Monday, August 22, 2016

Old-Fashioned: A Sweet, Sensitive, Christ-Honoring Love Story

I want to share with you a film that has deeply touched my heart over the past several weeks ~ Old Fashioned.



Old Fashioned was recommended by someone very close to me. Because I have two small children, I'm not able to watch many movies, but for some reason this one really piqued my interest. It is a beautiful, beautiful film. I'm so glad that someone recommended it to me. I'm so glad that I watched it. And I am so glad that I may share it with you! 



My husband and I watched Old Fashioned together the first time on our somewhat-fuzzy TV. I watched it later on my laptop because it so deeply drew me in and I was able to better observe some of the beautiful imagery and symbolism in the film~ Rick Swartzwelder, the Producer/Director/Screenwriter of this film is extremely gifted in painting an exquisite canvas of the images/scenes that make up this movie. I think that a person has to watch it at least twice to fully appreciate his artistry and sensitivity in making this film.

Old Fashioned is not your typical sweet love story served Hallmark-style. It is a gritty, sometimes-painful look into the lives of two flawed ~ but deeply-searching human beings who find, through the grace of Christ, deep love for one another. And yet at the same time, it is fun to watch, peppered with enough humor to lighten the heaviness of some of the themes. The storyline also just draws the viewer in; it was so excellently done.



Description of the movie:

Clay Walsh is a "former frat boy" (from the back cover of the film) who has turned to Christ and forsaken his formerly-sinful lifestyle. He lives in a small midwestern town in the state of Ohio where he works in an antique shop restoring "old-fashioned" odds and ends. He holds high ideals for a flawless courtship, one in which he has pledged not to be alone in a room with a woman who is not his wife. As the film unfolds, the viewer learns that Clay still struggles with severe guilt over his past sins and is trying in his own strength to keep his high standards. Later, he embraces the grace of Christ over his past regrets and a beautiful transformation occurs in Clay's life. 

The main female character, Amber, is a fun-loving unbeliever who goes wherever the wind takes her, who has been hurt in past relationships, and who providentially ends up in Ohio, renting the small apartment above the building where Clay restores furniture.  She is mystified by Clay's gentlemanly behavior, sincerity, and high ideals, although she thinks him a "little odd." 



Clay and Amber slowly and sweetly, though sometimes painfully, fall in love with one another. Clay ultimately sheds his legalistic mindset toward romantic love while at the same time still maintaining his high standards and respect towards women. Amber, in my understanding, embraces Christ as her Savior toward the end of the film, realizing that "all things have been made new," (referencing her past sinful life of mistakes and broken relationships), and Clay and Amber become engaged in a very tender love scene (enter box of tissues and replay button ;-)).

Some things (among others :-)) that I LOVED about this film:
  • Clay's sensitivity towards Amber and his genuine love and respect for her that is not "forced."
  • Amber's conversion and her very realistic portrayal of a woman who has been hurt in past relationships but who comes to know Christ and understand His forgiveness.
  • The artistic spin that Rick Swartzwelder gives to the film.
  • The beautiful biblical message of redemption and grace and true Christlike behavior from a man towards a woman.
  • The film writer's willingness to take on difficult issues with tact and grace in a realistic manner.
Some things to consider before viewing this film:

I highly, highly, recommend this film. However, it deals with some heavy topics ~ a scene with a "stripper" at a bachelor's party - which is very carefully done, (in my judgement); several nightclub scenes (also carefully done); and a scene in a bar. There are a few instances (very rare) of somewhat "crude" language - spoken by unbelieving characters (for example, the radio host uses the phrase "knocked-up" - which is probably the strongest language used - this is in order to show how degrading his behavior is, in contrast to Clay's). Someone may feel uncomfortable with these things; the film is Rated PG-13 for those reasons. I believe that the film was beautifully, tastefully done, but if you think that these issues would be offensive, I wanted to make sure that I let my readers know about them ahead of time.

