Monday, October 31, 2011

How Reading a Vampire Book Revealed to Me the Gift of Free Will - The Choosing Fields

First, I'd like to make note that 19 years ago today, I met my Daniel. What a blessing he is to my life!! I'm so glad my cousin, Shannon, and I went 'reverse' trick-or-treating that night. Love you, babe!

Well, it’s that time of year again. The next installment of The Twilight Saga is hitting movie theatres soon, November 18th . So it’s also time for inspirational reflections based on the novels here at Dry Ground.

The first installment of my “Twiblogs’ focused on the first book, Twilight. I called it How Reading a Vampire Book Brought Me Closer to Jesus and it explored Edward Cullen representing in many aspects the Perfect Love of Jesus Christ. (To read CLICK HERE!)

The second section, called How Reading a Vampire Book Taught Me More About Faith, drew lessons from New Moon in which Bella’s faith in Edward’s love is put to a trying and difficult test. (To read CLICK HERE!)

This time around, I’m going to look at the third book in the series, Eclipse, and what it has to say about making choices. I call it – How Reading a Vampire Book Revealed to Me the Gift of Free Will.

We start with an obvious question…

What is Free Will?

Simply, the inherent right to make our own choices.

Theologians debate the exact meaning of the phrase and bring into question satellite issues such as the omniscience of God, muddying the waters to the point of confusion. But I’m not here to argue the full extent of free will philosophy. In this case, I’m just counting Free Will as the right of an individual to make decisions absent of coercion or force.

Now I will contend that no decision is completely without coercion in the sense that every decision is based on influencing factors, be they fact or feeling or perception. However, Free Will means that when all factors have been taken into account, the decision to turn left or right ultimately hinges on our own determination.

In context, Eclipse is the turning point of the entire story, the Choosing Fields.

While in New Moon, Bella is tested, in Eclipse she is testing.

In New Moon, the choices are presented, and in Eclipse, the choices are examined. Though it seems the outcome is obvious, Bella’s resolve wavers in light of the permanence of the choices she’s about to make and the persuasion of those claiming to want the best for her.

Bella faces two major decisions that will determine the course of the rest of her life.

First, Edward has proposed marriage. She, in a move I didn’t see coming the first time I read it, refuses him. She loves him, she wants to be with him forever, but agreeing to marriage strikes a nerve of fear inside her. Consequently, she hasn’t really chosen him yet. Not completely. Alternative choices include Jacob, who declares his love openly in Eclipse, remaining alone or continuing on in a partial commitment with Edward.

Second, to be or not to be a vampire. Bella believes she is decided, but her actions prove otherwise. Again, fear messes with her resolve. Also, she is distracted by the possibility that Edward, though he does not want her to become a vampire, will change her himself, but that hinges on the marriage proposal.

So her two major choices are intertwined and multi-faceted.

In Eclipse, we find Bella in the middle of her decision-making adventure. Her future depends on the result of those decisions just as our future depends on the choice we make when Jesus asks, “Will you marry me?”

Our Perfect Lover, Jesus Christ, also has proposed marriage to every one of us on an intimate and personal level. It’s up to each of us to accept or deny that proposal. We examine many factors in life to help us decide – what we read and what we’re taught/told, the examples of others who have made the commitment to Christ, what we ourselves experience and feel, as well as our own perceptions of life and living which can involve our personalities and preferences.

During this examination process, Our Perfect Lover steps back, allowing us time and space to choose. He doesn’t leave us completely alone. No, he’s always there, reminding us and showing us how deep and wide and long and high His love is for us. Allowing Free Will does not in any way mean giving up the fight for our affections. But it does mean that He will never force us to choose Him.

I hope you’ll join me for the next couple of weeks as I attempt to show you how Reading a Vampire Book Revealed to Me the Gift of Free Will.

For the next chapter, The Influence of Fear, CLICK HERE.

(photos by

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

POV Wednesday – Chasing Your Tail

In September, my mom and Jay got a new puppy – Samson. He’s just a little tyke. I’m partial to big dogs, but this tiny one has made a mighty impact worthy of his name.

One of the things he does that totally cracks me up is chase his tail. Twirling and growling, he makes monumental efforts to catch that spry, white-tipped wagging thing.

Dogs have been doing this for centuries, of course, but for some reason it amuses me that it hasn’t gone out of style in the canine world. It’s so amusing.

