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Christy Catherine Marshall

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February 28, 2011

I confess. I’ve caught a bit of spring fever.

We’ve had a few days of sunshine here that have teased me into thinking I need a break. A spring break!

But we’ve still got a solid month of school — and testing — coming up before we’re out on holidays. So, although I’d rather be stretched out under a seaside umbrella, I decided to do the next best thing…

I gathered a group up to go see Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never — in 3D!

I’ll tell you right off the bat: we squealed and laughed almost the entire time. (Justin Bieber was ADORABLE as a preschooler!) This is such a fun movie for girls and their moms to go see. We were all wearing these giant 3D red and blue glasses watching a teen POP STAR grow up from baby to toddler to adored performer, who at this point is clean-cut and publicly praises his own mom — what’s not to love?

To me, the real heroine of the movie is Justin’s mom, Pattie Mallette. She was the one behind the video camera, capturing those precious images of him as a toddler beating on the seat of a chair. She bought him his first drum set and filmed him, never realizing these images would one day make it into a movie about her famous son’s first sixteen years of life.

OK, so of course everyone knows who Justin Bieber is (right?). Before seeing this movie, I only knew Justin from the covers of magazines, the ones I see while waiting in the grocery checkout line. Cute kid, cute hair, is about all I knew.

I had also heard an interview with him on NPR a couple of years ago, and I knew he had a sweet song where he sings “Baby, Baby Baby — ooh!” and that he was discovered on Youtube. That’s it!

So I totally didn’t expect to be COMPLETELY mesmerized by his story during “Never Say Never,” which sounds like a fairy tale. He was born to a teen mom in London, Ontario and raised in the tiny town of Stratford. He was very close to his maternal grandparents, and in the movie, you see him sitting in his grandfather’s lap, just like any kid. He played sports and became interested in music, teaching himself to play drums, piano, guitar, and trumpet.

He liked sitting on the steps of an auditorium in his hometown playing guitar and singing. When he sang, people all over the town would open the windows to let his voice drift in. Yeah, there was something about that kid…

So he entered a singing contest, at age 12 — and got second place. But his mom recorded it, and she and Justin decided, “Hey, let’s put it on youtube” so family and friends who couldn’t make it could see him singing.

Then one day, a music manager in ATLANTA, of all places, accidentally clicked on Justin’s youtube video, and by this time, his mom had put several songs online. This guy, Scooter Braun, figured out where Justin lived, contacted him through his mom, (that must have been freaky!), and invited them both to come down to Atlanta to meet a few people and record some demos.

Now, this part of the story has become legendary: in the parking lot of the studio, Justin saw one of his favorite recording artists, Usher, and asked if he could sing for him. At first, Usher was a little too busy. But eventually he took a minute to hear this kid from Canada sing. And — he discovered a future star! So Usher and Braun took Justin under their wings and helped him get his first record deal with Island Music.

Then they invited Bieber and his mom to move to Atlanta! Scary! And they did. See, how I admire his mom? She must have done a lot of praying to know this was the right thing to do. Anyway, his first album was a huge success. Justin also built up his own following through social networking. As of today, his Twitter site has close to 8 million followers. In 2010, he won “Artist of the Year” from the American Music Awards.

The “Never Say Never” movie is a documentary leading up to his sold-out Madison Square Garden concert, with real footage from many of his other performances. You get to feel like you’re in the audience, watching him jump out at you and sing away. And at one point, he takes a break from the behind-the-scenes concert tour to speak to movie-goers, telling us to quit texting and pay attention! It was really cute.

I’m sure this is the closest I’ll ever get to see him in concert, so it was a bargain price for us. We thoroughly enjoyed it, and I wish Justin Bieber and his mom all the best. I’ve heard that tomorrow, March 1, is his 17th birthday. I hope he’ll keep producing good clean music with lyrics that moms will let their kids listen to!

Happy Birthday, Justin Bieber, from all of us here at Mom 2 Mom Connection!

* Here’s one of his recent tweets (2 hours ago, as of this writing):

im never gonna change…i will always remember…i will always be that kid from stratford…I will always be grateful.

