And This Year’s Winner For Biggest Life Plot Twist Goes To…

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“One. Mile. Time: 9 minutes. 39 seconds.”

Yesssss, I broke 10 minutes!

The air is below freezing but I’m in a t-shirt. I keep running, trying to keep up my pace until I get home.

—-

“Wait… So the stringer runs along the fuselage?” I say, sitting on my kitchen counter, eating an abnormally healthy meal of spinach and chicken.

“Yeah,” my mother’s voice comes from the phone next to me. “Remember, engineers aren’t very creative, so just imagine some guy sitting there saying, ‘What should we call this thing we strung down the plane? I know! A stringer!'”

I laugh at my mother’s sarcasm toward her former profession.

—-

I don’t exactly have butterflies, more like a butterfly. Looking at the horizon, I realize that it’s a beautiful view of the city I’ve come to call home. It hits me in that moment that this is happening.

“Other than looking identical, the houses aren’t bad,” I type to my friend as I get in my car.

Driving down the road, following the car ahead of me marked “For Official US Government Use,” I look at the coffee shops and grocery stores. There is even something that looks like a school.

It’s like a tiny city in here.

—-

Over the past month or so, there have been some small changes creeping into my life. My diet is better, I wake up earlier, I’m studying algebra.

Why?

It’s not a New Year’s resolution. I don’t care about losing dress sizes, and the ability to clearly define the term “Flight Envelope” was not something I had ever thought I would need.

But all that changed a little more than a month ago when I decided to become a pilot for the United States Air Force.

Yes, you read that right. I, Rebecca Moore, self proclaimed liberal and pacifist, is joining the Military.

Perhaps some explaining is in order.

Back in early December, quite a lot of people forwarded me the news that civilians could apply with NASA to be an astronaut. While I would have loved to apply, I don’t meet all of their qualifications. However, it did get me thinking about where I want to be in 20-30 years.

I’m an ambitious person. I know this. My goals of ending up in the Public Affairs department of NASA have not changed, but I’ve long been thinking that a second degree in a STEM field would not only make me more competitive, but also simply to be better at my job. While I knew I couldn’t apply now, I’ve actually thought extensively about how being an astronaut could potentially affect my career. Maybe one day I would want to be the director of the space program, and honestly, shouldn’t that be an experienced astronaut? Besides my own ambition, space travel itself had a draw. I would sit around trying to think of the best way to convince NASA that they should send a public relations specialist with the team to Mars, and that specialist should definitely be me. It was a half joke in conversations, but there was part of my heart that genuinely wanted to fly toward the stars.

NASA has a longstanding relationship with the military, and there are channels through which you can apply to become part of the astronaut corps of you are a pilot. Even if you don’t make it, you still get military preference on all civil servant applications since it’s a government job.

Honestly, I’ve known for a while that there were significant benefits to trying to meet my goals through the military. It just wasn’t until recently I seriously looked at it as an option. My mind had a default button when it came to the Armed Forces. NO.

At first, when I thought about it, I wondered, “Are you abandoning your principles for your own ambition?” It was a fair question. I’m opposed to war and generally think of violence to be morally repugnant. But if you’ve ever had a real conversation with me on the complex issues of global conflict, and not one where I jokingly say we should just give all the defense budget to NASA, you know that I do appreciate the need and the good that the Armed Forces can provide. And even when I wouldn’t necessarily categorize something as good, the pragmatic side of me understands the reality of the world we live in.

Then I began to think instead of what the military could do for my career, but rather what it could do for me as a person. What new perspectives could I have if I understood the military in a different light? What would come out of me if I really challenged myself in the way this path uniquely would? And most importantly, could I serve my fellow man? Could I make the world a better place?

I do not know exactly what will come of this choice, and it should be known that I did not make it lightly. But it has been made. I’ve signed all the papers. My package had been submitted. Sometime, in the next 6 to 8 months, as long as I pass all the tests, I will leave for officer training, and then go on to pilot training. This was all done after much prayer, council, and deliberation. In my heart, I know this is the right choice for me.

As I make this shift in my life, I want to remain true the values I believe. Turning to the scriptures can give strength in times of change for anyone, so I’ve gone to the war chapters in The Book of Mormon as I continue to reconcile my decision.

This was the faith of Moroni, and his heart did glory in it; not in the shedding of blood but in doing good, in preserving his people, yea, in keeping the commandments of God, yea, and resisting iniquity. Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men. (Alma 48:16-17)

At the end of the day, I want to do good.

And fly.

—-

(By the way, I know Top Gun was about the Navy, so none of you need to come correct me about my photo choice.)

Rebecca Live Blogs The Snowpocalypse

Snow

Snow is the worst. I hate the cold and I certainly do not appreciate the precipitation that accompanies it.

As some of you may be aware, a giant blizzard is about to descend upon the Nation’s Capital (as well as other parts of the East Coast); one that is predicted to have up to 2 feet of snow, 60 mph winds, and complete whiteout conditions. Pretty much everything, from the metro to schools, have been shut down. If you wander over to Google Maps to drive anywhere, you get this.

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I’m sure I’ll hear that siren from my phone later today from Siri telling me THERE’S A BLIZZARD. DON’T BE AN IDIOT AND DRIVE OR GO OUTSIDE AT ALL, REALLY.

While I could be a pissy pants all weekend as I’m about to be stuck in Hell it self (They’ve been lying for years. Hell will be cold, people, and there will be NO fire and brimstone to warm you up!), I’ve decided to look at this as an adventure! And since many of you will not have the displeasure/joy, depending on your personal feelings toward the white devil of the sky, I’m going to tell the whole world about the misery/fun of being in the oncoming path of the storm. I’ll update this page as the weekend progresses, likely around every hour, or when something happens.

ARE YOU READY FOR THE SNOWPOCALYPSE?!

FRIDAY

8:04 AM: No snow. Maybe this was all a lie. Maybe it won’t snow.🙏This is the view out my bedroom window. There’s a little left over from the inch we got on Wednesday night, but most of it has melted.

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8:32 AM: Snow Day outfit #1.

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Runway ready guys. I’m telling you, watch out for messy hair and sweatshirts in Yves Saint Laurent’s next show.

8:39 AM: Ooo! The mail lady is here! We usually don’t get our mail till the afternoon, so I guess they are living up to the whole, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom” thing while not actually having to work in the snow. Smart move USPS.