I suppose from Samson’s POV, his tail is both catchable and something worthy to be caught.

Sometimes he succeeds. I can’t tell if the look on his face is a victorious one or communicating a mite bit of disappointment.

I wonder if there is anything in my life like Samson’s tail that I’m chasing, under the full belief that whatever it is, it is both obtainable and worthy to catch. But more often than not, I’m just spinning in circles wondering at the same time why what I want seems just out of reach.

We chase lots of things in life. The chasing isn’t in and of itself bad. But chasing can easily lead to craving/worshipping, and that’s idolatry. Fine line, sure. Entirely possible, though. Easily possible actually.

Personally, I know I waste a lot of energy chasing my tail because my focus is on the world and all the pursuits it wants me to crave. When I don’t catch them, I get discouraged at first and that quickly leads to coveting and then I start feeling sorry for myself. All of which is so tiring and stressful.

Peace comes only from focusing on God and what He has planned for our lives. (Isa. 26:3) Sometimes that means waiting. Waiting is hard, and if you’re a doer, chasing your tail at least gives you something to do. Being still and knowing God is God almost seems like a waste of time. But the opposite is true.

So, in the days to come, I’ll try to leave the tail chasing to Samson. He’s cuter doing it anyway. When I do it, I just look plain silly.

What are you chasing?

Happy Wednesday, Dry Ground friends!

(photo by Yours Truly)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Movies You Might Have Missed Monday

Well, here we are, almost October’s end, and I have one more ‘scary’ movie to recommend. Next week, Twi-blogs return as we count down the days until Breaking Dawn part 1 hits theatres. If you don’t know what that means, CLICK HERE to start with the first Twi-blog series that appeared here on Dry Ground.

So, I don’t have any phobias. I mean, there’s nothing that strikes fear into me so badly that I am rendered paralyzed or helpless.

Heights thrill me. Snakes fascinate me. Close spaces comfort me.

But one thing that can make me jump – things that ‘scurry’ – a.k.a. uncontained bugs or spiders or animals that move faster than I do.

Example, one time a teeny tiny gray mouse had taken up residence in the office space I worked in. It visited my desk one day. I stood on my chair like a typical, hysterical female. While ashamed of my behavior, I still did not volunteer to descend and catch said mousey. Why? Because it was a ‘scurry-er’!!!!

Therefore, today’s movie pick is about another kind of scurry-er, a classic from my growing up years – Arachnophobia!

Most classic ‘scary’ movies make me laugh, truth be told. I went to a homecoming dance with this one guy who thought watching Texas Chainsaw Massacre (the original, mind you, from 1974) would be a good way to start the evening. He mistakenly identified me as a weak-stomached girly-girl who would be so scared that I’d cling to him for protection the rest of the night.

Good grief.

Anyway, Arachnophobia, which I saw in the theatre with a friend, definitely gave me the creeps! Spiders that big… well, I have seen a few in person actually (another story entirely)… but that many with such vindictive attitudes is bad news!

The trouble starts when a scientist who is doing research in South America dies of an unidentified disease. His coffin arrives back in his hometown with a stow-away on board, the gigantic spider that killed him. No one knows this, of course, until the spider mates and breeds, and an army of killer spiders overtakes the town. When neighbors start disappearing, a couple people notice and investigate. It’s a battle to the end!

The freakiest scene, the one that really got me and my friend never let me forget, was the shower scene. A teenage girl is taking a shower. While she washes her hair, she closes her eyes, like many of us do. One of the killer spiders falls on her and slides down with the water. She doesn’t even know it is there.

I enjoy these kinds of ‘horror’ movies because a good case of the creeps makes me laugh. Arachnophobia is a good flick that causes my nose to wrinkle, for me to cringe and utter ‘EW!’ and then laugh off. It’s just my kind of ‘scary’ movie.

After reading about the scary movies I can handle, I’d love to hear which ones you love. How about phobias? Do you have any?

Happy Movie Watching, Dry Ground friends!

(photo by

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

POV Wednesday – The Elephant in the Room

Have you heard that ancient Indian fable about the seven blind men and the elephant? Ed Young has a children’s book out in which the men are portrayed as blind mice, but it’s the same concept.