February 21, 2011

I just finished reading Kathi Lipp’s really fun book, The Me Project, and I’m happy to join in the blog tour to help spread the word.

I started reading it a couple of weeks ago without having any idea what my “project” might be. After slipping this book into my purse and carrying it around to basketball games, school pick-up lines, and doctor’s appointments, I feel like Kathi Lipp has become a friend, someone who wants me to seek God’s best for my life.

The book is divided into 21 “projects” that will help you take small steps toward dreams you may have on hold. It would be a great resource for women’s book clubs and church groups, since one of the main points Kathi Lipp makes is that friends can hold you accountable as you make progress toward your goals.

Here’s a little about the book:

Has that rush to make (and break) New Year’s resolutions already waned? According to Daniel Pink, author of 
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, taking small steps every day will not only help you stay committed to your goal, 
but will also help you ultimately achieve that goal when obstacles come up. Author Kathi Lipp wants you and your friends to live out those dreams—and have some fun along the way.

As women, we forget the goals and dreams of our younger years. The busyness of everyday life gets 
in the way. To-do lists replace goals. The Me Project provides women with fun and creative ways to bring back the sense of purpose and vitality that comes with living out the plans and dreams God has planted in our hearts. Kathi Lipp’s warm tone and laugh-out-loud humor motivates women to take daily steps toward intentional goals. The end result? We get back our lives and enjoy living in the confidence of a purposeful life in spite of our chaotic schedules.

This handy guide coaches women to do one simple thing toward achieving our goals each day for three weeks. A woman experiencing the exhilaration of a rediscovered life offers more as a wife, mother, friend, volunteer, career woman.

Now you get a chance to meet Kathi Lipp as she shares how you can get started on your own “Me Project.” And if you leave a comment below, you’ll be entered in to win a really cool Starbucks gift basket full of caffeine-loaded goodies that will certainly energize you and your accountability buddies to reach for the stars!

Three Super-Simple Ways to Kick Start Living Your Dreams — In the Next 15 Minutes
by Kathi Lipp

Is there a dream that God has given you, but you are waiting until the kids are grown and you have money in the bank before you get started?

You may not be able to enroll in a month-long pastry making class or take a week off of work to get started on your novel, but today you can take three little baby steps to making your dream a day-to-day reality.

1. Go Public with It.
It’s a little scary to tell the world what you want to do when you grow up — but this one little step could get you closer to living your dream than almost any other. Plus — it takes very little time, and you don’t have to raid your kid’s college fund to make it happen.

When you gather up all your courage and tell your best friend, “I want to learn how to paint,” suddenly she remembers an old art book she has laying around she would love to give you, or her friend from church who teaches art classes. The people you know and love want to be a resource. Give them the privilege of being a part of making your dream happen.

2. Join an Online Group.
This is one of the simplest — and cheapest — ways to start exploring your passion. Find out who else is talking about restoring antiques and listen to their conversation. Start by Googling your interest along with the term “online groups.” You’ll be amazed with the number of people who want to talk about the proper way to care for 1950’s lunchboxes as much as you do.

3. Don’t be Afraid to Pray.
I remember the first time I put an offer in on a house — I wanted it more than I had wanted almost anything else in my life. While I knew that I had dozens of other people praying on my behalf, I was too scared to pray.

I didn’t want God to tell me no. I was afraid to pray until my co-worker Kim asked me (in a loving, kind way), why I didn’t believe that God wanted His best for me. Don’t be afraid to pray — as with anything amazing in my life, the path is never what I expected, but it has always been obvious that God’s hand has been on it the whole way.

Kathi Lipp is a busy conference and retreat speaker, currently speaking each year to thousands of women throughout the United States. She is the author of The Husband Project and The Marriage Project, serves as food writer for Nickelodeon, and has had articles published in several magazines, including Today’s Christian Woman and Discipleship Journal. Kathi and her husband, Roger, live in California and are the parents of four teenagers and young adults. For more information visit her website.