I would  recommend this film for anyone over the age of 16-18. I tend to stay on the conservative side of things, because I always believe that it is better to wait until a person is mature enough to handle the content that they view. So, even though this film is a sweet, sensitive, Christ-honoring love story, I wanted to be sure to give that heads-up. :-)


So go grab your husband, or a friend, or several friends and watch this movie! :-) It is a wonderful film for couples to watch together - it is a wonderful film to watch alone with a nice big slice of cake :-). I hope that it will bless you as much as it blessed my heart. We need more films like it. 



Official Website

Trailer: 




You might find me on these link-ups:

Strangers and Pilgrims on EarthInspire Me MondayLiteracy Musing MondaysThe Modest MomWhat Joy is Mine, A Mama's Story, Mom's the Word, Rich Faith Rising, Time Warp Wife, Cornerstone Confessions, Mom's Morning Coffee, Raising Homemakers, Classical HomemakingA Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Woman to Woman Ministries, Whole-Hearted Home, Testimony TuesdayTell His Story, Women With Intention WednesdaysMessy Marriage,  Graced Simplicity, Children Are A Blessing, Imparting Grace, Thought Provoking ThursdaySoul SurvivalGood Morning MondaysThe Weekend BrewCounting My BlessingsThe HomeAcre Hop, Mommy Moments Link UpGrace and Truth LinkupFaith Filled FridayTell It To Me TuesdaysSHINE Blog HopA Little R&R WednesdaysTGI Saturdays Blog HopRaRaLinkupWord of God SpeakBooknificent ThursdayLiving Proverbs 31Sharing His Beauty Blog LinkupCoffee For Your Heart Weekly LinkUp

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Blessed




From prisons dark, in caverns deep-


They gather; round the world, they creep


To meet in hidden places


Tucked in silent alleys,


Tiny homes,


And fields.


They meet to rally round the Word-


Their bread, their life


For this they dared


To come


And risk their everything


On earth-


For this, the Word of Truth.


It burns within their hearts, their souls


With grace


And boldness


Sharpened like the angel’s sword


By troubles, persecutions, torture-


Great is their reward.


They are the blessed ones-


They come-


The world cannot conceive


What they believe and why


Each one would risk their all


For this Great One-


The Son of God,


His favor rests upon their heads . . .


“Blessed are those


Who are persecuted


For righteousness’ sake”—


For they will wake


In light-


Some with a martyr’s crown-


No frown will be upon them.


And they will cry before the everlasting throne –


“How long, O Lord?”-


And He will answer-


“Just a little while; wait-


Until the hour is complete-


For now, you sit here at My side-“


The glorified


Redeemed in love,


Refined,


And blessed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~




You might find me on these link-ups:


Strangers and Pilgrims on EarthInspire Me MondayLiteracy Musing MondaysThe Modest MomWhat Joy is Mine, A Mama's Story, Mom's the Word, Rich Faith Rising, Time Warp Wife, Cornerstone Confessions, Mom's Morning Coffee, Raising Homemakers, Classical HomemakingA Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Woman to Woman Ministries, Whole-Hearted Home, Testimony TuesdayTell His Story, Women With Intention WednesdaysMessy Marriage,  Graced Simplicity, Children Are A Blessing, Imparting Grace, Thought Provoking ThursdaySoul SurvivalGood Morning MondaysThe Weekend BrewCounting My BlessingsThe HomeAcre Hop, Mommy Moments Link UpGrace and Truth LinkupFaith Filled FridayTell It To Me TuesdaysSHINE Blog HopA Little R&R WednesdaysTGI Saturdays Blog HopRaRaLinkupWord of God SpeakBooknificent ThursdayLiving Proverbs 31Sharing His Beauty Blog LinkupCoffee For Your Heart Weekly LinkUp

Monday, August 1, 2016

A Time of Grace Delightful Summer Giveaway!