Seven blind men encounter an elephant, except they all run into a different part of it. When asked to describe what they ran into, their descriptions differed because of their experience. One had encountered the trunk, another the tail, still another the leg, another the ear, and so on. Based on each limited perspective, each man had a different take on what an elephant was. They didn’t know that they couldn’t have an accurate description of an entire elephant without pooling their discoveries.

This story has a lot of applications and is often used to argue against Christian belief in One True God.

But I have a different perspective, and it’s about perspective itself.

First, no matter the description, whether individual or collaborated, you still have an elephant. And an elephant is an elephant no matter how you describe it. The Truth of the matter is not a perspective. It is what it is. We don’t change the elephant by describing it in our own words. How we see it doesn’t make it that way.

So Truth is Truth. I know Truth because Jesus said He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Any other religion touting multiple truths or saying any path is an acceptable path disregards the essence of Truth. They would say that if you want to believe that an elephant is all trunk, you go right ahead. It’s all right no matter the facts.

I’m not a theologian or an expert on apologetics, though, so the illustration I’d like to make with this story is for those who’ve already made it over the Truth hurdle.

Within the church, different perspectives abound as well, don’t they? Even when we all use the Holy Bible as the Authoritative Word on Truth, our perspective and treasure of experiences make us read the same words and have a different take. Not different like redefining Truth, but different angles of the same Truth.

Paul tells us in Romans and Corinthians about the church body, how there’s only one body but many parts. Those many parts unify to make one body. And as an eye, we’re not supposed to tell the foot they are not as good as an eye. And as an ear, we’re not supposed to tell the kneecap that it is useless. Of course, all members of the body are important to the function of the whole.

So why do we still tell other parts of the body that they are useless, unimportant, lesser, or wrong? If there is arrogance in perspective, it’s here, not in the argument between ‘religions.’

It’s just that some people are SO involved at being the eye or ear or foot that they cannot, nor would they care to, imagine what it would be like to be a fingernail, spleen or elbow. Unfortunately, that leads to pride and short-sightedness, and that results in the fingernail, spleen and elbow feeling insignificant and therefore acting as such. In both cases, the perspective is wrong. Pride motivates both reactions.

The point is two-fold.

Don’t be an apathetic elephant.

Don’t be a blind mouse.

Do your job/function to the best and highest quality you can possibly accomplish, whether eye, elbow or earlobe.

Then, remember that your function is not the only one keeping the body alive.

Have fun exploring perspectives, Dry Ground friends! There’s so much to see!

(photo by

Monday, October 17, 2011

Movies You Might Have Missed Monday

OK, no one will be able to argue with me on this one. This is a truly scary movie, the story written by scare-master himself, Stephen King. It’s The Mist.

I admit, I’ve never actually read a Stephen King novel. Shameful, I know. But remember that little issue I have with fear-adrenaline? I think the scariest thing I’ve ever read was The Oath by Frank Peretti, and I wouldn’t even read that after dark!

Additionally, the only story of King’s I’m really familiar with is Shawshank Redemption, not exactly your typical horror flick (but darn-good storytelling for sure!).

So… how in the world do I know anything about The Mist?

Well, I’m shocked I went to see it all. Don’t remember my motivation. The weird thing is, it was the exact story I needed to hear at that time in my life because it taught me a valuable life lesson in the process.

The plot is not rocket science. An unusual mist has rolled into small town USA, casting a murky pallor over its innocent inhabitants, including Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden and some other recognizable faces. But it’s not the mist that has the folks running. Monsters live in that mist, and citizen after citizen is getting snatched, drug away and presumably killed.

Most of the movie happens at the local grocery store where a handful of brave people have barricaded themselves inside, hoping their defenses keep the monsters out long enough for the mist to roll along. Too bad for them, the monsters are hungry and find ways to penetrate their forces, including luring lone prey out into the open.

It’s an interesting study on the psyche of fear as the community reacts to this siege. The part that made such an impact on my life, however, comes right at the end. Thomas Jane’s character, David, along with four other people including one child who happens to be David’s son, decides to make a run for it. They make it safely to a car. They are terrified, but they’ve seen what happens to people left behind getting caught by these monsters, and they are determined for that not to happen to them. Immediately, the monsters pursue them. It’s a pretty even cat and mouse game, but alas, it gets to a point where it looks like the monsters are going to win.