Grand Prize Giveaway: Deluxe Starbucks Coffee Gift Basket

* Three 2.5-oz. bags of Starbucks coffee
(Sumatra, House Blend, and French Roast)
* Tazo black tea
* Starbucks marshmallow cocoa
* Almond roca
* Almond roca buttercrunch toffee cookies
* White chocolate and raspberry cookies
* 2 Starbucks mugs
* Keepsake black bamboo basket

$62 value

February 11, 2011

In yesterday’s Publisher’s Weekly, I read the sad news that Dr. George Edward Stanley, children’s author and professor of languages, passed away suddenly at the age of 68. Dr. Stanley was one of my first writing teachers when I signed up to take a correspondence course at the age of 20 from the Institute of Children’s Literature.

He asked me to address him simply as “George,” and I’ve kept his letters and notes from my course assignments these past 20+ years. Now, of course, I treasure them even more. Dr. Stanley was a wonderful mentor for me, and his early encouragement helped keep my writing dreams alive. Although I have yet to publish my own children’s novel, I still live as one devoted to the world of children’s literature, especially as the mother of five kids who love to read great books.

I wanted to share with you some of George Edward Stanley’s many accomplishments that I found on a memorial page devoted to him:

George graduated from Memphis High School in 1960. He took his B.A. (1965) and his M.A. (1967) from Texas Tech University. His Doctor Litterarum (1974) in African Linguistics is from the University of Port Elizabeth [now Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University] in South Africa.

It was while he was a Fulbright professor in Chad, in central Africa, that Dr. Stanley began writing fiction. About the only diversion he found available in that nation’s capital city of N’Djamena was listening to the BBC on his short wave radio. That led to his writing radio plays for a program called World Service Short Story. Three of his plays were eventually produced and so began a lifetime of entertaining and educating children and young adults.

After writing and publishing over 200 short stories in American, British, Irish, and South African magazines and linguistics articles in major international journals, Dr. Stanley turned to writing books. He wrote more than 100 books for young people and one book on writing, WRITING SHORT STORIES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE.

Dr. Stanley was also working on several other books for young people, as well as textbooks for teaching Arabic, Hausa, Indonesian, Persian, Swahili, and Urdu.

Dr. Stanley was a Professor of African and Middle-Eastern Languages and Linguistics in the Department of Foreign Languages at Cameron University. At one time or another he has taught all the Germanic and Romance languages, in addition to African and Middle-Eastern languages.

I also found a listing on his home page at Cameron University of over 100 children’s books he published, including books written under his own name as well as several well-known pseudonyms.

Still, out of all these many accomplishments, the fact that he found time to work with unknown, fledgling writers through a correspondence school shows how dedicated he was to the field of children’s writing. I know that he’ll be greatly missed by all of his current and former students, as well as those who knew and loved him.

His funeral is today in Oklahoma. May he rest in peace, and may his life’s work continue to be an inspiration to those who follow in his footsteps.

February 9, 2011

Valentine’s weekend is coming up, and if you’re like me, you’ve got multiple kids who need a million Valentines to pass out to classmates and teachers. Some years, we’ve done the Wal-Mart dash and scribbled names on store-bought Valentines. That works, and you can check it off your list.

But this year, my three crafty daughters are old enough to manage their own projects. So I’m planning to let them have at it, supplying them with colored paper, scissors, glue, and doo-dads galore. It will keep them busy for a few hours, and they’ll end up using their creativity in ways they can share with their friends.

Here’s an idea I LOVE sent to me by author and CHOCOLATE EXPERT, Beth Kimmerle. (Does she have a dream job or what?) To make these gorgeous Valentine Foil Roses, you get to use the foil saved from your chewing gum!

Thank you, Beth, for a great girly girl craft project! 😉

Beth advises, “Look for gum available in flavors with fun, floral colors. Just fold the foil into tulips or roses, secure to a stem pipe cleaner and voila, a unique floral arrangement that won’t wilt!”

*5 gum Wrappers
*Pipe Cleaners
*Craft glue

1. Cut Pipe cleaners into two pieces with sharp scissors.
2. Fold foil wrapper into half lengthwise and using pipe cleaner, pierce through folded section about ½” from end.
3. Wrap foil around pipe cleaner to create a “flower” and twist at bottom to secure. Use glue if necessary.
4. Using green foil, make “leaves”. Fold green foil twice lengthwise and wrap around bottom of flower. Twist foil to resemble leaves.
5. Repeat making flowers on end of pipe cleaners until your have a bouquet of 20 or so flowers.
6. Use a pipe cleaner and tie bunch around wrist to create a corsage or use one or two and pin on date for a funky boutonniere.

