Monday, May 24, 2010
And so, goodbye to "Lost"
Have you ever read a really good book in which the characters were so vividly drawn that they became real to you--to the point that you were sorry to come to the final page and close the book?
That's exactly how I feel about "Lost." Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Hurley, Jin, Sun, Charlie, Claire, Juliet, Ben, Sayid, John--even the recurring characters like Rose and Bernard--became real during the years that I watched "Lost." I've never been sadder to see a TV show end.
So what do I think of the finale? (Warning: spoilers if you haven't seen it yet!)
In a previous post, I talked about how Hurley has always been one of my very favorite characters on the show. You'll notice I said "one of."
My favorite character on "Lost," bar none, has always been Jack.
So, while I was sad to see Jack die in the "real" timeline, his eye closing at the end, with Vincent the dog at his side, had a symmetry and "rightness" to it.
We realized ultimately that the show was really about Jack. He is the only character who impacted all the other characters in some way. It was all about his journey from being a closed-minded skeptic to one who could take the leap of faith to believe in something supernatural.
It was also about his going from an unhappy loner to someone who realized that we all need the love, support and community of other people in our lives.
(Note: I also have to say that Matthew Fox proved to be an incredible actor in the role of Jack, perhaps especially this season. He brought Jack to life in a stunning way, and I would hope he gets some recognition for it.)
The end--not scriptural, but spiritual
The final scene in the church, with the Losties (most of them) reunited and ready to take the next step to an afterlife, was obviously not theologically correct as I as a Christian believe it. The Scriptures teach that we can all be redeemed, no matter how great our sins, if we put our faith and trust in Christ.
However, I've never expected "Lost" to be scripturally correct. It's a science fiction television show.
There are themes, though, that certainly resonated with me as a Christian. There IS good and evil, and the two forces ARE involved in an age-old struggle.
Also, the scene in the church, with long-lost friends reuniting, couldn't help but make me think of what heaven will be like. As I watched, I even thought of loved ones who I haven't seen in years, and how joyful it will be to reunite with them.
I also thought of the final scenes of C.S. Lewis' "The Last Battle," where most of the beloved characters of the Chronicles of Narnia are ultimately reunited as they leave the "Shadowlands" behind and move together onward and upward in what is obviously a symbol of heaven.
The island was real
Some bloggers, reviewers and forum commenters are trying to say that the island wasn't real or that everyone died in the original crash of Ocean 815.
They are wrong.
Jack's dad, Christian, in his explanatory talk with Jack at the end, makes it clear that the island and all that happened on it WERE real and DID really happen.
What WASN'T real was the sideways timeline, which was a way station that the Losties had somehow subconsiously created as a place to meet up before they stepped into the afterlife. (Again, folks, this is FICTION. No one's asking you to accept this as theology.)
What I'm bummed about:
Despite the symmetry, I'm sad that Jack died. Just as Kate and Jack had professed their love for each other and sealed it with a whale of a kiss, we realize that they never got to be together in life. (Which is why it makes sense that Kate, on seeing Jack after the concert, said, "I've missed you so much....")
Yes, I was a "Jater" all along, and thought that those two were meant for each other.
Actually, I guess the main thing I'm bummed about is that the Losties didn't get to be together in life off the island. As my sister told me, "I wanted them to LIVE happily ever after, not DIE happily ever after!"
(Although, who knows? It looks as if Lapidus, Miles, Sawyer, Kate, Claire and Alpert DID make it off the island in "real" life...so who knows, maybe they did hang out together? :))
As for not getting all the answers to all the mysteries? That really doesn't bother me. "Lost" was always about mystery. Let it retain some of them, even as the show ends.
And so it ends...
And so ends my favorite television show ever. I don't know if there will ever be another one that captures my interest and imagination the way this one has.
Friday, May 21, 2010
Good-bye to "Lost." But just as sad: Good-bye to Hurley
This weekend, I will say good-bye to probably my favorite television show of all time. I know, you non-Lost fans are clueless as to the appeal of this show, but those of you who are also fans totally "get" my regret at seeing it end.