SPOILER ALERT – because I just have to share why I like this flick so much…

At that moment, the one gun in the car is brought out. Five people, four bullets. The one doing the mercy shooting will have to face the fate of the monsters. David volunteers, but that means he’ll also be shooting his own son in order to save him from the horrors of the monsters. Shockingly and devastatingly, he carries this heinous act through.

The ring of the gun has not stopped echoing when David hears something else – the rumble of heavy machinery. He steps outside of his truck, where the bodies of his loved-ones lie, and sees National Guard tanks and soldiers marching up the road, spreading some sort of fog that drives back the mist. The monsters are defeated and must move on.

So the irony of this is the big whack meant for good storytelling, especially in King’s fashion of turning your guts inside out. The impact it made on me, however, turned on the light of hope.

See, I was facing ‘monsters’ in my life that had me afraid, hurting, hopeless and desperate. My Daniel and I were on the brink of even losing faith, I think. It was at one of those despairing moments we saw this movie. And immediately I realized… it’s always too early to shoot yourself (or anyone else) in the head. Not literally, of course (though I can’t say it never at least joked about in our depressed state). In other words, it’s always too early to give up. Rescue is right around the corner.

God promises. He won’t give us more than we can handle. He gives us everything we need to live according to His will. When the going gets tough, His Word is full of promises of comfort, strength, perseverance, rescue and joy. When life seems like a dead end, we have to remember that the very next second could be our second of redemption. If not that second, maybe the next. If not that one, the next.

In The Mist, they felt like they had run out of seconds, only to find out too late that the next second would have been the one to drive away the monsters.

I’ve had friends and acquaintances who have felt like they’d lived all their seconds up to a dead end and did not wait for the next one to receive their rescue. Please, my friends, no matter how bad it looks, don’t give up. It’s always always too early to give up.

Be blessed, Dry Ground friends!!

(photo by

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

POV Wednesday – Stories of ‘Least’

I have issues with feelings of inadequacy.

I’d go into all the reasons for that, but I am not here to feel sorry for myself. Not at all! I just wonder if anyone out there feels the same way. If so, I wanted to offer some encouragement.

It’s so easy to see through the world’s eyes since we live right in the middle of it. The truth of the matter is that people keep score. People compete. From sports to the work place, from academics to politics, rank exists. There’s always someone better, there’s always someone worse, and somehow that determines how bad or good we feel about ourselves.

It’s even found in the church.

Problem is, there’s no such thing as a ‘good’ Christian.

Consequently, the same is true for ‘better’ Christians and the ‘best’ Christian. They don’t exist. (Neither do ‘worse’ or ‘worst’ for that matter!)

The only qualifying word that should ever be attached to the title ‘Christian’ is ‘least.’

“Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, ‘I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.’” (Matt. 18:2-4)

“But many who are the greatest now will be the least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.” (Matt. 19:30)

“And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded.” (Matt. 10:42)

“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (Jn. 15:13)

“If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but it you give up your life for me, you will find it.” (Matt. 10:39)

Throughout the Old Testament, God uses men and woman who are considered ‘least’ to do something ‘great’ for Him. One example is Gideon. His story is in Judges 6. Israel has, yet again, turned their backs on God, worshipping idols and doing evil in His sight. Many consequences have ensued making life miserable for all Israelites, including the ones who still love and worship the Lord. Because of His great love and mercy, God calls Gideon to “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!” (vs14)

Instead of rejoicing that God is sending a rescue to his people, Gideon balks with this excuse: “But Lord, Gideon replied, how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!” (vs. 15)

I think this story says it all because Gideon’s being weak and ‘least’ is exactly the point. The victory comes from the next verse and God’s promise: “I will be with you.”

All things are possible through Christ.

Of course, Gideon had to accept the directive and leave his threshing floor to face the enemy. He had an action to employ. But the trick is to employ that action with the full knowledge that God is with you and God is your strength.

A lovely partnership, don’t you think?

Too often I allow Gideon’s excuse to be my own, but I stay sitting on my threshing floor laboring over something when I should be out fighting and leading. Don’t let feelings of inadequacy, especially by the standards of this world, keep you from heeding God’s call for your life. He’s looking for the ‘least’ because only He is the greatest!

Be strong and courageous, Dry Ground friends!