Side note: Mail was for me. 3rd package from Amazon in the past 7 days. I think I’m slightly addicted to Prime? I mean, not in a get-into-debt-from-internet-shopping kind of way. It’s just, if I have the option of buying something at the store, or buying it from them, I’ll probably do it online. Like today’s package was a 4 pack of light bulbs. The lights in my closet and bathroom have burned out, and instead of going over to Giant, I just whipped out my phone. Lazy? Maybe. But I’m getting my money’s worth from that membership. And I saved like $0.51 compared to buying it at the store.

Oh my goodness. I’m not lazy. I’m my mother. This is the equivalent of her scraping out the bottom of the peanut butter jar.

10:02 AM: Why do helicopters keep flying over the house? I mean, we always have a lot cause we’re right by the Pentagon and The White House, but this feels like more than usual. Are they news stations trying to get before shots? Are they military evacuating important people? Idk, but I know two more have flown over just while I was typing this.

10:16 AM: Ok, time to change those light bulbs. Slight problem. I’m just barely too short to reach the light fixture comfortably. Hmmm. I could go look for a step stool. Or…

Perfect. And they say high heels are impractical.

11:27 AM: Still no snow. My weather app says theres a 50% chance that it will start at noon, but I’m still hoping there will be a major plot twist and a heat wave will come through and we can all enjoy some nice 65 degree sunshine.

12:08 PM: Noon has arrived with no white in sight. I’ve decided to make sweet potatoes for lunch. Here’s my recipe.

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  1. Cut sweet potato how ever you feel like. Make sure you constantly put your thumb in the way of the knife or slice toward you. This will thoroughly stress out all parties watching.
  2. Coat with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Measure it out perfectly because you’re on a stupid diet and you have to eat their EXACT portions. 😒
  3. Spread out over pan.
  4. Use roommate’s fancy new garlic salt grinder from Trader Joe’s. Make note that this is the 4th time you’ve done that. Tell Siri to remind you to go buy your own fancy garlic salt grinder.
  5. Stick in the oven.
  6. Pull up the Amazon app to see if they sell Trader Joe’s Garlic Salt.
  7. Pull out sweet potatoes when they look like you want to eat them.

BON APPETIT 🍠

(Why am I on a super strict diet you may ask? Some of you may know, but if you don’t, it’s not just for kicks. I actually have a big announcement to tell all of you, which will likely be my next blog post.)

12:42 PM: Kirsi and I decide to go brave our local grocery store to buy water.

Apparently no one wears contacts on snow days.

A photo posted by @rebeccaamoore on

Braved Giant. 💦

A photo posted by @rebeccaamoore on

12:57 PM: Giant employee came over intercom with the following announcement:

“Ok It’s officially started snowing. So you should all just go home. Now.”

I connected with his disgruntled sounding tone on a spiritual level.

1:32 PM: Yep. It’s here. And the Michigander in me says you’re all weak. I may hate snow but this is nothing.

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2:14 PM: Snow Day outfit #2.

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The weather will not deter me form attempting to turn my flabby noodle arms into something that can do a push up.

3:30 PM: ZUMBA PARTY IN THE BASEMENT. I highly suggest having fun roommates if you have to be snowed in. 10/10. Would recommend to a friend.

Zumba party in the basement. 💃🏼💃🏽💃🏻AKA how to spend #blizzard2016.

A video posted by @rebeccaamoore on

3:52 PM: Upside of snow days? Showers. I don’t know about you, but when I take a shower, it’s usually in a rush to get to work. But when you’re stuck in a blizzard? Pff. Do whatever you want. Want to sing the first half of Les Mis? Go for it! Try and rap Guns and Ships perfectly? Probably will take longer than that first one, but who cares! You have the time.

“I’m taking this horse by the reigns, makin’ Red Coats redder with blood stains! Watch me enrage in em, escapin’ em, PWWRAA! I go back to France for more funds and… wait, um guns and ships, and so the balance shifts. Go lead your men. See you on the other side. Till we meet…. WAIT THAT’S YORKTOWN DANG IT.”

4:41 PM: Snow Day outfit #1.5

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“Moore once again is making bold fashion choices this January. While the untrained eye would say, “Wait… isn’t this the same thing she was wearing earlier?” a connoisseur of fashion will note the subtle differences. She has updated the classic look with a wet hair accent, plus the additional detail of her t-shirt underneath being slightly visible. It’s this attention to the little things that makes her the style icon that she is.”

5:03 PM: Been snowing for a little over 4 hours. Honestly, it’s not that bad yet. You can still see the grass poking through. I’m aware the worst of it is supposed to come at night, but so far no 60 mph wind or whiteouts.

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(Left is at 1:45 PM – Right 5:03 PM)

5:29 PM: Someone just rang our doorbell. Who could be at our house right now? I don’t want to answer. I have wet hair and am wearing… wait. I just posted a picture of that for the whole internet to see. Right. And I went to the store wearing this exact same thing. Good job brain.

5:32 PM: It was some kids offering to shovel the walk for cash. Smart. Sarah June thinks they need to work on their sales pitch.

6:27 PM: Rebecca v. The Snow Round #1

Joe: So what do we have here today, Steve?

Steve: Well, Joe, The Snow has really started to up its game, so now Rebecca is prepping for their first round. She’s grabbing some boots, throwing on some gloves, and heading right into the thick of it!

Joe: Do you think she’ll go for scraping the car or shoveling the walk first?

Steve: Looks like she grabbed her keys… and yes! She’s going for the car!

Joe: Wow, she’s moving fast. Look at how quick those brush strokes are.

Steve: Well, she has to be that fast. At the rate The Snow is falling, the whole thing will be under it all over again if she goes any slower.

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Joe: I notice she’s wearing a coat, Steve.

Steve: That is unusual. Rarely do we see that kind of move from Rebecca.

Joe: Is it true that last year she scrapped her car wearing only a t-shirt and jeans?

Steve: That is a fact! Got some odd looks that day. See Rebecca has never been fond of coats. She appreciates them to complete an outfit, but for actually keeping warm? Not something we usually see.

Joe: I wonder why that is, Steve?

Steve: Well, Joe, no one really knows. I don’t even know if you could get more than a shrug out of her about it. But my theory is her usual tactic for dealing with The Snow, or The Cold for that matter, is to simply refuse to acknowledge its existence.

Joe: Well, that and spend as little time in it as possible.

Steve: True, true. Look! She’s moving on to the walk way!

Joe: Appears she’ll begin with the sidewalk in front of the house. Clearly she wants to avoid any of those Arlington County fines.

