after she is brought to the home of a retired art teacher named Josie. Healing begins to enter the preteen’s life as she discovers her creative skills with Josie’s guidance. However, the elderly woman’s forgetfulness and the girl’s deep pain begin to threaten the new life for which Hollis deeply longs.
As anyone who has read my blog regularly probably knows, Big Hero 6 is one of my new favorite movies. Ever since seeing it last Sunday, I have not stopped raving about it to all of my friends. Thus, this post on Media Monday should not come as too much of a surprise. Hopefully, this review will convince you to see this film if none of my other comments about it have.
This film is more than just a fun kid’s movie; it is a great piece of art, humor, and inspiration.
Synopsis: Hiro might have graduated high school by the age of 13, but he certainly is not using his brains to make a difference in the world. That bothers his older and similarly brainy brother Tadashi. The older boy is attending a university and invented a robot named Baymax who can access one’s health state and provide any medical attention needed. Sure, that might not be too exciting in Hiro’s eyes, but he still loves his older brother. When a tragedy darkens the young adolescent’s life, this squishy robot might be the answer to his emotional as well as physical pain. Continue reading →
Bubbly and upbeat, this young artist sings about her faith and staying bright despite the darkness in life.
63. Selected Moriah Peter songs
My mother sometimes sends me songs to cheer me up and provide strength. Around a month ago, one of the songs was “You Carry Me.” The music was upbeat and catchy while the lyrics buoyed my spirits. As I researched a bit more about this Christian artist, I came to like her bubbly, youthful style more and more. Hopefully you will feel a bit of brightness in your day as you hear her.