God Friended Me- First Look

 

Quick Question:  If GOD asks you to be his FB friend, would you…A) Confirm or B) Ignore His Friend Request

This September, a new and uplifting television series premieres on CBS. GOD FRIENDED ME is about an outspoken atheist whose life is turned upside down when he receives a friend request on social media from God, and unwittingly becomes an agent of change in the lives and destinies of others around him.

This is an inspirational show about hope, faith, and a question we’ve all asked ourselves – what’s my purpose in this world – how can I be of service to others and be an agent of good?

GOD FRIENDED ME is a humorous, uplifting drama about an outspoken atheist whose life is turned upside down when he receives a friend request on social media from God and unwittingly becomes an agent of change in the lives and destinies of others around him. Miles Finer is intelligent, hopeful and optimistic, but he doesn’t believe in God. This puts him at odds with his father, Reverend Arthur Finer, a beloved preacher at Harlem’s Trinity Church for 25 years who is stung by his son’s strong rejection of his faith. Miles feels he’s found his purpose in life hosting a podcast where he’s free to speak his mind, but that changes when he receives the ultimate friend request. After repeated pokes by God, Miles’ curiosity takes over, and he accepts the request and follows the signs to Cara Bloom, an online journalist suffering from writer’s block. Brought together by the “God Account,” the two find themselves investigating God’s friend suggestions and inadvertently helping others in need. Joining them on their journey are Miles’s supportive sister, Ali, a doctoral psych student by day and bartender by night, and his best friend, Rakesh, a sometime hacker who helps Miles and Cara research the enigmatic account. Miles is set on getting to the bottom of what he believes is an elaborate hoax, but in the meantime he’ll play along and, in the process, change his life forever.

 

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Why Post-War Reintegration is Hard

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   “When Angels Wept”

In World War I it was labeled “shell shock.” In World War II it was known as “battle fatigue.” Today most of us familiar with the term “post-traumatic stress disorder.” No matter what the label, it remains the destruction of a mind that follows individuals who experience traumatic events…typically events no one was ever meant to experience. Like war. When Angels Wept follows the path of one such individual, an idealistic young airman named Rod Hirsch, who experiences the most absolute horrors of war during his time fighting in World War II.     Hirsch has a respect for life, and a belief in the rewards of hard work. The young man accepts his duty to his country without asking questions. When he enters the Army Cadet Pilot Training Program and eventually becomes the captain of a B17 bomber, his inner struggles begin. Hirsch learns to deal with life and the diverse personalities of the men in his charge.

Life has more in store for Hirsch than just air battles and kills. He also finds love when shopping for a special gift for his mother in a small bucolic English village. The moment he lays eyes on Shelly, a layer of complication centers his young life.

Hirsch’s record of staying alive over the skies of Europe eclipses all other pilots’ until one day when he and his crew come up against an insidious evil his mind could not concoct. After losing his entire crew, Hirsch’s grip on reality is loosed. The horrors of war begin a relentless invasion into psyche, his mid-western values compromised forever. Guilt rages in every fissure of his mind.

War indeed is hell, but for those with PTSD, it is a personal hell that no amount of medication can cure. So it is for Hirsch as the cracks between reality and horrid war-torn memories deepen and expand. His final break from reality comes when Hirsch finds the body of the love of his life, bloodied and crushed by the rubble left by a rogue German bomb. Hirsch’s new focus is to find the bomber responsible and exact revenge.

While When Angels Wept chronicles the path to destruction of just one man’s life, the result of the effects of war that hundreds of thousands of soldiers experience today. The book takes readers through the insidious downward spiral that post-traumatic stress disorder causes. You can’t see it; you can’t touch it; it has no taste or smell. PTSD is the mind’s own grim reaper that has one, single purpose…to kill the human spirit over time.