Steve: Do they even really enforce that, Joe?

Joe: I’m not sure, Steve, but Rebecca certainly isn’t finding out.

Steve: It looks like she’s really the only one out right now.

Joe: She’s smart. This Snow is wet. Remember the wise words of Leslie Knope on one of her trips to Washington, D.C. “[There’s] two hundred percent humidity because this is a stupid swamp town.”

Steve: Good reminder! That snow is heavy, and she’s in it to win it. If she waits too long, she might throw her back out shoveling.

Joe: That, or at least pull something. Either of which would make it a win for The Snow.

Steve: Looks like she’s wrapping up… walking inside the house… wait! She’s going for a team play! She and Kirsi switch the shovel for, what is that, I can’t see…

Joe: It’s a container of rock salt!

Steve: Wow! No surprise ambushes for The Ice either. She really wants to win this.

Joe: Well now she really is done. She can go in and warm up with 90 calories of fish, 1/2 cup of couscous, some steamed veggies, and a mug of caramel apple cider!

Steve: Um… the cider sounds good.

Joe: Sorry, I misspoke. I meant caramel apple tea. No actual sugar or calories, but it does have flavor that imitates that favorite wintertime drink!

Steve: That’s horrible.

Joe: Yes, Steve, it is. Diets are stupid.

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Rebecca: 1, The Snow: 0

SATURDAY

8:55 AM: Kill me.

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9:15 AM: Snow Day outfit #3

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“While today’s outfit has the nice call back to yesterday’s baggy sweatshirt, this one is considerably less snuggly. It’s as if the statement she’s trying to make is yeah… not going outside.”

9:20 AM: I lied. I went outside.

Ok, maybe it isn’t that bad. That’s only a few inches.

What filter will make this picture of the frozen wasteland outside better? 🌨🌨🌨

A photo posted by @rebeccaamoore on

Wait, never mind. The drift tricked me. This is over my boots. Let’s try walking down the steps…

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WHAT?! THIS IS AMOST UP TO MY KNEES?! Ugh. And I even shoveled a good 6 inches last night.

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Good thing I don’t have to go anywhere. 

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11:07 AM: All church meetings for my Stake have been canceled.

1:10 PM: Nice people are shoveling my walk?!?! We are so touched. Making them hot cocoa and cookies.

2:29 PM: Usually this is my hardest workout during the day. But shoveling the walk will likely make this look like a cake walk.

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5:50 PM: Do you suffer from a disorganized kitchen? Can’t remember who’s turn it is to take out the trash? Not sure how to pay for communal items like toilet paper and dish soap? Maybe it’s time to try Snowed In Roommate Council™.

Unlike regular Roommate Council™, which may or may not have people rushing off to a date, having to leave for a work emergency, or traveling, SIRC™ forces all living under one roof to not only be there, but also have no where else to go.

“Before taking Snowed In Roommate Council™, I felt like we weren’t staying on top of the dishes. Now, we have an effective system that can keep the area ready for cooking!”

“During the cleaning of the kitchen part of SIRC™, I found spices I didn’t even know we had!”

WARNINGS:

BEFORE taking Snowed In Roommate Council™, make sure you have an actual desire to problem solve and a willingness to accept responsibility. While Snowed In Roommate Council™ can be taken with most households, a friendship or at least mutual respect should be formed for the dosage to be completely effective. 

DO NOT take Snowed In Roommate Council™ if you have a history of: passive aggression, easily taking offense, or a desire to simply gang up on one house member.

BEST USED in conjunction with regular doses of Roommate Council™. 

“I already felt so lucky to be living with these women, but after taking SIRC™, a great living situation is now practically perfect.”

Talk to the people living in your house today to see if Snowed In Roommate Council™ is right for you.

Snowed In Roommate Council™. Making your house, a home. 

7:03 PM: Rebecca v. The Snow Round 2

Steve: Back today with Joe and Steve covering the next match between Rebecca and her nemesis, The Snow!

Joe: Yes, we thought we saw another round coming earlier today when she went to out to shovel, but it turns out some kindly neighbors took care of that!

Steve: It’s things like that Joe, that can restore your faith in humanity.

Joe: Truly. But now, she has to venture into the unshoveled side of her house to get to the trash can!

Steve: Now, why isn’t she just waiting until The Snow clears to take it out? Those bags don’t look too full.

Joe: Well you see, Steve, Rebecca and her roommates just cleaned out the kitchen, including some rather smelly finds from the refrigerator.

Steve: Ooo! Don’t want to let that sit around.

Joe: No you don’t. Which is why she’s taking on this next round.

Steve: And she’s going in! Woah! That snow is deeper than it looks! It’s almost up to her hips, and its just getting deeper with every step!

Joe: Now you’ll notice right here even though she looks like a complete idiot while she’s walking, she has to lift her legs up that high to get over the snow. She can’t just push through it, because it’s too dense.

Steve: I don’t know if she can make it without falling. There’s no way that can be stable1 And while holding 3 trash bags? Impossible!

Joe: Well, that would constitute a win for The Snow, but she looks confident.

Steve: Here we go… She’s opening the trash bin, which The Snow has completely covered by the way…

Joe: She gets it! She gets all the bags in! Even the bonus recycling bin!

Steve: The hard part is over! But she’s not done quite yet. The round isn’t over until she makes it back to the front of the house without falling.

Joe: Almost… Almost… AND SHE’S THERE! SHE’S THERE, STEVE!

Steve: Wow! Another win for Rebecca!

Taking the trash out. Snow got nearly up to my hips. 🌨💪🏻

A photo posted by @rebeccaamoore on

Rebecca: 2, The Snow: 0

SUNDAY

8:49 AM: Made it through the night with not too much more snow. Thank goodness.

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9:10 AM: Snow Day outfit #4

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Trying to continue with the oversized sweater theme, but since today is Sunday, and we’re going to “church” (our neighbors are going to bless the Sacrament at their house, and a few of houses around him in walking distance are going over) I grabbed my classy sweater dress. Same leggings as yesterday, but who cares.

12:00 PM: Honestly, I love my ward. I love the people, and I so appreciate our tiny version of sacrament meeting today. It was short and simple, but powerful. We sang some hymns, took the sacrament, took turns sharing spiritual thoughts, and that was it! My heart was filled with gratitude for the people who opened up their home and for everyone else for bringing the Spirit with them.

I spoke briefly, and I’ll share with you what I said there.

Last week I had the opportunity to hear Terryl Givens speak at a fireside. In one part of his talk he discussed the Prophet Jonah, and how we can learn not to be like him.