Watching "Lost" was one of those little joys of life. Well-written, well-acted, with characters you came to know and care about, and intriguing mysteries that you could only speculate about, the show has been different from just about anything else on TV.
Now that it's coming to an end, I'm sad not just at saying good-bye to the show, but at saying good-bye to one of my favorite charactes: Hugo Reyes, also known as "Hurley."
In a 2007 post about my favorite TV characters of all time, I wrote:
Jorge Garcia as Hurley--Hurley is absolutely vital to the show. For a while, I was watching "24" fairly regularly, and it's excellent--but there is almost no comic relief, if any. The intensity blasts you nonstop. But the great thing about "Lost" is that just when everything gets a little too spooky, scary or strange, there's Hurley saying, "Dude..." and bringing everything back down to earth. I totally love Hurley.
Posting about Hurley ended up affording me a nice little brush with fame: actor Jorge Garcia actually read a post of mine and commented on it!
Jorge comments on my blog!
It was an erroneous comment in this post that attracted Jorge's attention. I cited a bit of trivia that claimed Hurley had initially read for the part of Sawyer.
Someone named Jorge Garcia commented:
"To say I auditioned for the part of Sawyer is not quite accurate. I knew when I went to the audition that I wasn't up for that particular part. They just wanted to see me do something and that's the material they had."
My rather starstruck post the next day was titled "Whaaaa....did Hurley just comment on my blog?"
Clicking on Jorge's name in his comment took me to Dispatches from the Island...a well-written,engaging, humorous blog that pretty much leaves no doubt that it's written by the real Jorge Garcia.
To confirm that, Jorge commented on my blog yet again:
"That was cute. I'm printing this page up to add it to my scrapbook. (Well to send to my sister who scrapbooks my stuff for me.)
I found your post because it came up on my google alert. (It's a trick Dom had taught me)
And yes it really is me."
So somewhere, in Jorge Garcia's own scrapbook, is my blog post. How cool is that?
In this article inVariety, Jorge reflects on his years on "Lost." It's a good read.
I will definitely miss "Lost." And I'll miss Jorge Garcia as Hurley...but I have a feeling that I may like him in any role, so I'll look forward to seeing what he does next as an actor.
And so ends five years of blogging about "Lost" (I didn't start watching the show till the end of the first season, catching up on DVD.)
It was a great ride!
Who was your favorite character on "Lost"? Let me know in my comments section.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Some wonderful books you may want to read
A round-up of some of my book reviews and author interviews
OK, I'm a reading addict. I think that fact has been properly established.
In the nearly seven years that I've been keeping this blog, I have blogged about MANY books...most of them Christian fiction books but with a smattering of nonfiction thrown in as well.
In keeping with my desire to NOT let this blog die on the vine, I decided to round up some of my book reviews for those of you who might want to check out some quality reading that will not only entertain you, but reinforce your faith and values.
Note: Some of these post contain audio links that are unfortunately no longer available.
Here they are, in no particular order:
Third Time's a Charm, by Virginia Smith
North! Or Be Eaten, by Andrew Peterson
Breathe, by Lisa T. Bergren
Daisy Chain, by Mary DeMuth
Rachel's Secret, by B. J. Hoff
Dark Pursuit, by Brandilyn Collins
Bon Appetit, by Sandra Byrd
With Endless Sight, by Allison Pittman, and Shadows at the Window, by Linda Hall
Auralia's Colors, by Jeffrey Overstreet
Deception, by Randy Alcorn
Return to Me, by Robin Lee Hatcher
Remember to Forget, by Deborah Raney
Embrace Me, by Lisa Samson
A Mending at the Edge, by Jane Kirkpatrick
Whence Came a Prince, by Liz Curtis Higgs
Valentine Promises, by Leann Weiss
A Year of Blind Dates, by Megan Carson
Scars and Stilettos, by Harmony Dust
The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment, by Tim Challies
Do I Know God, by Tullian Tchividjian
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Check out some of my interviews...
