The Good, The Bad, and the Hype of Disney+

We signed up for Disney+ more than a few weeks before it launched. We watched the countdown in anticipation. It seems like lately ever other commercial was an advertisement for Disney+. Disney boasted a price of $6.99 a month or $69.99 annually. This seems like a great deal considering you get access to Marvel, LucasFilms (star wars), Disney movies both classics and recent, as well as National Geographic and the Simpson’s. Most of the people anxious for Disney+ wanted it for The Mandalorian, or Disney’s new live action Lady and the Tramp. As stated in an article by Newsweek; “Disney+ allows users to watch on four different devices at once. Unlike its streaming rival, however, according to Collider Disney+ allows users to download all of its over 7,500 episodes of TV series and 500 films for offline streaming, whereas Netflix only allows users to download selected shows and movies.”

Much to our disappointment we had some issues on the first day and apparently we weren’t the only ones. Thousands of users tried to log on only to see a photo of Wreck It Ralph, staying there was an issue. Disney was quick to respond by saying “The demand for Disney+ has exceeded our highest expectations,” the company said. “We are so pleased you’re excited to watch all your favorites and are working quickly to resolve any current issues. We appreciate your patience.”

We had issues with recovering our email to confirm our account which you needed to do when you log in for the first time. By the time we finally received the email, we received about 10 at once. 9 hours after our first attempt we finally got our first look at the around 500 movies on the app. I (McKenna) chose to check out the Throwback section which featured most of my childhood favorites like Lizzie Maguire, Boy Meets World, Doug, Kim Possible and more! Cole on the other had (at no one’s surprise) went straight for the Mandalorian and his all-time favorite animated show Phineas & Ferb.

Day one although frustrating in the beginning, ended with us watching some great TV together while eating my favorite pasta. Sounds like a good evening to me. Review of The Mandalorian to come!

Restoration and Demo – Rebuilding with the Lord

I heard something enlightening today from K-LOVE radio. Philippians 1:6 says 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. The host compared Life to Demo day in a remodel. Demo is the beginning and tearing everything out is messy and often overwhelming. Often we are torn down in order for God to rebuild us. It is in our brokenness that we can feel sad and hopeless, but it’s also in that despair that God holds us and leads us on a new path of restoration.

This spoke to me particularly in this season of life. We recently went through our 3rd miscarriage and we have been so lost since then. We don’t know what the next step is for us. Do we keep trying? Do we accept that biological children are not part of God’s plan for us? We’ve just been going through the motions almost with a since of numbness. We are definitely in a season of Demolition. We are starting from scratch. Anyone who has been through a pregnancy loss knows the toll it can take. We are trying to start from scratch, praying for God to bring us closer together in this time of sadness. Cole and I both handle our grief differently so at times we have to be truly intentional about making sure to be aware of each other needs. We are remodeling. The Lord is guiding us through a renovation of not only our physical lives but also our hearts.

During this time of grief we also spent the weekend celebrating my great-grandmother’s 95th birthday. That weekend blew me away. I had been feeling lonely and isolated. I know my family was supporting us but postpartum had me feeling otherwise. I listened to each of the children her children and grandchildren talk about all of the meaningful moments in there lives with Grandma. It made me reflect on how supportive she has been. For a few years we lived in the same building. We became very close, shared many moments, and cared for each other in a way I’ve not done with anyone else. After this miscarriage, grandma could come by our house to offer her comfort. Instead she called. We talked for almost and hour and I truly felt like she was right there in the room with me.

As I listened and reflected, I was reminded that everyone in our lives have been so supportive of our journey to grow our family. We are so incredibly blessed and I know whatever the lord has planned for us, no matter how long this season of demolition lasts, we are not alone.

Hitting the Mark #6 Viligance, not Shame

Curious about this article’s title? Good. Where am I going with it? Glad you asked (or didn’t, I’ll tell you anyway). I have the unfortunate problem of, when it comes to porn and any related material coming into view, getting the need to be vigilant confused with the the strong feeling of condemnation. I am choosing these very strong words because each represents something important that needs to be addressed if you or someone you love struggles with lust. I’ll break it down.

Guilt and shame are all too common in my life, especially with this particular issue. I tend to dwell on anything negative, which also means I don’t move on and the feelings consume me. But, gentlemen, hear this: we are not meant to live this way! We are not meant to live in shame and guilt and to feel condemned when we aren’t! It is hard to accept, yes. It is very hard for me to accept that I am not condemned or marked by shame when my eyes and mind wander where they shouldn’t. Men are also often made to feel these emotions when their struggle is found out which is truly shameful, because that will not help solve the problem where stern but gentle accountability and love will do so.

How can we separate guilt and shame from appropriate vigilance? First, one must remember when or if possible that we MUST be vigilant, as the temptation for this sin is everywhere as I discussed in a previous post. Vigilance makes one’s heart, mind and eyes aware of the danger around them, and when appropriately applied, can be the difference between resisting or falling to temptation. A lot of the time, it will seem very hard to separate the two or to even exercise vigilance, especially if you’re feeling weak or even run down. Furthermore, seek help! I cannot stress this enough, look for places and people who can help you in those weak moments and give an encouraging word or offer prayer.

All in all, shame and vigilance often seem to go hand in hand, but they aren’t meant to, at least not to the extent that I have allowed it to. Yes, be vigilant and guard yourself, but don’t be so discouraged by a slip-up or relapse and allow the shame and guilt to overpower you. It is phenomenally difficult, yes, but not impossible to be vigilant and not let shame be a non-product or replace the former altogether. Men, I say again, keep your shields and swords raised and know you aren’t alone, for you have brothers (and sisters) who fight this battle everyday, and don’t let shame devalue you or dent that shield which would leave you vulnerable. Fight on!

A Movie Review By Cole Thrush: The Lion King, 2019

Disney’s The Lion King was my childhood ever since it was first released in 1994, and this year’s remake is a near-perfect tribute in just about every way. I said to Mom and McKenna, “This hits me in the childhood”, and it couldn’t be more true.

The CGI animals combined with the breathtaking live-action shots of the African savannah (some locations were CGI for sure) alone were stunning to see, especially in the opening sequence which perfectly mirrored the cartoon, frame by frame. I was almost moved to tears, seeing my favorite childhood movie brought to life. The dialogue and the music were also taken right from the original, which I, personally, really appreciated. This adaptation was, in a word, faithful.

We heard some negative reviews before going to see this but after seeing it, I declare that those reviews are, in a word, wrong! I could find little to no fault with it, neither with the casting nor with the characters’ roles, such as Nala being given an apparently-stronger role compared to Simba. Personally, it didn’t seem that way to me, AND, in the wild, the females in a pride actually do more of the work such as hunting and cub-rearing. Also, you can’t go wrong with James Earl Jones reprising his role as Mufasa!

I must also point out that the animals themselves do match the look of the cartoon but that is because this is a live-action remake, and as such, the animals are made to look as real as possible. The color in the lions’ manes and of Timon and Pumba are not red, but naturally-colored. This I also actually liked about the movie and the characters.

All in all, this year’s remake of The Lion King is a remarkably stunning and faithful adaptation of the 1994 original cartoon film. The locations were breathtaking, real and CGI, the story was spot on, perhaps improved in some ways, and the voice casting, contrary to numerous reviews, fit the characters very well in my opinion. My advice? Go see for yourself. You be the judge. Yet I assure you, you won’t be disappointed. Hakuna Matata!