Jonah had prejudged the people of Nineveh, and when he went to preach repentance to them, he did it more as a prerequisite for their destruction, rather than a genuine desire to serve God’s children. To his surprise and disappointment, they heeded the Lord’s cautions, and changed their hearts.

Jonah wanted them smitten, but God wanted to be compassionate. Jonah saw them as being past redemption, but the Lord never looks at his children as undeserving of love.

So what do we learn from this wayward Prophet? “Take care not to make Heaven too small,” said Givens. “To Jonah, and all who’s hearts are as narrow as his remember the word of the Lord, ‘Shall I not save Nineveh?'”

We all are so deeply far from God. You are not better than your neighbor. And if even by some measurement you were, the difference would be so minuscule in the scope of eternity that its value is something less than a quark. Any presumption that you or anyone is more deserving or have somehow earned their salvation lacks the perspective of the universe and the ever infinite Atonement. Because it is exactly that. Infinite. It cannot be used up. Our blessings are not made less just because someone else receives grace. Our salvation is not thwarted by another’s.

Be not like Jonah, the brother of the prodigal son, or the early day laborers. Rejoice in God’s love for all of His children.

2:45 PM: Rebecca (and Team) v. The Snow Round 3

Steve: Alright folks! It’s the last round, and it’s a doosey!

Joe: This isn’t some light brushing off of cars, this is the ultimate dig out.

Steve: If you look far away you’ll see Rebecca has already begun.

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Joe: That coat of her’s is already off. It’s not denial of The Cold, she’s just that warm!

Steve: Here come the missionaries. They were providing an assist to her neighbor, but now they’ve finished and are helping her out.

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Joe: Look! Her roommates and some neighbors are coming out, too!

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Steve: Remind me of the rules again, Joe?

Joe: Well Steve, if she falls, The Snow wins. If she decides it’s too hard and gives up, The Snow wins. If she breaks anything on or around her car when trying to back it out of the driveway, The Snow wins.

Steve: That’s tough. But she’s looking pretty happy…

Joe: That’s because she’s surrounded by wonderful people. She’s very lucky. This may be her own version of Hell, but good friends that help carry the load are good for the soul.

Steve: Clearly, because she’s broken through the 4 foot mountain of snow and slush, and is finishing up the sidewalk now!

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Joe: Look! She’s so proud! Can we get a close up on that?

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Steve: What a nerd.

Joe: You said it. But still, it’s kinda cute how proud she is.

Steve: Let’s check back in on the driveway.

You should feel sad you don't get to see this face every day like I do. 😄🏡❄️

A photo posted by @rebeccaamoore on

 

Joe: Wow! They sure are enthusiastic.

Steve: I think they’re getting ready to move the cars.

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Joe: Is that even possible?

Steve: They’ve run out of room for the snow, so they have to move the cars if they want to finish the job. Time to make it possible.

Joe: I hear slipping, sliding, but they’re moving! It’s happening! Woah, Steve! Would you look at that!

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Steve: It’s like we’ve been saying all weekend, Joe. That Snow is dense. It’s not just the amount that makes this tough, it’s the sheer weight!

Joe: Well, it would appear that in the end, with that many hands, The Snow was just not up for the challenge. The driveway, road, sidewalk, and porch have been cleared, it took about two hours, but it happened.

Steve: Big round of applause for all of our contestants this weekend! They really brought their A game.

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Rebecca 3, The Snow:0

REBECCA MOORE HAS OFFICIALLY DEFEATED THE SNOW!

 

(Header Image)

A Renewed Hope

SW-THE-FORCE-AWAKENS

This is the part where I’m supposed to warn you about spoilers, but honestly, what are you doing reading reviews of the movie if you don’t want spoilers?

J.J. Abrams, congratulations. That was easily better than any of the prequels. And some, including myself, may even argue it was better than parts of the original trilogy.

There were so many things I liked about this film, from the Millennium Falcon chase scene to the infinitely better dialogue. And, let’s face it, I could really go on forever about John Boyega. But today, I want to talk about two major things; Rey and the parallels from the original Star Wars.

Let’s begin with Rey.

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Rey, oh Rey, you feminist dream. You magnificent space child. You… wait, I’m starting to sound like Leslie Knope. Anyways, Rey was wonderful. As I watched her, I thought of one of my favorite documentaries, Miss Representation, and how a young girl laments that women are never the protagonists in grand epics. It’s always about a man going off to find his destiny, but rarely do we get a narrative that focuses on a woman doing such. Progress has been made, don’t get me wrong. Many supporting female roles have become more complex, and things like Supergirl, Agent Carter, and The Hunger Games are bringing women to the forefront of their own stories.

But this, this was something else entirely.

Star Wars is not a niche market. While yes, it is SciFi, I think we can all admit that Star Wars transcends it’s genre much like Harry Potter does. There may be hard core nerds, but at the end of the day, it’s a cultural staple. It was incredibly powerful to see the next installment of this grand space opera shift its focus to a woman. A woman with practical clothes and no makeup. A woman with feelings and power and a past and what I hope to be a magnificent future.

While it’s clear she’s being paralleled to Luke, I’m not overly concerned with who’s child she is, although I know that her linage will be one of the “big reveals” in the upcoming films. I’m simply happy she exists, and however she came into that existence is fine by me.

These similarities she has with our initial protagonist were not the first plot points I saw that intersected with A New Hope. At first I thought they were just a nod to the fans. A way to make us smile and forget that the prequels happened, since this felt so much like the original trilogy.

And then they got stronger and stronger, to the point where as soon as I saw Chewy hand Han that coat reminiscent of Obi-Wan’s cloak form Episode IV, I just though, “Crap. I’m about to watch Han Solo die.”

While I’m sure that some will shout that this movie was too derivative of it predecessors, or even lazy to recycle old plots, I disagree. There was too much for it to be simple fan service. I once heard George Lucas describe the franchise as “the tragedy of Anakin Skywalker.” I can see that. There were some things in Revenge of the Sith that were sad. Tragic? Ehh. But with this, the similarities evoked that sense of tragedy I never felt in any of the other movies. It felt as if this family was caught in a revolving fate endlessly playing out across the galaxy. When the Resistance was destroying the planet re: Death Star in episode IV, it was not really the focus. Rather, it was Rey and Kylo Ren’s fight. Somehow, no matter how they try, the Skywalker’s would always end up either falling from the light, or destroying each other. Perhaps it’s because I’m so attached to free will, but the idea that their lives are inevitable is so much more heartbreaking to me.