Here are some links to interviews/excerpts/mini-interviews I've done in the past few years that you might want to take a listen to. They've been featured before on my blog, but maybe you just haven't had a chance to check them out.
--Scott MacIntyre of American Idol: Part One and Part Two
--LeeAnn Weiss, author of Valentine Promises: Heartfelt Reminders of True Love
--Christian novelist Virginia Smith
--Guideposts editor Edward Grinnan
--Megan Carson, author of A Year of Blind Dates
--Brooke Elliott, star of Drop Dead Divs
--Singer/songwriter/author Andrew Peterson
Friday, May 07, 2010
A Tribute to My Mother
My mother's name is Cynthia, and I am honored and privileged to have been given her name. I doubt if I will ever be able to live up to it, but I will never stop trying.
I wrote this tribute to my mother for Mother's Day 2003. Since then, my dad has passed away, but the essence of tribute remains the same. Both my mom and I are seven years older than when I wrote this, but she is as beautiful as ever! --Cindy
The time: the early 60's. The place: Hobbs, New Mexico. The young woman is getting out of the car, all dressed up to play the piano for a wedding, or a funeral, or some such occasion. I can still see her in my memory: radiantly lovely, wearing a hat and red lipstick.
She is my mother, and although she has always been there in my memory, this is the first clear memory I have of actually looking at her and realizing: This is my mother, and she is beautiful.
My mom as a little girl
Words usually come easily for me...they tumble out of my mind, onto my keyboard with fairly effortless alacrity. But now, as I try to frame the words to paint a portrait of all my mother is to me, I find myself strangely tongue-tied. What words are there to describe someone who is so all-encompassing...so incredibly necessary to my life? Someone who has embodied love, support and nurturing since before I was born, and for all these forty-plus years since?
My mom is in her early 20's here--I'm the baby in the pic
I'll try to describe her. Nearing seventy years old, she's still beautiful. She has sparkling green eyes; a lovely full, expressive mouth...a dazzling smile. The years have been kind to her, and she is a prime example of how decades of righteous living can influence a woman's face...years free of harmful substances and immoral living. Years dedicated to God's service and unselfish love for her husband and children. She has the sort of radiant, luminous, from-the-inside beauty that defies age.
Our family in Jerusalem, circa 1966
My mother was not born into the best of situations. Although her parents loved her in their way, she wasn't raised in a Christian home, and she saw and experienced some of the uglier aspects of human nature while still very young.
From these circumstances, while still a young teenager, she became a wife, and a mother to my older sister. It was as if she was born to that role. Even her mother-in-law marveled at how this teen-aged girl immediately became a great mom.
My mother has always liked hot baths...really, really hot baths. There's a story behind that, too. Mother says that when she was a little girl, she realized that she was probably going to hell when she died. No one had told her how she could avoid hell, so she decided she would try to prepare herself for it. She got used to taking baths as hot as she could possibly stand them.
Fortunately, my mother did find out how she could look forward to a home in heaven. As a young mom, she and her mother were invited to a revival meeting at the independent Baptist church in their small west Texas town. Both of them ended up accepting Christ as their Saviour at that meeting, and life would never be the same for either of them.
A life of service to God
Somewhere during the same period of time, my father also became a Christian, and as a very young married couple my parents began serving the Lord. The journey eventually took them to Bible college in Missouri, pastorates in four states, and even twice to the mission field.
My mother has so many character traits I admire and wish to emulate, usually with less success than I would like.
She is an unselfish person, with a real servant's heart. She is never happier than when doing things to make the people she loves happy. The words "nurturing" and "giving" characterize the unstinting love she freely gives to her family.
She is a disciplined and industrious person; she eats healthily and in moderation, retaining a girlish figure that would put women half her age to shame, and as my father has often pointed out with a certain pride, she never goes to bed with dirty dishes in the sink.