AUTHOR BIO: David McCue is a native of Southern Californian. Like Rod Hirsch, the hero in his novel, his parents were from Iowa and raised him with Midwestern values. He grew up in Palos Verdes and graduated from California State University Long Beach. He and his wife live in south Orange County and have two sons. David is a WWII and Vietnam War era history buff with a particular interest in military aircraft. When Angel’s Wept is his first novel. An avid reader in collage, he has been influenced by John Steinbeck, Pearl S. Buck and later Larry McMurtry, Herman Wouk and Mario Puzo among others.

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Creed II Carries a Message of Going the Distance

“But it ain’t about how hard you hit.  It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”  -Rocky Balboa

PCS (Permanent Change of Station) season is here.  All over the world, military families are packing up and moving to new duty stations.  This task can feel insurmountable when you are in the thick of it.  There’s a seemingly endless to-do list, more so if it’s an overseas move.  The best way to stay on top of everything and go the distance with strength is to make lists and tackle them one step at a time.  While preparing for a move, staying strong and going the distance to do the job well pays off in the end.

When I am feeling overwhelmed during a PCS move, I try to keep in mind that there’s a set date when the packers arrive and no matter how much preparation I do, once the packers arrive, it’s out of my hands and I can just let it go.  This mindset helps me to keep things in perspective.

One of the best hacks I’ve learned over the years is to keep certain items out of the household goods shipment so that I don’t have to go searching through boxes at the other end of the move and can use them immediately upon arrival at our next duty station.  Pack these items in your car or put them in your air shipment.

  • Sheets
  • Towels
  • Pillows
  • Kitchen Essentials
  • Hardware for anything disassembled
  • Toys (if you have little ones)

Moving can be overwhelming for anyone, military or not.  Relocating is one of life’s major stressors.  Starting early and following a To-Do List is crucial to minimizing anxiety.  Make notes to yourself during the process so that you know what helped, and what did not help, and can be better prepared for your next move.

Creed II, is an inspirational, motivating story.

In Theaters Wednesday, November 21st

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Life has become a balancing act for Adonis Creed. Between personal obligations and training for his next big fight, he is up against the challenge of his life. Facing an opponent with ties to his family’s past only intensifies his impending battle in the ring. Rocky Balboa is there by his side through it all and, together, Rocky and Adonis will confront their shared legacy, question what’s worth fighting for, and discover that nothing’s more important than family. Creed II is about going back to basics to rediscover what made you a champion in the first place, and remembering that, no matter where you go, you can’t escape your history.

Director: Steven Caple Jr.

Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Wood Harris, Russell Hornsby, Florian “Big Nasty” Munteanu, Andre Ward, Phylicia Rashad, Dolph Lundgren

Writer: Sylvester Stallone

#CreedII

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Tasers Vs. Stun Guns: What’s The Difference

When you talk about self-defense, the first items that come to mind are tasers and stun guns. They are often regarded as one and the same but there’s a big difference between the two. Try to hold off buying tasers online just yet and read this to know if it is something that will work for you.

How Does a Taser Work?

 While both are weapons for self-defense, the big difference between a taser and a stun gun lies in the distance at which it can be administered.

An attacker can be neutralized using a taser from up to 15-feet away. However, it is recommended that the target spread is between 7 to 10-feet for optimum results. The taser lets out probes that are connected to the wires to the direction of the target. These probes are shaped like a spear and can get into the clothing or even skin. They emit electrical current and sends an electric shock.

How Does a Stun Gun Work?

A stun gun, on the other hand, requires physical contact for it to work on the target. It contains two or more prongs, which delivers the electric shock. It works by swiftly overworking the muscles and exhausting its blood sugar. This will result in muscle failure so the target experiences immobilizing pain, shock, and utmost exertion of muscle contractions.

Two of the prongs in the stun gun create an electric arc that you can visibly detect while the other prongs will not be visible to the eye although they carry the same voltage. Using a stun gun requires enough guts since the user has to be in direct contact with the possible attacker. But, it is comfortable to use.