The theme of fate fits well into the overall universe though, as we accept The Force to be this great cosmic entity meant to bring balance. Perhaps something went wrong the first time, and it is attempting to redo what went awry. Maybe the balance that it sought was never truly found and it intends to keep trying over and over until it gets it right. This of course raises the question, what truly is “balance” in The Force? If the word peace had been chosen, we could assume this meant obliterating The Dark Side, but balance implies that both sides are needed. However, how can this equality be found, since from what we’ve seen of The Dark Side, it always seeks to dominate? Its very existence rejects anything other than complete control.

This moves into my theory of where things are going. Why did Ben Solo fall? Why did he turn away? Is it possible that Luke had also realized both The Dark and The Light must exist in harmony? I think he did, and he attempted to teach Ben in all the ways of The Force. He likely saw him as he one who could bring that ultimate balance, acting with power from both sides. But he was wrong and The Dark Side won, creating Kylo Ren. I imagine holding power from both would be incredibly difficult as he described still holding a draw to The Light as “tearing him up.”

But now enter Rey. I don’t believe she will be a Jedi that operates sole in The Light. Eventually, I believe Rey will be the on who will simply “use The Force” and all that entails. Light and Dark. Rey will break the cycle and become the balance that could not be found in Anakin or Ben. How we’re going to get there? I’m not sure. But I have a renewed hope going into the next two films, and will eagerly await to see more adventures of Rey, Finn, and Poe. 

Regardless of individual opinions on plot points, I think most can agree that this was incredibly fun. It was funny, exciting, and something the whole family can enjoy. The effects were wonderful, and it evoked what we loved from the original trilogy. We keep telling this story from a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, and that is because it brings us all a little more joy into our lives.

Merry Christmas, and may the force be with you.

6 Steps to Lasting Confidence

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You know that thing where you ask people to describe someone in three words? Well, I guarantee if you ask just anyone in my life, one of those three words would be confident. Apparently that is what people associate with me.

Now, I exist in my own brain, so for a while it perplexed me that this seemed to be a constant personality trait people saw. I knew when I was nervous, faced doubt, or was overly concerned with my shortcomings. I wasn’t always confident, but I was always seen as such.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve thought about this a lot. Not only because I wanted to know why people saw me as such, but to be able to respond to the inevitable, “I wish I was as confident as you.” There is a certain sadness behind the eye’s of the people who say this to me that I desperately want to help go away. So, after quite a lot of introspection, I think I have an answer, or at least some answers, to achieving real and lasting confidence.

1. Be honest about yourself

Confidence doesn’t mean thinking you’re the best at everything. It’s important to be aware of areas in which you can grow. There will be some things in which you may never excel. Be willing to challenge yourself, but still accept who you are today. Also, a willingness to not be the best at everything allows you to find joy instead of jealousy in other people’s success. Feelings of inadequacy will leave as you become truly confident. You will realize one persons achievements are not a threat to your own.

The sibling of vanity is self deprecation. Humility has often been misinterpreted as putting one’s self down. Lets say you are a gifted artist. You have years of training and have had many pieces featured at notable art galleries. If someone says, “Wow, you’re a really talented painter,” the “humble” response is to say, “No, I’m really not.” But guess what? That’s not humility. You’re just lying. Saying, “Thank you! I really put in a lot of practice, and I’m pleased with my work,” is not bragging. It’s honest. Humility is about being able to still learn, accept criticism, and not boast of your strengths.

The opposite of both vanity is self deprecation is a loss of self. In The Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis wrote,

“[T]housands of humans have been brought to think that humility means pretty women trying to believe they are ugly and clever men trying to believe they are fools. And since what they are trying to believe may, in some cases, be manifest nonsense, they cannot succeed in believing it and we have the chance of keeping their minds endlessly revolving on themselves in an effort to achieve the impossible.

[God] wants him, in the end, to be so free from any bias in his own favour that he can rejoice in his own talents as frankly and gratefully as in his neighbour’s talents – or in a sunrise, an elephant, or a waterfall. He wants each man, in the long run, to be able to recognise all creatures (even himself) as glorious and excellent things. He wants to kill their animal self-love as soon as possible; but it is His long-term policy…to restore to them a new kind of self-love – a charity and gratitude for all selves, including their own; when they have really learned to love their neighbours as themselves, they will be allowed to love themselves as their neighbours…

His whole effort, therefore, will be to get the man’s mind off the subject of his own value altogether. He would rather the man thought himself a great architect or a great poet and then forgot about it, than that he should spend much time and pains trying to think himself a bad one.”

2. Don’t avoid failure or rejection

Confidence does not come to the person who hears an endless barrage of yes’s in their life, but rather the person who knows they can weather the no’s. Avoiding difficult situations cannot build your confidence. While it may seem scary to put your self in places you may not succeed, you will learn infinitely more about yourself than if you never try at all.

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.” – J.K. Rowling

3. Maintain your spiritual health

Much of my confidence is rooted in the fact that I have a good relationship with my Heavenly Father. People often ask the question, “If you were to meet God tomorrow, what would you do differently?”

Honestly? Nothing.

Don’t get me wrong. I do not think that I’m perfect by any stretch of the imagination. But God knows where I am. He knows my weaknesses, as do I. I constantly turn to Him to seek help in overcoming my own shortcomings. Daily honest prayer has helped me get to a place of introspection within myself, and honesty with the divine.

When you are right before God, you find a peace that gives you confidence in all your doings.

4. Stop associating your appearance with your value

I love all the body positive push that is happening right now, but here’s the thing; it’s only a step. In the end, you have to move to not thinking about your looks. At the end of the day, they really contribute absolutely nothing to who you are as a person.

Now, I’m sure part of whoever is reading this may be thinking, “Easy for you to say. You’re 6 feet tall and beautiful.” Yes, I am. But my life has not been free of body issues. I had an eating disorder for years, and even before that I had issues living within my own skin.

When I was a child, all I ever heard was, “She’s so beautiful!” I can hear you through that computer screen saying, “Oh, how difficult for you.” But I hated it. Nine year-old me didn’t understand why it was a compliment or even something to be commented upon. I wanted to be the smartest or the fastest. Something that reflected what I had achieved. As I got older, I began to feel like if I didn’t maintain a certain standard of attractiveness, I would loose value. After all, that is all anyone seemed to care about.