For a little bit more… to those of you who like finding Truth nuggets in modern stories…

This is one of the reasons I loved this past summer’s blockbuster movie, Thor, so much.

In the beginning, Thor has the opposite problem as me – over confidence. He’s the son of a god, he’s strong and brave, and a skilled and powerful fighter. He believes he has everything it takes to be a great ruler. In fact, he’s confident he will be greater than his father before him. His arrogance, however, leads him to brash actions that disrespect, dishonor and disobey his father. For these actions, he is banished and stripped of his power.

Though stronger than a mere human, Thor finds himself on Earth with far less abilities than he had in his paradise home. This does not deter him altogether, though, as he believes he just needs his hammer to regain his god-like status. He believes he will overcome this slight hiccup in his life through force of his will and his power.

He encounters a rude awakening, however, when he battles and overcomes SHIELD officers who have surrounded and secured his hammer only to find he, like all the other humans, can not budge it. In his own strength, he has failed.

He goes on to learn through the rest of the story that one thing that eludes so many of us… humility. In his weakness, he is shown what true strength is, the strength his father has been trying to teach him. He couldn’t learn it until he was a mere mortal, the ‘least’ of all. When the light bulb does go on for him, though, he acts with a noble self-sacrifice, and in that alone – laying down his life for his friends – is his power restored to him.

Now, he is exponentially powerful as his heart and soul match – maybe even exceed – the strength of his body and mind. What’s more, his relationship to his father is restored, perhaps the most important result of all.

Both sides of the coin, over-confidence and lack thereof, are sins. Why? Because they both leave out all account of God and His power within us. Relying solely on His power and presence balance and focus our outlook. Only then can we ‘accomplish’ for His glory.

(photos by

Monday, October 10, 2011

Movies You Might Have Missed Monday

Ok, I promised a true horror movie this week as October plods along toward Halloween.

Does it count if it is also a musical?

In my book, yes, it definitely counts. It’s probably the goriest movie I like.

You know what I’m talking about, right? It’s the Sondheim Broadway musical, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, a 2007 Tim Burton-directed film starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter.

First off, Mr. Todd is not a demon. He’s a bitter, hurting man bent on revenge. Years ago, when he was known as Benjamin Barker, he had a rosy life – beautiful wife, new baby daughter. They were happy, and it showed. Judge Turpin, a dark-hearted man filled with envy, noticed, fell in lust with Mrs. Barker and contrived to take her for his own benefit. He fixes a false accusation and conviction that sends Mr. Barker away to prison for twenty years. But when he tries to force Mrs. Barker into a relationship, she mentally snaps and no one ever hears from her again. The Judge takes the Barker’s daughter and raises her as his own.

When Mr. Barker returns, he’s in disguise as Sweeney Todd, a mysterious, quirky fellow looking to open a barbershop as a cover to his murderous plans. He meets Mrs. Lovett, who runs a pie shop on Fleet Street and happens to have a room upstairs perfect for a barbershop. Mrs. Lovett’s not exactly pristine in her food preparation habits as anything that scurries across her counter makes it into the pies, so eating a pie at her shop probably isn’t such a good idea. But that warning doubles… triples… quadruples when she gets into business with Mr. Todd.

Mr. Todd is so captive to the hurt he’s experienced in life that everyone strolling in his path is in danger of being a victim of his wrath. A trip to the barber Sweeney Todd means a dismal end in one of Mrs. Lovett’s pies.

What a strange story to make into a musical, right? But the songs eerily fit, and hold a deep message if you listen to the words. One of my favorites is “Have a Little Priest,” a song sung by Todd and Lovett just as they decide to combine their businesses. It’s tongue-in-cheek, but it cleverly turns symbolic language about our ‘tastes’ in different kinds of people into literal ‘tastes.’ Creepy, but also funny in a dark, satirical way.

Of course, this movie isn’t meant to be comedic, though there is some such relief in places. It really highlights the destruction of a life lived for revenge as well as the damage sins like envy, false accusation and greed can cause. That’s why I like it so much.

Yes, it is gory. Our demon barber slits the throats of several of his customers and the blood splatter is significant. The ending shocks and startles, and yet is an apt conclusion. Sometimes seeing the dark side and all its consequences, like seeing the inside of a jail cell, is a great motivator to avoid such sadness. This story shows what blind rage can keep us from seeing, and how the outcome could be different if we could just see beyond the need to pay someone back for hurts they’ve inflicted.

