Random musings nicely categorized so you can skip to what you care about (aka avoiding what you don’t)…


  • JJ Abrams was my one of my directorial heros prior to Star Wars. Star Wars puts him on the modern era Mount Rushmore.
  • You want a dark horse candidate for a spot in next 5 or 10 years…Ben Affleck.  Name me a better three movies out of the gate from a director in the last 20 years than Gone Baby Gone, The Town, and Argo….  Still waiting…
  • Fargo Season 1…flawless. The Wire-level quality. I can’t think of another show where each and every character was so fleshed out and interesting to me. Shows yet again the beauty of contained, 10-episode story arcs.
  • Family saw their third London show (The Illusionists) since arriving in the city – we are averaging one every two months (train + Tube + tickets for 5 does add up!).  Which means we only have 9 left to see…time to get moving!!


  • IMG_0858I am close to officially choosing my adopted UK soccer team. Colin already chose Manchester City – that will NOT be my pick.
  • Vikings…please beat the Bears. Please!!  After the Cubs, Hawkeyes and JG falling just short, please don’t cap off the disappointment by missing the playoffs.
  • Ascot Racecourse…Best.  Track.  Ever.


  • Illegal immigration in the US peaked about 8 years ago and is down about 8% since then. But I’m glad so many make sure to not let facts get in the way of sound bites.
  • Approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of the illegal immigrants in the US are due to visa overstays. I’m sure a bigger wall will stop that as well.
  • To all the Border Patrol agents that have to listen to this debate…and who are suffering under a large spike in suicide rates as well as inherent risks from the job…thank you for your service
  • “America is stronger with the many immigrants who come here to make a new life and participate in the American dream.”  Bet you can’t guess who said that…  Still guessing?  Well here’s a hint – they are the only Republican candidate for president who has worked in all 3 branches of government and yet has no significant achievements to show for it. Quite the outsider credentials.
  • I think some people missed the memo, so I will reprint it here: the actual goal of being in government is, you know, governing.
  • Donald Trump will not be the Republican nominee and will likely lose 2 of the first 3 actual contests.  Unless of course we change the voting process quickly to a Survivor or American Idol type system…then all bets are off!!
  • Not ready to declare my full primary scenario expectations just yet (I will publish prior to Iowa on February 1st) but two paths in play that people don’t realize:  a brokered R convention and R victory of White House but loss of Senate.

Until next time…


Last November, good friend and cultural/missional guru, Julie Masson, blogged over at Family Matters her rationale for taking a break from social media for the month of December (“Why I’m Saying NO! to Social Media in December”).  I asked her to share her thoughts on what it is like to be without social media.  Here is her observations midway through the social media sabbatical:

 Into the Abyss . . . of Social Media Withdrawal

As I begin to write this post, I feel like I’m climbing out of a cave from below the earth, pushing open an old rickety door to feel the sunshine on my face. I’ve forgotten about the world out there! The world that I’m talking about is the wonderful world of social media.  Social Media

Last month I posted about how I was taking a break from social media from Thanksgiving to Christmas. You can read more about my reasons for doing so here. (link) I thought it would be fun to give you all a quick update on how my social media fast is going, despite the fact that I can’t even “share” this post with people.

I’ve had lots of family and friends ask me how I’m doing being away from Facebook (though I’m taking a break from Twitter and Pinterest too) and I surprised myself when I told them, “Great actually! I don’t even miss it!” When I decided to do this thing, way back in April, I thought it would be a real struggle. But I’ve found myself with zero longings for Facebook status updates and cute pictures of my friends’ kids. The weird part is that I kind of feel like I’m living in one country, while all of my friends live in another. If you’ve ever lived overseas, you know that it can feel surreal to think that all of your friends back home are carrying on with their normal lives while you live out a completely different existence in your new country. For me, my new country is free of social media and all of my friends and family are living in Facebook land. You can be sure there are times where I wonder, “I wonder what so and so is doing for Christmas this year.” And then I realize I better snap out of it before my baby throws more food on the floor.

The other thing I’ve noticed is that some of the thoughts from my head that may have turned into status updates or Tweets, have become more personal texts to actual, real life friends. I’ve found myself interacting more with people who are actually in my life. Sometimes it’s a phone call to my mom or my husband, and sometimes it’s a text to a good friend. I know that I’m naturally hard wired to be social in real life, and interact with as many people as possible, so without social media, I’ve found other ways to interact.

In the wake of last week’s horrible school shootings, I found myself feeling tempted to get back on Facebook and say a public thank you to all of the men and women who are teachers, policemen and other public servants. Those people saw some horrible images that day when they walked into the school after the shootings. Instead of logging onto Facebook (which I can’t do since my husband changed my password) I wrote a personal text to my brother who works in law enforcement and told HIM thank you for all that he does. How often do any of us take time to tell the people in our lives that we value them or appreciate them? For me, I think I could be much better at this.

Basically, I can report that it’s been a good month without social media. I’ve been able to really enjoy this season. We have been able to celebrate Christmas in a way that is enjoyable for our family, without the extra input from well meaning Christian bloggers and friends that share how they celebrate Christmas. If you are thinking about taking a break, do it! You may find that you really enjoy the way life used to be! Merry Christmas!

Author Background:  Julie Masson no longer spends her days living life on a seminary campus. But she is striving daily, along with her husband to thrive, not just survive, in this graduate school life phase. It’s no easy task with three small children. However, God continues to mold her and provide ample opportunities to put Grace Based Parenting into action. Julie is passionate about helping others see the people of the world through eyes of Grace and she does this by working part time at The Upstream Collective – a group that helps churches think and act as a missionary. You can follow her on Twitter at @TheSeminaryWife

Over at Michael Hyatt’s Blog, he recently published a guest post by author, Mary DeMuth, focused on “Finding Your Passion in Three Steps”.  It was a very informative and insightful post, yet there was one section that I kept thinking about and coming back to.  In DeMuth’s three-step process, she includes a favorite exercise she learned from a “writer’s loop”.  The goal of this exercise is to immediately list, without thinking about it too much, your three favorite movies.  Don’t ponder the choices, debate about it in your head, or compare various options…just choose.  Then, examine those three movies and determine the common thread that runs through each.  Her intention is to show that choices resemble your passion in life.  For example, DeMuth picked Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and To Kill a Mockingbird with the common thread being “outcasts who overcome their past to absolutely change the world”.

I found the discussion of the exercise so completely fascinating, I decided to try it out myself.  Be warned – you will look at your first three choices and think “What?  I can do better!” and you will want to pick again.  Don’t!  Take your three choices and run with it.  So without further ado, here are my three movie picks:

  • The Natural
  • The Usual Suspects
  • Casablanca

So what is the common thread?  In short order, the thematic elements of the three movies started to emerge into one comprehensive theme:  Relative unknown people accomplishing great things against significant odds.  And after I looked at this conclusion (and if you have a different conclusion as to the common elements of the three I would love to hear about it), I can honestly say I was not surprised.  This theme is very much related to things I have written and/or struggled with:  my desire to be significant, my hatred of injustice, my struggle with power and prestige.  Certainly do not think this little exercise is a complete psychological self-analysis that should determine a path for your life or is something that is fool-proof and set in stone.  Don’t be silly.  But take it for what it is.  Something that is fun, provides some insight and doesn’t take a lot of time.  Enjoy! 

So how about you?  What are your three movies and the common thread?