As I’ve worked through my own problems, I found the answer was not to take a selfie with #IAmBeautiful (not to knock a good selfie), but rather just stop focusing on my appearance. Now, this isn’t to say I never wear makeup or exercise, but I simply refuse to let what I look like be the dominating thought in my mind. As it should not be in yours either.

I have two quotes for you on my personal philosophy on how to heal the way we think about out appearance.

“We need to raise girls to see bodies as tools for mastering our environment.”

“If you’re using half your concentration to look normal, then you’re only half paying attention to whatever else you’re doing. You want society to accept you, but you can’t even accept yourself.”

I don’t know if you’re beautiful, so I’m not going to tell you you are. But I will tell you that it 100% does not matter if you look like a Italian model or a dumpy babushka. You are remarkable, and that is of infinite more value.

Bonus points to whoever guesses where the quotes are from.

5. Befriend vulnerability

This may be a terrifying though to some people, but frequents acts of venerability can often teach us about compassion and honesty.

I live a life where most of the world knows most of my business. Now I’m not saying you all need to start a blog where you write about the personal details of your life, but there is something cleansing about not living behind a false facade. People are not perfect, although we would like to maintain that appearance to others.

President Deiter F. Uchtdorf taught, “The Savior was understanding and compassionate with sinners whose hearts were humble and sincere. But He rose up in righteous anger against hypocrites like the scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees—those who tried to appear righteous in order to win the praise, influence, and wealth of the world, all the while oppressing the people they should have been blessing. The Savior compared them to ‘whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.’”

There is no need for us to fear venerability, fear others knowing that we are not perfect. Not only will you feel more confidence around others when you live an honest life, they will feel more confident around you. When we are venerable, others feel safe around us. They feel that they are allowed to be honest, too.

6. Buy a pair of killer heels

“Rebecca! Why do you wear such tall shoes? You’re already six feet tall!”

Because when you rock a pair of five inch stilettos and treat the ground like it’s your own personal catwalk, you will feel like you can conquer the world.

And don’t give me any of that, “I can’t pull them off!” YES YOU CAN. “I don’t know how to walk in them!” LEARN.

Ok, this last one is a bit of a joke, obviously. What I said in #4 trumps this. But the serious part of me that says rock those pumps, doesn’t associate it with appearance. There is something about being physically lifted up that seems to lift you up emotionally. Also, last I checked…

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BEYONCE DOESN’T WEAR FLATS.

(Ok she probably does, you know what I mean.)

Real confidence takes time to build. It requires patience with yourself and others. But with genuine confidence comes bravery, a greater capacity to love, and a sense of optimism that will carry you through the challenges of life. It is worth the effort, and I encourage all of you in your efforts to get there.

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Post Policy Change Q&A With A Queer Mormon

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How are you?

It changes a lot. Thank you for asking, though.

What are you going to do about this?

Try and remember how to breathe. Make sure I eat breakfast.

Are you staying in the church?

Yes.

Really? Why?

It’s complicated.

Seriously? Because that’s kind of lame that you are.

Please go away.

Hi, I’d like to share with you this article on why the policy change is totally a good thing!

Please go away.

Oh come on. Just have a little more faith.

Faith is not the issue here. Please go away.

What should I do about this?

Please stop asking me. Please. Stop. I’m still trying to process this and I’m not in a “give advice” place. I’m not trying to be cold or ignore your pain, and know that I love you.

How do you feel about the new policy change?

That is a very long answer, and it is not one I am willing to give. To quote my newest love, Eliza Schuyler from Hamilton, “The world has no right to my heart… they don’t get to know what I said. Let future historians decide how [Rebecca] reacted when you broke her heart.” I know I’ve spoken on pretty much all personal aspects of my life in a very public manner, but there are some things that will stay mine.

Acceptable topics of discussion with me over the following weeks:

  • Your favorite crock pot recipes
  • The weird thing that was seen flying over the coast of California
  • The significance of Hamilton’s musical and casting choices
  • Recent filming spoilers from Once Upon A Time
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda’s appearance on Jimmy Fallon
  • Adele
  • The Potato Challenge I’m working on at The Mars Generation
  • My brother making Nationals
  • The validity of the Jar Jar Binks theory
  • What song the Hamilton cast should perform at the Tony’s

Book Club: Bel Canto Review

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Life is an odd thing. Primarily because we have to experience it with others. Being constantly surrounded by other people who can make choices that you have no say in, yet somehow affect you is profoundly frustrating and exhilarating. It is what makes this whole experience of humanity so unique.

Reading Bel Canto, I couldn’t help but constantly be reminded of this. As far as the plot goes, it’s fairly straight forward; a terrorist organization has taken a group of foreign nationals hostage and are wildly unprepared for the crisis that unfolds. But Ann Patchett’s dedication to the little things are what struck me.

What if Mr. Hosokawa’s daughter had never found that CD?

What if the President hadn’t prioritized his soap opera over attending the party?

What if Gen had been unavailable to fly to South America?

The characters all make small decisions throughout the book that makes both them and the situation feel profoundly real. After all isn’t that how life is? The million mundane decisions that make up our day-to-day lives, leading us to the climaxes we never knew we were heading toward.

This book is lovely reading, but more than that, it is a reminder of free will, and how the tiny choices in our lifes define us as much as the large ones. And, in the end, while we may make our own choices, we cannot decide the consequences that accompany them.

Book Club: The Martian Review

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“It’s like MacGyver….on Mars!”

“It’s like The Hatchet… on Mars!”

“It’s like Castaway…ON MARS!”

In my attempts to get other people to read The Martian over the past few weeks, these tend to be my statements- some standard reference followed up with “on Mars!” Because the world should know by now that I’m a sucker for anything involving space.

Rather than giving you a slightly more detailed summary for those who didn’t read the book, I’ll share the trailer for the upcoming film adaptation.

Can you say, “amazing cast?” Jessica Chastain has won my heart and should be in all space related moves.

Back to the book…

Even though it could have gone a dark route and indeed been much more like Castaway in dealing with the struggles of human isolation, Andy Weir took this book in a comical direction. Mark Watney, played by Matt Damon, is nothing like the actor’s Interstellar counterpart. He takes isolation and the stress of survival in stride. While never happy about being abandoned on the Red Planet, he deals with his difficulties by cracking jokes. Thus, you as a reader will find the monotony of several hundred days stuck millions of miles from earth drastically less tedious than our intrepid hero. Well, that and you also get to read about what’s going on at NASA and with the rest of his crew. It’s not all red dirt.