Beth Kimmerle, chocolate and candy expert and historian, served the confectionery industry as a writer and consultant. Ms. Kimmerle was the
director of the American Museum of Candy History and more recently has worked on chocolate museums in Sapporo, Japan and San Juan, Puerto Rico. She is the author of four books documenting the history of America’s confectionery industry. Beth has made appearances on the Food Network, History Channel, National Public Radio, NBC’s The Today Show and Martha Stewart Living. She has been a featured candy-making instructor and lecturer at The Ritz Carlton, Princeton University, and the New York Chocolate Show.

February 3, 2011

If you haven’t made it to the movie theater lately, here’s a film that will surely entice you. The King’s Speech is a gorgeous British film that is every bit worthy of its 12 Oscar nominations. I hope it wins “Best Picture” because it’s far and away the best movie I’ve seen all year.

Our pastor gave a sermon on “The King’s Speech” a couple of weeks ago, reminding us to read our Bibles so that our daily speech will be more in line with that of our King. He also shared the background story to this film, and I was so intrigued, I felt like I had to go see it. Thankfully, my husband agreed.

I love movies based on true stories, and this one centers around the rise of King George VI (played by Colin Firth) to the throne of England in 1936. No one ever thought “Bertie” (as his close friends and family know him) would become king because he was the younger brother — and he had a terrible stammer that made it downright difficult for him to speak in public.

But when his father dies, Bertie’s older brother, Edward, abdicates the throne. He’s in love with an American divorcee and chooses to go against the rules of the Church and marry her, giving up the kingship. Bertie then accepts his calling and grave responsibilities of his public role with the help of Australian speech therapist, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush.)

Throughout the film, Bertie’s wife, Elizabeth, played by the beautiful Helena Bonham Carter, supports him and believes in him. It’s her love more than anything that seems to give him the strength he needs to persevere through the challenges of his speech therapy and service to his country. I loved everything about Helena Bonham Carter — the breathtaking tilt of her hat, reminding me of Kate Winslet’s first upward glance at the Titanic, her lovely English accent, the way she cares for her two princess daughters, everything! Oh, I hope she wins Best Supporting Actress! She’s a role model for all married women and mothers.

There are a few funny parts in the movie. Lionel Logue uses some unconventional methods to bring out the best in his patient. And the actor who plays Sir Winston Churchill is a hoot — I giggled every time he said a line. How could the people around him keep from laughing?

My only regret is that the movie is rated “R.” I don’t normally go see rated “R” movies, but since it was recommended by my pastor, hey, I thought it couldn’t be all that bad. Well, it wasn’t. That’s my regret — that it wasn’t labed PG-13.

This is a great movie for teens to see, even kids as young as 11 or 12 EXCEPT there is a brief moment of bad language. The speech therapist makes the discovery that when Bertie is angry, like cussing angry, he doesn’t stammer. So the therapist asks Bertie to cuss a time or two, to see how his speech can be controlled through his emotion. Yet because the f-word appears a few times, I guess this earned the film an R rating. I just kept thinking what a shame! Of course I’m not taking my young kids to see a rated R movie at the theater, but when it comes out on DVD, I think it’s fine for families to rent — maybe keeping the fast forward controller nearby to speed through that brief R-rated speech.

Otherwise, I think this is a family-friendly film. I left the theater thinking how many of us could use someone like Lionel Logue in our lives, coaxing us through our fears and helping us believe in ourselves when our moment comes to give our own “king’s speech.”

The Academy Awards will air on ABC on February 27 at 8 pm. I may try to watch it since Anne Hathaway is co-hosting, and I love her dearly. Well, here’s to “The King’s Speech” for leaving its mark on award history!

[Update: Congratulations to the 2011 Academy Award Winners! “The King’s Speech” did indeed win Best Picture, Best Actor (Colin Firth), Best Directing (Tom Hooper), and Best Writing (Original Screenplay).]

By: Heather Ivester in: Marriage,Movies | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (2)