The acting in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street kills (haha). Depp and Carter of course (I think they excel in most everything they do), but also Alan Rickman as the sinister judge and Sacha Baron Cohen (yes, crazy Borat himself) as a competing barber give spectacular performances. Though Burton usually directs fantastical, over-the-top celebrations of strange, this story is strange enough so that his influence is present but not over powering.

So, if you dare, try a little Sweeney Todd for a scare and to be made aware of the dangers of revenge.

Happy Movie Watching, Dry Ground friends!

(photo by

Friday, October 7, 2011

Weekend Tune Up

As my pride and confidence war within, Toby Mac's song helps me focus on what is real. Hope it encourages you today too!

Happy Weekending, Dry Ground friends!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

POV Wednesday - Hair Care

I shed.

I have long hair, and it seems like I’m always pulling a strand from my husband’s shoulder or twisting around like a dog chasing her tail looking for what’s tickling my arm. Every morning after drying my hair, I brush it out and inevitably a bunch of it ends up in the hairbrush. And yet, thankfully, I still manage to have a head full of hair.

Seems like a silly thing to notice, sillier still to write about it. But here’s my point.

Have you ever heard this verse? “And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.” (Luke 12:7)

It’s a comforting verse on the surface, but the depth of it quickens my heart – as evidenced in what I said above, the number of my hairs changes every day and sometimes multiple times a day. That means He’s constantly re-counting the number of hairs on my head because it’s always changing. He’s with me all the time. I am not alone or forgotten. The God of the Universes, my Creator and Savior, is continually paying attention to me, even down to the number of hairs on my head.

So whether you have hairs to spare or few enough that even you can count them, be encouraged that God always knows how many there are – a clear indication that He values you, Dry Ground friends!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Movies You Might Have Missed Monday

It’s October!! Wow. Can’t believe that. Time flies.

I know lots of movie lovers who look forward to this time of year because they are fans of those stories that are designed to frighten them into peeing their pants. In the weeks leading up to Halloween, my fellow film fans love to load up on horror, monster and generally scary flicks.

Me… not so much. It’s not that I’ve a frail constitution. My theory is that the adrenaline rush that is ‘fear’ does not give me a thrill, as in the thrill of riding a roller coaster, rather it makes my joints ache as if I have the flu. It’s just not pleasant for me. It’s the one genre of story that’s not my favorite.

But I do like suspense and mystery. So over the next couple of weeks, I’ll share the films at least remotely related to the season that fit into my comfort level.

The first one is about as ‘monster’ movie as I get. It’s a modern take on a classic fairy tale, and of course it communicates a worthy moral.

Earlier this year, a little movie by CBS Films called Beastly hit theatres starring up-and-coming cutie pie Alex Pettyfer (I Am Number Four) and Vanessa Hudgens of High School Musical fame. It’s a live-action, modern telling of the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast. Alex plays Kyle, his high school’s prince, gorgeous, rich, cocky and mean. Vanessa plays Lindy, a hard-working beauty and fellow student of Kyle’s who doesn’t have it so easy at home with her addict father. Early in the plot, Kyle plays a cruel joke on the class Goth, a self-proclaimed witch named Kendra, played by Mary-Kate Olsen. In order to teach Kyle a lesson, Kendra places a curse on him. Kyle’s inner beastliness mars his good looks making him ugly with scars, blemishes and tattoos including the image of a tree on the inside of his arm. The curse remains unless someone tells him they love him before the tree goes through all the seasons – basically, a year.

Kyle goes through a gamut of emotions as he copes with his biggest fears, his own prejudices, and the ugliness of his soul. On a sharp learning curve aided by a sympathetic housemaid, a blind tutor, and an unsuspecting Lindy, Kyle discovers the meaning of true love and beauty.

I like this story and how it fleshes out in this movie. It’s not brilliant as far as writing is concerned, and yes it gets a little sappy (but only a little!). Though the story is perfect for young people, the PG13 language puts it more at young adult, so I think the producers didn’t have their target audience clearly in focus. Still, Beastly is clever enough, teaches a timeless and important theme, and makes for a pleasant evening of movie watching.

Okay, okay, next week a true horror movie… promise.

Happy Movie Watching, Dry Ground friends!

(photo by