One of my favorite parts of this book was how well it was thought out. There is a “why” to nearly everything that happens, as opposed to simply happening for the sake of plot. For example, why does Mark react to his personal wasteland experience with humor? Why does he know how to grow food? How can he fix all this junk in space? The answers to these are all the reasons he was selected for this mission to Mars. His personality was deemed needed for crew morale by the psychologists at NASA. He, and every other team member, had multiple areas of study, so as to increase the amount of work accomplished by fewer people. I never felt like I read something and thought, “How convenient.” Weir took the time to make this universe seem real to me.

While I find that to be a strength, I will admit it may be a weakness for others. Warning: This book is very technical. It’s filled with a ton of science talk and he will spend pages talking to you about things like the chemical approach of converting rocket fuel into water. While some may enjoy this because, one, that’s insanely cool, and two, they appreciate the dedication to accuracy, there may be others who could find those parts a little dry and hard to get through. Mark is a wonderful narrator of his story, but at the end of the day, if you don’t care about the process of creating farmable soil, you might just want to wait for the movie.

It should be noted that one of my favorite things about this book was how effortlessly diverse its characters were. Weir fills his story with women and people of color who are given real roles. Instead of saying, “Why should I have to make this character Indian or Hispanic?” or, “Why does there have to be so many women?” there just are. Why on earth (or Mars) shouldn’t there be more types of people? The answer is it’s 2015 and this should be how we build our universes.

This story was killed with suspense, humor, raw human emotion, and hope. Not just in one man’s ability to survive, but in humanity’s ability to care about the life of another. While we are constantly surrounded by the stories of a post apocalyptic future, I much prefer the one presented by Weir. It felt like a future that is not only in reach, but also one that I want to live in.

Reminder: Rebecca’s Book Club’s next read, two weeks from today, will be Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. Go check it out before then!

Welcome to Rebecca’s Book Club!

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Last week I spent my days with my family down at Duck, North Carolina. And of course, no vacation would be complete without some beach reading. As I sat there with sand in my toes, I was also contemplating how to better interact with all of you, as opposed to just writing.

Then it hit me. Book Club.

Every other Wednesday I will post a review of a book I recently read, but more than that, I’d love to get discussions going. Tell everyone what your favorite parts were, recommend similar books, and request other books for me to cover.

I picked 5 books to start off, but going forward I’d like to start a poll here and my other social media outlets for what to cover next. I’ll still be writing my regular articles, but I thought this might be a fun addition for all of you.

Below, you’ll find the first five books.

The Martian, Andy Weirbook-review-the-martian

MacGyver in space. Really. It’s about a guy who gets stranded while on a mission to Mars, and he has to figure out how to survive on the Red Planet and how to get back in contact with NASA. It should come as no surprise I picked a book about space exploration to start this off.


Bel Canto, Ann Patchett5826

While I was doing a marathon thrift store session with my cousin’s husband and daughter last week, he pulled this book off one of the many discount bookshelves and assured me I’d like it. I added it to my haul of a coat, comforter, and several vinyl records. According to the back, it appears to be a political thriller set in South America. He’s writer and a critic, and his recommendations are very good, so I will read it and hopefully you will all like it.


The God Who Weeps, Terryl and Fiona Gibbons81902b3b946f5847fc86cae93e220ea2

I recently attended a meeting where these two spoke, and I have to say, I was deeply moved with their take on my own religion. I look forward to reading this book about God’s compassion for humankind, and will probably read their other published works as well.


The Secret History of Wonder Woman, Jill Leporelepore_wonder_woman_cover

Wonder Woman is one of my all-time favorite icons. Also, a lot of my friends refer to Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 12.50.06 PMme as such, so when I saw this on the shelf, it was an obvious purchase. This book doesn’t go into the secret identity, but the secret history of the longest standing female superhero and her link in the struggle for women’s rights.


No Future Without Forgiveness, Desmond Tutu41tVeD6-EML

This is not light reading. While not long, this book goes into the horrors of the South African apartheid, and how they worked, and are still working to heal the gaping wound that it caused within the country. It is compassionate, inspiring, and honest. The author, Desmond Tutu, is an emeritus Anglican Archbishop and Nobel Laureate who headed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

I look forward to seeing you all next Wednesday!

Update: I’ve recently taken on some extra work, so they may not be as regular as initial intended, as this is simply not my highest priority right now.  

As A Liberal, I Need Conservatives: Rejecting Political Homogeny In The Church

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I was walking through Barnes & Nobel the other day and saw a book titled, “Adios, America: The Left’s Plan to Turn Our Country into a Third World Hellhole.” My first reaction was sadness. Sadness that book titles have now somehow been reduced to clickbait article headlines.

But then, as I stared at Ann Coulter’s face, I started thinking to myself, Does this women genuinely believe that I am attempting to destroy America? That I wake up and hit the floor with my first thought being, “What can I do to make my country worse?” After all, the word “plan” in the title implies that I have some sort of “Ruin America” checklist….

See! Look. I have more in common with the Socialist party than Republicans. I mean it when I say I'm a liberal.
See! Look. I have more in common with the Socialist party than Republicans. I mean it when I say I’m a liberal.

Yes, I am a liberal. While in the American system I’m an Independent, since I won’t register for either party, my political leanings are very left. I’ve said it before, but people have a hard time swallowing this. And by people, I mean the very conservative indivduals I associate with. After all, as Ms. Coulter once said, “If Democrats Had Any Brains, They’d Be Republicans.” (She really can come up with book titles…) Most of these people don’t think I’m an idiot, so I must not be that liberal. As a culture we have come to assume that a person who is intelligent will think the same as we do. After all, only an idiot would think something else.

Liberals are painted to be devil worshiping-bleeding heart-lesbians by the right, but I am aware that conservatives are seen as gun toting-sexist-greedy-one percenters. As much as I disagree with them on pretty much everything, I do not believe they all fit this picture. I don’t see them as stupid. I don’t even think they are wrong.

“Wait! But you said you disagree with them!”

Yes. I do. But I can listen to them and make a genuine effort to understand why they believe what they do. When any of us do this, which requires listening without arguing or trying to change someone’s mind, we can see that those we disagree with are often fully rational people. You have to go into the conversation with no desire to prove someone wrong, but only to connect with another human being’s thought process. It can be difficult, but it’s worth it.