If you wish to buy a stun gun online, this item is readily accessible and very convenient to purchase.

 (Sponsored Guest Post)

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Deployment Book for Kids – Giveaway

In April, the National Center for Youth Issues published the children’s book: Deployment- One of Our Pieces is Missing.

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This is the best children’s book about deployment that I have come across during my time as a military spouse.  It covers all aspects of how deployment and military life affect the family, including post deployment reintegration.  I highly recommend it for families dealing with deployment.

The story portrays the military family as pieces of a puzzle.  When the military member deploys, a piece of the puzzle is missing but when the piece returns, the other pieces have changed shape so the returning member must change shape to fit into the new puzzle.

From the back cover:

I think I’m pretty lucky because I’m part of a military family. It makes me really proud to know my parents are working to keep our country safe.

I get to do stuff other kids don’t.
My life is kinda unique.
I’ve tried on night vision goggles,
and I’ve looked inside a Humvee.

Julia Cook is an award winning children’s book author and her storytelling skills shine in this book.  You can buy it here.

I have a copy to giveaway, so leave a comment on this blog post to let me know you want to be entered.

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Vet Tix Provides Free Event Tickets for Military Families

Since 2008, Vet Tix has worked to serve the veteran and military community and achieve our core missions. Among those, is our goal to provide a stress-relieving experience for families to reconnect and strengthen bonds. We understand that veterans, currently serving military, their families and caregivers all face unique stressors, and our littlest VetTixers, military children, are no exception. Approximately 65 percent of all VetTixers have children; these kids are required to exhibit continuous strength and resiliency. Whether it’s frequent goodbyes, the stress of transition, or coping with a parent’s illness or injury, military kids learn what it means to adapt and overcome at a young age. This month, we celebrate them and recognize the Month of the Military Child. Check out some of our favorite photos and testimonials from the month!

To learn how you can both donate and sign up for tickets, visit VetTix.org.

“Thank you so much to Live Nation for allowing me to attend the Bon Jovi concert with my family! My kids had a great time Rocking out at the show at the Prudential Center.”-Ed (U.S. Army veteran)

 

 

“It was so awesome to receive these tickets from Fan Fest Walker Stalker Con! Our family sits down together every Sunday night and watches The Walking Dead together, so this was a dream come true experience for the kids to be able to go and meet the stars of the show in person! Thank you!” – Eric (U.S. Army veteran)

 

 

“Thank you Creative Artists Agency and Vet Tix for providing tickets to see Peppa! I’ve been super busy with school and it was wonderful to set aside time to take my daughter and her friend out for a play.”- Sara (U.S. Army veteran)

 

 

“Thank you so much to AEG and VetTix for allowing my wife and I the opportunity to take my son to his first concert. My daughter had an amazing time and my son was in awe of the whole event. This concert was purely amazing and had four great artists that I have wanted to see. Thank you again for this amazing opportunity. I am forever grateful for being able to share this great time as a family.” – Jonathan (U.S. Navy veteran)

 

 

“Thank you so much! My daughter got to experience her first Yankee game thanks to VetTix and bonus – we had great seats!” – Christine (U.S. Coast Guard currently serving)

 

 

“As an only parent, there usually isn’t any room or money to go to special events to spend time together – Vet Tix has changed all of that. Because of Vet Tix not only am I able to do these amazing things but my attitude of giving trickles down to others. For the first time I was able to share one of these events with someone special who has come along in my life, So I thank you, you have no idea how this can change someone’s spirit.” –Greg (U.S. Army veteran)

 

 

“My daughter loves going to the hockey games. There’s no way we could afford to take a family trip as often as we have to the games without Vet Tix! She’s two and it’s awesome watching her get excited when we tell her that’s where we are going.” –Laken (U.S. Air Force currently serving)

 

 