A Greek heritage
I've often thought this disciplined side of my mom comes from her Greek heritage. Her father was full-blooded Greek, and his family originated in Sparta, the part of Greece known for people with a history of military toughness, endurance and self-denial. (I sometimes think that gene totally escaped me.) :)
But this is only one side of my mother. She is really fun to be around. She has a quirky sense of humor, a ready laugh and a gorgeous smile. One of my cherished images of my mom is of her singing as she flits around the house, doing chores (I told you she is industrious and always busy).
My mom with her little dog, Dixie. My mom loves animals and always has
One of the first words that comes to mind when I think of my mother is ladylike. She is, in some ways, like a Southern belle...decorous and discreet. But if so, she is also like the title of that popular movie of several years back, a "steel magnolia."
There is backbone to this Texas belle, and woe be to the person who wrongs her children! I have never known anyone like my mother to be able to tell a person off--in the most ladylike and genteel way--but leaving no doubt that you have been told off. She is not to be messed with, when it comes to those she loves.
The closest I've ever seen to this is the Dixie Carter character on "Designing Women." I've often chuckled while watching Julia Sugarbaker give someone a dressing-down on that show...I can't help but think of my normally soft-spoken mom. But mind you, she would only do this to someone who truly deserved it.
A virtuous woman
My mother's walk with the Lord is also something I want to emulate. She is a real prayer warrior. I have so many memories of hearing her pray, and there have been times I have literally seemed to feel her prayers for me when I've been in dangerous or difficult situations. Call me mystical, but there is just something about a mother's prayers!
My mother has endured many trials in her life, and sometimes, I admit, I've questioned why this wonderful woman should be inflicted with so many circumstances that to me seem unfair and unjustified. But these trials have not broken her. Instead, she seems to grow stronger and more lovely with time.
Now, she's going through one of the saddest trials, as my father faces terminal illness. My heart goes out to her, and I feel helpless as I want to be the kind of comfort and support she has always been for me. [Note: My dad passed a little over a year after this was written--Cindy]
An inadequate tribute
I have done such an inadequate job of painting this picture of my mother. I want to convey the beauty, the kindness, the strength, the warmth of this remarkable lady, and I can't seem to find the right words to really do it.
I guess for me, it all comes down to one thing: thanking God for this wonderful mother. My heart really does burst with gratitude. To have a person that you know will always love you, no matter what...that's worth more than my pathetic words could ever express.
My mother's name is Cynthia, and I am honored and privileged to have been given her name. I doubt if I will ever be able to live up to it, but I will never stop trying.
Lots of years have passed since my childish eyes watched that beautiful young woman get out of the car. But those years have only increased her beauty, as well as my love and appreciation for all she means to me.
I love you, Mother! Thank you for everything!
Monday, May 03, 2010
She Broadcasts Beauty: Part 2 of my interview with Emily Eddington
"I've gotten emails that have brought me to tears. From the teenager who said her mother was fighting cancer and they used my videos as an escape-- to the overworked mom who said a new makeup look she tried brought about the first compliment from her husband in years.... this is big stuff."-Emily Eddington, Beauty Broadcast
26-year-old Emily Eddington is a TV news anchorwoman in southern Illinois, but her YouTube beauty tutorials may be what really brings her fame! She recently marked the 50-thousandth subscriber to her Beauty Broadcast YouTube channel, and her Facebook page and blog draw thousands too.
In Part 1 of my interview with Emily, we talked about how she became so interested in cosmetics, and her philosophy of beauty--there's a real connection between looking good and feeling good.
Here's Part 2...
CINDY: One thing people love about Beauty Broadcast is that you usually feature very affordable make-up. I know it's trial and error, but do you find the less expensive products are sometimes just as good as the really expensive ones?
EMILY: Absolutely! When I first started watching YouTube videos, I didn't see a lot of people offering budget-friendly advice. That was a void I felt I could fill by posting reviews about all the great inexpensive products I had tried. Sure- that $35 prestigious foundation from the department store might be great- but what's the fun in discovering that? I am practically addicted to the act of going into a drugstore, finding products, trying them out, and reporting on an unexpectedly AWESOME piece of makeup. I love seeing others get excited about the affordable options I recommend. Still, I do like to try out high end items here and there to have a frame of reference for how the cheaper things stack up.
CINDY: Have you always been a bargain hunter?
EMILY: I think so. When mom saw my interest in makeup steadily grow throughout high school, I don't think she would've wanted to get me near a department store makeup counter! She tolerated my interest in makeup, but considering that she was funding this obsession- she wasn't going to let it leave the walls of the drugstore. I was always happy spending a good half hour in the aisles of Wal-Mart, picking out a new item or two every now and then. It was basically all I knew-- my mom always wore drugstore makeup brands and looked great... so why couldn't I?
CINDY: You have thousands of subscribers. How do you feel about having such a huge audience? Any feedback that surprised you, touched you, or otherwise sticks out in your mind?
EMILY: I really can't fathom the amount of people that view my videos. To think that more than 50,000 people have clicked the "Subscribe" button after seeing me sitting in my small extra bedroom rambling about the latest must-have eyeshadow primer is beyond me! YouTube's format is such that feedback can be posted alongside every video. And in the somewhat anonymous world of the internet where an abstract username is your only source of identification- people are very free with their opinions! I'm fortunate to say that the support has been overwhelming. I've gotten emails that have brought me to tears. From the teenager who said her mother was fighting cancer and they used my videos as an escape-- to the overworked mom who said a new makeup look she tried brought about the first compliment from her husband in years.... this is big stuff. It makes any hesitation or fear of a large audience less of a factor, because I know the videos are making a difference.
CINDY: What would you say to encourage someone who has never really used make-up, but wants to learn how?
EMILY: It's never too late to learn, and your routine can be as easy or as complicated as you want it to be. I'm not a big "makeup rules" person. You will probably never see me make a "makeup do's and don'ts" video, because we all have different methods and preferences- and like art- I don't believe there's any one right way to get it done. I like providing suggestions that have worked for me, but I hope people understand that it's not the only way. In this day and age- there are SO many ways to learn about makeup. Books, magazines, online forums, videos, blogs... they offer so much instruction. Start drawing inspiration from the people and the world around you. Start small, practice, and use the beauty resources that are available to you. You'll be glad you did!
CINDY: How do you envision the future of Beauty Broadcast? (I could see you becoming your own brand, even writing a book!)
EMILY: I would love to expand Beauty Broadcast! Right now my full-time career (anchoring morning news) accounts for a lot of my time, but I would love to one day take what I do in videos- and do it in person. Perhaps some sort of seminar where I could meet the people that have been watching, and really communicate with them face to face. Or what if Beauty Broadcast made it's way to your TV screen? THAT would be awesome :)
Saturday, May 01, 2010
She Broadcasts Beauty: My Interview with Emily Eddington
I'm a firm believer in the connection between looking good and feeling good on the inside. We all naturally seek acceptance and love from others-- and ourselves. If makeup can be a small tool to bring that out- I think that's great.--Emily Eddington
Emily Eddington is a TV newscaster, but her YouTube beauty tutorials may be what brings her fame
When I recently decided to try using velcro rollers in my hair, I did a Google search for video tutorials on the subject. (By the way, in case you didn't know? You can find a video on how to do just about ANYTHING on YouTube.)
One of the videos I happened upon was a YouTube tutorial on using velcro rollers by "emilynoel83."
I was intrigued by this lovely young woman with her straightforward, down-to-earth approach, so I checked out some of her other YouTube videos--most of them explaining make-up techniques, reviewing beauty products, and showing how to use inexpensive make-up to get a great look.