Recently, my author-sister, Alicia G. Ruggieri, completed her beautiful Christian Fiction trilogy--A Time of Grace. You can read my reviews for her books and learn more information by clicking the following links:

Book One~The Fragrance of Geraniums
Book Two~ All Our Empty Places
Book Three~ A Love To Come Home To

I want to share these books with you with a special giveaway. I pray that the Lord would use these books to greatly touch someone's heart! They are books filled with redemption and mercy and driven by a powerful and touching story line. Alicia is a gifted author, and I know that the stories that the Lord has given her will bless you greatly.


The Giveaway Includes: 

  • A paperback copy of each of Alicia's beautiful books, The Fragrance of Geraniums, All Our Empty Places, and A Love To Come Home To
  • A lovely "geranium" address book bearing the Scripture verse, "For I know the plans I have for you . . . " (Jeremiah 29:11)
  • A tumbler for iced tea or coffee inscribed with the Scripture verse "Sing to the Lord . . . " (Psalm 96:1)
  • Replacement straws! :-)
  • Iced tea -for the tumbler, of course!! :-)
~Open only to readers in the continental United States, due to shipping costs~

About the Author:
Alicia G. Ruggieri writes grace-filled, Christ-centered fiction, including the A Time of Grace Trilogy. She’s a graduate of Rhode Island College, where she studied Communications and History, and her adventures include children’s theatre direction, restaurant management, and small business ownership. Alicia and her husband live in coastal New England, where she may be found drinking far too much coffee and penning stories with her emotionally-disturbed second-hand pug by her side.


AUTHOR LINKS:


If you would like to purchase these books apart from the giveaway, here are the purchase links:

The Fragrance of Geraniums

All Our Empty Places

A Love To Come Home To

Please feel free to ENTER and to share about this giveaway! The Lord bless each and every one of you, dear readers!!! :-)


a Rafflecopter giveaway


You might find me on these link-ups:


Strangers and Pilgrims on EarthInspire Me MondayLiteracy Musing MondaysThe Modest MomWhat Joy is Mine, A Mama's Story, Mom's the Word, Rich Faith Rising, Time Warp Wife, Cornerstone Confessions, Mom's Morning Coffee, Raising Homemakers, Classical HomemakingA Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Woman to Woman Ministries, Whole-Hearted Home, Testimony TuesdayTell His Story, Women With Intention WednesdaysMessy Marriage,  Graced Simplicity, Children Are A Blessing, Imparting Grace, Thought Provoking ThursdaySoul SurvivalGood Morning MondaysThe Weekend BrewCounting My BlessingsThe HomeAcre Hop, Mommy Moments Link UpGrace and Truth LinkupFaith Filled FridayTell It To Me TuesdaysSHINE Blog HopA Little R&R WednesdaysTGI Saturdays Blog HopRaRaLinkupWord of God SpeakBooknificent ThursdayLiving Proverbs 31Sharing His Beauty Blog LinkupCoffee For Your Heart Weekly LinkUp

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A Love To Come Home To: Blog Tour and Giveaway!





I am so excited to announce the release of the third book in Alicia G. Ruggieri's 
 A Time of Grace Trilogy:

A Love To Come Home To

July 22, 2016 in softcover and on Kindle
Purchase: http://bit.ly/1XVezoM


Please read to the end of the post to enter a wonderful giveaway! 


Hardened Ben Picoletti thought he’d turned his back on Depression-era Rhode Island years ago. Nothing remains there for him, except for haunting memories of an abusive childhood. Yet when a criminal accusation shatters his ambitions, Ben has nowhere to flee but back to his stepfather’s home.
There, he finds that redemption yet waits for him… but the sacrifice required to attain it may exceed the limits of his family’s hearts.
Meanwhile, his musical sister Grace continues her studies in New York. She longs to hear a word of affection from her high-school beau… yet only Paulie’s silence greets her. Grace must decide whether she wants to live in the past or move into an unknown future with unexpected love.
Lyrical and sensitive to the aching heart, A Love to Come Home To affirms that God delights in being a stronghold in times of trouble; that He renews His mercy every morning; and that He will work every bitter thing together for the good of His 
children.