“Thank You Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for the opportunity to attend this event. Not only was this an exciting game (almost a no hitter) for me and my family but it was a much needed get away to take our mind off the loss of my mother to cancer a week earlier and especially for my kids who lost a wonderful and loving grandmother.” –Edgar (U.S. Army currently serving)

 

 

“Thank you Vet Tix and donors and New York Yankees MLB and the all the Donors involved to make this event happen for me and my family. It was a great game very excited and fun, sunny day too bad 12th inn loss but great game my kids and I we had a blast. Thank you Vettix and donors for all you do and to the NY Yankees MLB Donors thank you” –Ray (U.S. Marine Corps veteran)

 

 

“We want to give a huge “Thank You” to Vet Tix and Feld Entertainment for supporting the veteran’s and donating tickets so that we could enjoy Frozen on Ice. The kids loved seeing the movie come alive, especially on a snowy day in Denver. Thank you for your support!”- Ryan (U.S. Navy veteran)

 

To read more incredible Vet Tix Testimonials, click here, and to learn how you can both donate and sign up for tickets, visit VetTix.org.

 

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Beyond The Sun Movie- Win a Trip to Rome

BEYOND THE SUN is being released today, May 15, across multiple platforms, including iTunes, Amazon, and TUGG.  It is a modern-day tale of hope, faith and courage, based on stories from the Bible. The family movie chronicles the adventures of four young friends in search of G-d.  We are at the beginning of the huge summer movie season.  Summer means a slew of big blockbusters featuring the biggest Hollywood stars.  But this summer, the most inspirational person to hit the big screen may not be The Avengers, Tom Cruise, and even “The Rock.”  It’s Pope Francis!!!

The four young friends in the movie are on a search fueled by their faith.  As a twelve year old girl, I remember a 24 hour journey I took that changed my life.  The idea was to spend a solitary 24 hour period, in the wilderness, to get in touch with who I was, who I wanted to be, and how I planned to get there.  It was scary, but also character building and life changing.  Twenty four hours is a long time for a child to be alone, especially in the outdoors.  The sounds, smells, temperature and the hunger all played a role in my adventure through the day, but most of all, confidence in myself and faith that G-d would keep me safe helped me persevere.

This new film, Beyond the Sun, is a thought-provoking story, highlighted by an appearance by the beloved Pope Francis.

Plus, you can enter here to win a trip to Rome to see the Vatican and the Pope for yourself- a once in a lifetime opportunity.  In support of the film, AMBI Media Group is holding a special contest where one lucky winner will win an Exclusive Private Tour of the Vatican and Front Row Tickets to an Audience with The Pope For Four!

Also, comment below about a great adventure you’ve had, for a chance to win a gift card to Amazon so you can purchase the movie for yourself!

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The Miracle Season Movie Release

Resilience is an invaluable trait for everyone; for military families, resilience is essential to emotional survival.  Military families are fettered with constant challenges which both necessitate and build resilience in them.  One moment that helped me build my resilience is one I remember very clearly from 16 years ago.

On December 24, 2002, Horatio called to tell me that his ship’s deployment, scheduled for late spring, had been moved up and he was deploying to the Middle East on January 6th, instead.  The ship had just returned from conflict in March of that year, so this was especially heartbreaking news. I was walking through Sears Department Store, after having portraits taken of my then four year old and two year old sons when I got this news. I remember the moment quite vividly. My heart sunk to my gut and I wanted to crumble. But, there I was, in the middle of a store with my two small children, so I stood up straight and continued on my way. I immediately turned my focus to the tasks that  lay before me. We were due to relocate from Bremerton, WA to Leavenworth, KS in less than six months. With Horatio departing for deployment, I had to come up with a plan that would best support our whole family. After hurried, but thoughtful, discussion we decided that the best way to handle this was to quickly arrange to move out of our Washington house and into my parents’ home for the duration of the deployment so that we could easily relocate to Kansas immediately upon his return. This meant multiple phone calls and emails to schedule the movers, transport of our vehicles, and find preschools in my hometown; not to mention mentally preparing for yet another long separation from my husband/ my children’s father. In this case, resilience was key to avoiding a complete breakdown.  The experience required resilience but also helped to build it for future episodes.  An element of resilience is the ability to react with a plan to move forward. By focusing on the way ahead, one can avoid a meltdown and a crippling reaction to a potentially devastating turn of events.  This ability is an invaluably essential skill for military families.  Consciously building this strength can help to fortify military families against the many obstacles thrown their way.