I hang out on Mormon Newsroom a lot. It’s a side effect of having a background in public relations. Well, that and being a Mormon. Earlier in August, Michael Otterson gave an hour long talk on current issues the public affairs department is working with right now. At one point he discussed common questions he heard, such as, “Can a member be a Democrat and a good Mormon?” His response was,

“That one makes me smile, because if the members who ask it could travel to some countries of the world and meet faithful members of the Church who belong to their national communist parties I fear their blood pressure might be permanently damaged.”

Why is that? Why would our blood pressure be damaged? How is it that we are so incapable of understanding that people can come to different conclusions about the world we live in, but still be good, intelligent, and well rounded?

Within the church, perhaps it’s because we are used to the notion of absolute truth. However there is no current political or economic system in which that can be found. So, reject the idea that you must belong to only one ideology to be a member in good standing.

But this concept that the other side of the aisle are fools for thinking unlike us is not one that is unique to Mormons, as pointed out earlier. Between sensationalized news and polarizing elections, most of America has come to view those with political differences as the enemies to all that is good and right. We are not a team that bring different views to the table to come up with the best solution representing as many constituents as possible, but rather opponents, waging a constant war in which compromise is not a sign of intelligence, but rather weakness.

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#FeelTheBern

I want to tell you a story about a friend of mine. To give you an idea of how far we are apart on the political spectrum, she didn’t like Mitt Romney because he was “too left” while I am sitting here happy that I can finally vote for a candidate that willingly identifies as socialist, (looking at you Bern.) She works for a Pro-Life firm here in D.C. and believes deeply in this cause. I respect her, and what she is trying to do. I don’t think she hates choice; I think she is an incredibly compassionate person who feels it his her moral obligation to give her voice to the voiceless. She isn’t trying to set women back 100 years; she is trying to stop what she sees as a horribly violent act.

I’m Pro-Choice, but I don’t think she looks at me as if I’m desperately trying to encourage infanticide. Probably because I’m not. I believe that making abortions illegal is an ineffective way to go about stopping unwanted pregnancies. Also, between rape, incest, and medical issues, there are plenty of times in which I could see supporting that decision, and therefore it needs to be kept as an accessible medical option. And even when I wouldn’t “support” abortion, I still remember what Frederica Matthews-Green once said,

“No woman wants an abortion like she wants an ice cream cone or a Porsche. She wants an abortion like an animal caught in a trap wants to gnaw off its own leg.”

This isn’t intended to be an abortion debate, so please don’t email me about this. I’m not looking to argue, simply to say that this, like so many social, economic, and international political issues, has multiple sides that can be reached by fully functional individuals.

Any desire for America to reach only one political party, or to paint one side as being always in the wrong, is ridiculous, and frankly, to quote everyone’s favorite overused declaration, “not what the founding fathers intended!” We need each other. We are each other’s checks and balances. No one party has all the right ideas. The other side is going to be right. A lot. In fact, we may even be right at the same time. We may be wrong at the same time. But the point is, mature people should be able to sit down with others and acknowledge what they have to offer, and see how that can compliment what they have.

Perhaps asking America to put aside political differences is a bit much. I hope not. However, it certainly isn’t too much to remind people within the church that a variety of political opinions are perfectly ok, and in fact, good. It brings greater diversity of thought into our meeting houses and enriches all who have the privilege of existing in that kind of environment. It allows our opinions to grow and change as we seek to see the world through the eyes of another.

We are all children of God, and none of us are identical. He did that on purpose. Do not try and limit His creations by forcing them into sameness.

The Good, the Bad, and the Extremely Attractive: The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Review

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I grew up on a steady diet of classic film and television. I think my mother preferred Gilligan’s Island to SpongeBob, so TV Land was on as much as anything at our house. While the original U.N.C.L.E. series was not a staple of our home, my father was certainly inclined to the 60’s spy genre, and both parents had an affinity for Cold War films, sparked no doubt by their military contracts in the 1980’s. Then again, who doesn’t love a good USA vs. USSR movie?

Walking in to the theatre, I brought somewhat high expectations, but also a certain nostalgia factor.

Set in the early 60’s, the film starts with establishing the not overly complicated plot of an evil organization, with former Nazi ties, has built a nuclear bomb to sell to the highest bidder. This emergency situation calls for America and Russia to put a pause on the whole Cold War thing and send in their best two agents to handle the situation.

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See what I mean?! Its Matt Bomer + 007.

The American, Napoleon Solo, is played by the ever dapper Henry Cavill. He has been essentially blackmailed into the CIA after being arrested for art theft. Ever the American way, the government decided to release him from prison and use his set of skills to their advantage. Imaging if someone combined James Bond with Neal Caffery from White Collar. While I would not call him a particularly three dimensional character, I don’t think that was the point. Cavill nails the ultra-suave spy type to a tee. I found myself even impressed by his speech patterns.

From behind the Iron Curtain comes Armie Hammer as Illya Kuryakin, a giant, yet refined looking, KGB agent. He is quickly established as terrifyingly strong, chasing after a car in the opening sequence, and ripping the trunk lid off after attempting to stop said car by shear brute force. Solo first refers to Kuryakin as an “it.” Many have already noted that Hammer’s Russian accent is nothing to write home about, but it didn’t bother me. His dry humor and likability brought the character to life in a very pleasant way.

This movie is filled with cliches. There is no other way around it. But the fact is, it does all of them very well. The two unlikely partners argue all the time, but still manage to be an excellent team. There are “surprise” double crosses, crazy Nazis, car chases, and spy gadgets. But it works because that’s exactly what they were trying to do. The entire movie is a very stylized homage to the genre of spy thriller, and what it may lack in originality, it makes up for in pure entertainment.

The one major deviant from its 60’s counterparts would be the leading female charater, Gabby Teller. Alicia Vikander’s character was a pleasant skew from the lackluster women that were so often only written to be rescued by the hero. To be fair, she does get rescued, but all three of the leads need rescuing at one point or another, so I took no issue. She was smart, independent, and easily went toe to to with the two leading men. In fact, she went toe to to with just about everyone in this film. Her unique skills are found in cars, both as a mechanic and rather impressive driver. This is of course in addition to a variety of other spy related things I won’t list in an effort to not give too much away.

The film was beautiful to watch. It was colorful, sleek, and stylish. The cast and cinematography were really quite pleasant to look at, and I know if they ever make another, I will be more than happy to go see it.

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The Man From U.N.C.L.E. didn’t try something new, they worked to make the best of the classic formula. Some may call that playing it safe, but regardless, I had fun. And isn’t that what going to the movies is about?

Overall Rating: B

See the trailer here: