1) 3 years of Marriage with Angie : We are having a blast together! I am learning to love her more and more each day. She teaches me how to be a better man, even in the smallest of ways. I’m so proud of her, with her perusing her masters in curriculum, and for getting her own class room at school this year. She is an amazing teacher and friend to her students. We took a few trips this year together, including …
2) Sedona, AZ : Last spring break, we joined Angie’s parents on a trip out west, to show them Red Rock country. This place is one of the most peaceful places I’ve ever been to. You see God and all of his wonder there. I would love to retire out there. We got to hike quite a bit. Take a Jeep tour with our friends, Corey and Chloe Mann. We ate some great food. Saw a Cubs pre-season game. And Angie got to kiss a giraffe on the mouth.
3) Mackinac Island : A new experience for the two of us! I’m not a huge fan of Michigan … mostly because of the Wolverines … Go Irish. But Mackinac Island was a fun getaway for us, right before Angie had to go back to school. It was nice to do something out of the norm and without any cars on the island, we found just that. It was quiet, romantic and the subtle nature of the island allowed us to slowly enjoy the end to summer.
4) Garrett : This technically isn’t our adventure, but Angie and I got to come along with some other friends of ours, the Cloughs. Ryan and Ashley both went to Taylor with me. They had been trying for a few years now to have a child of their own. But life kept them from that. Fortunately, God had a better story for them and provided them a child through a remarkably speedy adoption. They literally got picked to be the parents of Garret Lucas Clough within two weeks of submitting their profile application. You can easily tell they are so happy to be a complete family, and we are so glad to call them friends.
5) India – Part Deux : Back in March, I made my second journey to southern India. Although my first experience was not what I expected it to be, this trip blew my mind with God’s love for His people. The Irula village of Kalavai is now close to being totally self sufficient, after several years of teams from GCC traveling to rebuild suitable housing, create conversational English programming for students, supplying clean water, and helping to develop micro-enterprise businesses for the villagers to take part in. The little village is our family over there and I look forward to taking Angie to India someday. She already is pretty involved with the great work going on with The Rhema Project, which has become an amazing extension of the great ministry work going on in southern India.
Top 5 Movies …
1) Inception : Christopher Nolan continues to impress me on how deep his genius goes! Such an amazing storyteller. I’ll be surprised if he does not win Best Director this year at the Oscars. The special effects and cinematography of this film is what won me over in the end. I have yet to watch the Blu Ray special feature option that shows you how they performed all the stunts and effects, but it’s on my list of to do’s! I look at my own dreams in a whole new manner after seeing this film. The entire cast was brilliant and I well placed within their roles. This is easily a must own if you love great movies.
2) The Town : One of the purest action movies in the past years. I rank this one right up there with Michael Mann’s “HEAT”. Ben Affleck is a star on the rise in regards to his directing ability. Jeremy Renner played a great psychopath. Any film set in the greater Boston area always seem to get my attention. With this being a heist movie, it was a must see on my list for this year.
3) Toy Story 3 : A great ending to a fantastic franchise that both children and adults could watch together. I took my niece and nephew to this and they had a blast. Tom Hanks and Tim Allen are hilarious as always, and the addition of Michael Keaton as the Ken doll was what made this sequel really enjoyable. Pixar set the bar pretty high with this film. With a field of ten entries, this film should be considered for Best Picture at the Oscars this year.
4) Eat, Pray, Love : This was more than a chick flick. I really enjoyed this film about self rediscovery through travel. It made me want to visit Italy as soon as possible. It reminded me how beautiful, and yet tragic, India is. It showed me that God is out there and has a plan for everyone. Even those who have yet to accept Him and know Him personally. Richard Jenkins should be nominated for his role. How this guy keeps getting passed up on awards for his craft baffles me.
5) TRON – Legacy : This movie was everything that Avatar was supposed to be. First … it was good. Second … it was 3D done correctly. Third … Visually beautiful. Yes, Pandora was pretty stunning, but the world of the Grid, paired with the action of the games was straight up awesome. For a sequel that took 28 years to come into fruition, I was thoroughly impressed with first time director, Joseph Kosinski. This whole project was his baby, so his vision and dedication to making a quality product had to be objective #1. A great accomplishment for the franchise and for Disney.
Movies I missed … The Social Network, 127 Hours, The King’s Speech, True Grit, The American
Top 5 TV Shows …
1) LOST – The Final Season : After spending the last several years following the lives of the survivors of Oceanic 815, it was sad to see this adventure / mystery / thriller come to an end. And the way it ended did not disappoint me one bit. I loved how Jack ended up fixing everything after his many attempts, successes and failures in getting all the castaways home. I loved how the show showed how we as humans are all in this great adventure together. We are all connected together, to make it through our days, whether we realize it or not. It tried to prove that Love and Sacrifice for the Greater Good are still driving forces in this world. How can you not get hooked on a show that focuses in on universal truths like these?
2) Sons of Anarchy : This show is perfect for people who loved The Sopranos. It’s another dysfunctional family show that has the perfect blend of drama and action, each and every week. It makes me want a motorcycle and to find a close group of guys to bond with over the open road. The show is pretty gritty, but you can’t turn away once you’re hooked into the story. This season ended perfectly with a surprise twist that I did not see coming. It’s too bad it’s going to take nine more months before a new season emerges.
3) Fringe : It took me forever to catch up with this show on my DVR, but midway through the season I finally got caught up, and was once again on how well written this sci-fi thriller is written. This show is funny and never disappoints on the action end. Although it has been moved to a Friday time slot, I suspect that this show will endure another season. And should I be wrong, I’m sure Fox will allow JJ Abrams and his team to end the show well. All I know is that I love the character of Walter Bishop. The guy is a loon.
4) Treme : This was a surprise for me this year. I signed up for HBO to watch The Pacific, and while disappointed by that show, I found a jem in the show that followed it immediately afterward. Treme is a “dramedy” that focuses on the rebirth of New Orleans, post hurricane Katrina. It has a well rounded group of characters, and blends all of it’s different subplots together within the arts of the music going on around the characters, inside the ward / district. For me, the music was what hooked me into this show. There are fun cameos and performances within each show, and it allows the musicians to play themselves in a genuine manner. I’ve discovered several bands and artists through this show. Be sure to catch the 2nd season this spring.
5) Boardwalk Empire : Another great drama from HBO that somewhat resembles it’s mob focused predecessor, The Sopranos. Here the story revolves around the early days of Atlantic City, and the corruption that toke place during it’s hay-day. Steve Buschmei is fantastic as the male lead. The sets and costuming are both top notch. And they even got Martin Scorsese to direct and produce the season debut. If you’re intrigued about the early mob, the story of Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, and gritty – shoot ’em up TV … this is a show for you. The first season just ended, but it’s probably still running in complete season re-runs on HBO these days.
Shows I Missed … The Good Wife, Big Band Theory
Top 5 Albums …
1) Andrew Peterson – Counting Stars
2) Zac Brown Band – You Get What You Give
3) Sheryl Crow – 100 Miles to Memphis
4) Daft Punk – TRON :Legacy Sountrack
5) Over The Rhine – The Long Surrender
Albums I Missed … The latest from : Mumford & Sons, Kenny Chesney