My Review of A Love To Come Home To:

This book . . . so, so beautiful. It just captivated me. It brought me back in time, it brought me to tears, it brought me to the cross. The first two books led up to this one so perfectly, and A Love To Come Home To was such a fragrant offering to complete the trilogy.
I love Alicia’s writing. I love her style which is not overtly feminine or frilly, but is also not wooden or stiff. I love the way that she develops her characters, getting inside their mind for a glimpse of what and why they are thinking and doing what they think and do—it adds a depth and a realness to her writing.

I love the character of Ben. I love the way that one can relate to his struggles and fears and sorrows. I love his sensitivity that shyly emerges throughout the story and then blossoms into spiritual life at the end of the book. His character repels the reader and then draws them in at the same time.  And Alicia develops his story so well throughout the book and makes him such a believable character—rough around the edges, but loveable at the same time!

Grace’s story and her romance with Paulie is also beautifully played out throughout this book. The theme of surrender is one which I love and Alicia captures that wonderfully, both in Paulie’s and Grace’s actions and lives. I won’t give the ending away, but it is so, so well done! Anyone looking for a good romance with substance won’t be disappointed in this one!

The conclusion took my breath away and brought me to tears. I won’t give it away here, but as one who has always loved symbolism in stories, the ending was deeply satisfying for me. The way that Alicia tied everything together, using a symbol from the first book, and bringing restoration symbolically and physically to what had been lost through Ben’s father’s sin was really brilliant.

This is a book that the reader will not want to put down. It is deeply spiritual without being preachy. It is gritty and Alicia is not afraid to delve into difficult and ugly situations, but she handles it with thoughtful tact and grace—something that I find as a rarity in modern literature.  Her end motive is always healing and restoration, not “grittiness” for the sake of the “shock” value.

I love the Spirit-filled sense that the book gives me, that the author was relying on the Holy Spirit as she wrote, and the Word of God comes through richly because of this, I think.


I highly recommend this book, and the two before it, read in order.  What a blessing these books have been to me! I pray that the Lord may continue to use Alicia’s writing to show powerfully the grace and redemption of our Lord Jesus Christ. Well done!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Alicia G. Ruggieri writes grace-filled, Christ-centered fiction, including the A Time of Grace Trilogy. She’s a graduate of Rhode Island College, where she studied Communications and History, and her adventures include children’s theatre direction, restaurant management, and small business ownership. Alicia and her husband live in coastal New England, where she may be found drinking far too much coffee and penning stories with her emotionally-disturbed second-hand pug by her side.


AUTHOR LINKS:


RELEASE WEEK SALE INFORMATION FOR A TIME OF GRACE TRILOGY:

·        July 21-25, 2016 – The Fragrance of Geraniums (Book 1) – FREE on Kindle – http://bit.ly/1VXSyDO
·        July 22-28, 2016 – All Our Empty Places (Book 2) - $1.99 on Kindle - http://bit.ly/1UOfV02


A LOVE TO COME HOME TO RELEASE GIVEAWAY INFORMATION

·        July 19 (12 a.m. EST) – July 29 (8 p.m. EST)
·        Wrap-up and winner announced on Saturday morning, July 30, 2016 at www.aliciagruggieri.com.
·        
·        Open to U.S. residents only due to shipping costs.

One winner will receive:
·        A complete set of signed softcovers of the A Time of Grace Trilogy.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Midwest Ministry Update

God, send me anywhere, only go with me. Lay any burden on me, only sustain me. And sever any tie in my heart except the tie that binds my heart to Yours.
~David Livingstone

Many of you who follow my blog know that my husband and I and our two young children recently moved from New England to the Midwest. We came here in a step of faith and obedience to establish a place of rest/refuge for the Lord's people.
Moving here last Fall was not easy for me.  Next to surrendering college, it was one of the most difficult and painful steps that I have taken in my walk with the Lord, but the joy that has sprung from it has been indescribable. 

When I left my home in New England (after living there for nearly 33 years - I celebrated my 33rd birthday in the Midwest) I felt the pain of death. That sounds like an exaggeration, but it is true. And if the Lord had not spoken to me and called me to come here, I would have chosen to stay - in my beloved New England, with my beloved family, near my friends and those dear to me. 

But the Lord did speak to me, through a message that Ravi Zacharias preached, as I was struggling to come to a final decision about whether to go or to stay in New England at that time. In his message, Zacharias spoke about the missionary and pioneer David Livingstone, and he has become one of my newfound spiritual examples since. If anyone is interested in listening to that message, they may find it HERE and HERE. It is a little lengthy (2 parts) but well, well, worth it. 

You may read more about my decision to come to the Midwest HERE and about the ministry that my husband and I have been called to begin HERE

Recently, I listened to Ravi Zacharias' message again. I believe that the Lord speaks to His people, always according to His Word, but that the Holy Spirit is still actively guiding His people through their consciences as they submit to Him in a living love/trust relationship that is not feeling-based, but truth-based. 

I have a tiny basket in our kitchen that I had filled with "remembrances," and reminders to me of the Lord's presence and mercy to me here. Some shells from Robin's eggs that I've found while walking, smooth stones from one of the great lakes that we visited on our way out to the Midwest, a chestnut from a nature preserve (in Chicago, of all places! :-)), and a shriveled crab-apple from my Mama's beautiful crab-apple tree in RI. A few months ago, a Bible verse came to my mind and I wrote it and placed it near my little basket.  The verse was this one (Matthew 28:20) -

And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.




Well, a few weeks ago, I was listening to Ravi Zacharias' message again with my two little ones. Near the end, where Zacharias addresses David Livingstone and his call to Africa, he used the very verse that I had written and placed near my little basket. At the time that I wrote it, I did not realize that this was the verse that David Livingstone believed God had given to him. Only the Lord's hand could have directed me to the very verse that tied in with Livingstone's life and the call upon my own and bid me to write it down and place it near my little basket. The Lord confirmed to me again in this little way, that His hand is upon our coming here and that He will continue to guide us and provide for us here. 

And this truth that has guided my life for many years remains - that if the Lord desires something to go forward, it will go forward. Men or angels cannot stop it from doing so. If something is truly the will of God, He will establish it. I rest in that confidence and the confidence in the truth of these verses that have also  guided my life - Psalm 27:13-14:

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.

Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!


So here we are, our little family, waiting upon the Lord in the great Midwest. The corn grows around and all is beauty and stillness and birds and trees and quiet. Through the difficulty of leaving what I have known and loved, the Lord has given me His joy where I thought that there would be barrenness - the kindness of a minister and his wife, a church where the Word is preached uncompromisingly, a little thrift store only about a five minute walk from our home (an unexpected blessing - the Lord knows my great love for thrift stores!! :-) - and I was able to walk to it through the winter when my husband and I were sharing one vehicle), the beauty of His creation all around, and the daily peace of His Presence that passes understanding and that fills loneliness and sorrow with thanksgiving and JOY. 

I praise Him and His strength for all that He has done and continues to do. We are waiting upon Him for further direction, renting a homely little house and praying for his guidance in exactly where and how to establish this ministry that He has placed upon our hearts and directed our lives to undertake - because we know that He will undertake. 

Please lift us up in your prayers as He brings us to your mind; He works through the prayers of His people. 

Blessings and joy to each one of you, beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord. 

Friday, July 8, 2016

Monthly Book Giveaway Winner~The Heavenly Man

And the Winner of the Monthly Book Giveaway (for a paperback copy of The Heavenly Man:The Remarkable, True Story of Chinese Christian Brother Yun by Paul Hattaway is ). . . 

Kay Walker :-)
(name was randomly drawn). 

Please e-mail me your address through the BLOGGER CONTACT FORM (found on the right -hand side of the blog) so that I may send this book to you!