The young women in the true story told in the soon to open movie, The Miracle Season, show great resilience.  The movie is based on the inspiring story of West High School women’s volleyball team.  After the tragic death of the school’s star player, Caroline “Line” Found, the remaining team players must band together under the guidance of their tough-love coach in hope of winning the state championship.  It is a story of resilience and strength.

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The film opens in theaters on April 6 and stars Helen Hunt, William Hurt, Danika Yarosh, and Erin Moriarty.  Don’t miss it!

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On second thought… The Moped

In the interest of full disclosure, I want to revisit an issue I wrote about one year ago.  Last March, soon after Horatio left for three months, Dwight tried to persuade us to let him get a moped for transportation.  Horatio and I gave a firm “no.”

Well, after a great deal of careful consideration, we changed our minds.  We know the dangers, of course, and worry every time he ventures out on the vehicle, but we also trust Dwight not to just be careful, but to be aggressively defensive in his driving.  We are all well aware of the driving hazards in our host country.

Like most 17 year olds, Dwight has a very active life: school, clubs, two sports, girlfriend, etc.  Horatio and I agreed that there is value to Dwight having his own mode of transportation.  If we lived in the US, he’d have access to a car, but that’s not an option here.  In China, a battery operated moped is a common mode of transportation for teenagers and adults, alike.  The speed is limited, as is the distance one can travel.

We sat down and wrote a contract that Dwight signed.  We listed all of the rules, which include: a set radius (about 2 miles) in which he can ride, as well as an agreement to always wear, and fasten, the helmet that we ordered from the US.  Dwight knows that if he ever breaks the rules of safety, he will no longer have access to the moped.  Most people here do not wear helmets when riding mopeds or bikes!  He wears the helmet every time he gets on the moped, even if he is just going a hundred yards.  It’s non-negotiable.

He’s been driving for a few months now, and it has been really nice for him and us.  Dwight has the freedom to do all of the activities, back and forth, that he wants, and we carefully monitor his comings and goings via texts and Apple’s helpful Find Friends app.

I know there is a lot of judgement out there and I’m sure many people will warn me that this was a terrible decision.  For us, though, it feels right, and we will be careful and have faith that Dwight will stay safe.

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A Wrinkle In Time Movie Release- Giveaway

For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved when a book I’ve read is made into a movie, and A Wrinkle In Time definitely fits the category.  I can remember reading and re-reading the book throughout my childhood, and now it is a major motion picture with an amazing cast.

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From visionary director, Ava DuVernay, comes Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time,” an epic adventure based on Madeleine L’Engle’s timeless classic that takes audiences across dimensions of time and space, examining the nature of darkness versus light, good versus evil, and ultimately, the triumph of love.  The film stars Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling, Chris Pine, and Storm Reid as “Meg Murry.” A Wrinkle In Time opens in theaters March 9, 2018

An otherworldly stranger appears at the door of the Wallace’s house as Meg, her little brother Charles, and their mom are enjoying a stormy night snack. The stranger was blown off course and tells them about a “tesseract”, which is a wrinkle in time. Meg’s dad had been experimenting with time travel when he suddenly disappeared. Meg, Charles, and their friend Calvin are challenged to outwit the forces of evil as they search through space for Meg and Charles’s father.

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I can’t wait to see this film and I have a Fandango Gift Card to give away to one reader to see it, as well! 

Comment on the post with what book you’d like to see made into a movie and I will choose a winner on Sunday, March 11.

 

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