In no time, I was hooked--and I became one of over 50-thousand people who suscribe to Emily Eddington's YouTube channel, Beauty Broadcast.
A TV newscaster with a penchant for beauty
26-year-old Emily Eddington is a morning news anchor for WSIL-TV in southern Illinois. That fact resonates in her articulate, factual but friendly and approachable manner in her tutorials.
It doesn't hurt that she's downright gorgeous, and that her lovely face is the perfect canvas for the many make-up looks she demonstrates.
So far, Emily has parlayed her tutorials into a popular blog and Facebook page, and I'm thinking the sky's the limit for Beauty Broadcast.
How did a relatively small-town newscaster end up with a YouTube channel that boasts 50-thousand subscribers? I was curious, so I asked Emily to take part in an e-mail interview, and she graciously answered my questions.
Here's Part One of our interview:
CINDY: How far back in your life does your interest in make-up, hair, and beauty go?
EMILY: I remember always being somewhat intrigued by my mom's makeup collection, and whatever makeup she was carrying around in her purse. My mom & sister are beautiful ladies- and always seemed to have their hair & makeup looking good (my mom is a former cosmetologist)- so I knew I would one day get involved with makeup as well. I believe that day came in 7th grade when I joined the cheerleading squad and put on some very minor makeup for a game (powder, lip gloss, blush). Magazines like "Teen" and "Seventeen" became my main sources for beauty education, and in high school I reached that phase where I was somewhat of a "collector" of drugstore makeup.
CINDY: Why do you think it's a good thing for a woman to use the tools available to her to try to look her best?
EMILY: I'm a firm believer in the connection between looking good and feeling good on the inside. Makeup is an extremely affordable way to enhance your natural beauty, and put an extra spring in your step. I always hear from viewers who say they tried a particular product I suggested and they got "so many compliments". We all naturally seek acceptance and love from others-- and ourselves. If makeup can be a small tool to bring that out- I think that's great. For those who get especially interested in makeup- it truly does become an art form for expressing your creativity. You don't have to be a professional to have fun with that!
CINDY: Tell me about the evolution of "Beauty Broadcast"...how did your interest in make-up, etc, end up being regular videos on YouTube?
EMILY: Shortly after I began working at the TV station where I currently anchor, I noticed this incredible beauty community on YouTube. I was practically frustrated with myself when I tapped into this vast makeup resource- because it could have been SO useful to me- had I discovered it in college. I remember sitting on the couch one night, randomly looking up some info on a product I wanted to try- and a link to a video came up... about a dozen videos later, I realized- I can do this! I love to talk, and I love makeup... maybe I can contribute to the YouTube world of beauty as well! I consistently started posting videos for a short time, and then work really got busy for me and I took a short hiatus from YouTube. At that point, I didn't think all that many people were watching... so, why bother, right? Well, people were messaging me, saying, "Where did you go? I miss your videos!" At that point I realized- this needs to continue. Well over 300 videos later... I'm still here! :)
CINDY: Do you ever have trouble coming up with ideas for your videos?
EMILY: Thankfully, no. Through emails, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook- subscribers are constantly telling me what they want. With these requests coming from literally *thousands* of different directions- I always have some sort of idea floating around! Plus, new products are always hitting the market, so there's always something for me to review. Makeup offers endless creativity in terms of the looks you can create, so I don't think there's any limit to the types of tutorials I can create.
CINDY: How important to you is the feedback you get from your Beauty Broadcast facebook page?
EMILY: I especially value what people have to say on the Facebook page, because I know these people who are willing to seek me out in numerous forms of social media really care about Beauty Broadcast. A number of times- people on the Facebook page have referred to the group as their "Beauty Broadcast Family". I love that! I get a lot of enjoyment out of seeing people answer each other's questions on the Facebook page. It's like we're all a big bunch of friends on there.
Next time: In Part 2 of our interview, Emily Eddington talks about why it's important to her to show how you can look great on a budget--and what could be in store for Beauty Broadcast in the future
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