Champion (2017) [movie review]

champion movie review

Champion (2017) Review

Champion (2017) starts out as a race-car movie but after 30 minutes transitions to a forgiveness movie. Or, rather, a top 10 list teaching us how to forgive and why it’s so important.

Did I stir up a little drama for you? I hope so, because it’s worth the watch. In Champion, you meet Sean Weathers, the cocky know-it-all who’s at the top of his game, Gracie “Junebug” Weathers, his nine-almost-10-year-old daughter who steals every scene she’s in, Jack Reed, the big-city-business-guy looking to reconnect with his estranged son, and Ray Reed, the up-and-coming race-car driver (and estranged son).

Both families seem to be—on the surface—in good shape until an accident during a race changes everything. Sending everyone into chaos, families are broken, lives fall apart, and just when it seems like they’re on the brink of losing everything…forgiveness steps in.

champion screenshot

Sean and Jack are encouraged to work together fixing up lakeside cabin. They discover a top 10 list Ray wrote and decide to complete each item—the final task being “learn to forgive.”

The big idea in Champion is “forgiveness doesn’t erase your past, but it does help to rewrite your future.” Forgiveness isn’t easy, in fact, it was searched for and lost several times throughout the story. And the truth is, the characters had every right to hold back forgiving. The film explores the ideas of grudges, pride, humility, challenging yourself, letting go, breaking/keeping promises, and being brave.

Champion is a touching story with only a moderate amount of preachiness. I enjoyed the story (once the car racing part was over) and loved the top 10 list. That spoke to me. I always knew top 10 lists would save the world.

Champion hits theatres May 19, 2017.


Champion (2017) Synopsis

Race-car driver Sean Weathers was at the top of his game…beautiful daughter, top sponsors, the best crew money could buy and an ego that trumped them all. Just weeks before ending the best season of his life, he was in control—or so he thought. When a grudge series with another racer turns personal, the ego and arrogance that propelled him to the top causes a tragedy that sends his life spinning.

Jack Reed was successful as a businessman, but he struggled as a father. Just when they were reconnecting, he got the news his only son Ray was dead. Through his grief Jack discovers the truth that Ray had wanted to share with him, that the road to understanding and peace would have to begin with forgiveness.

Andrew Cheney (BEYOND THE MASK) stars with Gary Graham (Star Trek “Renegades”, ALL THE RIGHT MOVES) and Robert Amaya (COURAGEOUS, MOM’S NIGHT OUT). Directed by Judd Brannon (WAR ROOM), the film is produced by Brannon Pictures.

SockDock: Solving the Case of the Missing Socks Since 2017 [review]

You know how you put two socks into the wash and one comes out? It’s a weird game socks play to make you double check your sheets and pockets in case they’re hiding. Good thing SockDock is here so I can stop playing hide-and-seek with my socks.

SOCKDOCK

A year ago I moved homes and my laundry situation changed. In fact it was upgraded. I have a HE front loader and loads of space for hanging and while I’m grateful, one of my pet peeves is how the washing machine seal tends to eat my socks. Not all of them, just a couple. And sometimes if the spin is extra fast, some socks get pinned to the drum and if they’re the right colour…well, you get the idea. So I spend a lot of time hunting for socks. And that’s just me. My friend Kinneyland posted her woes a few weeks back and I have to say, the struggle gets real when there are a bunch of kids invited to this party.

Kinneyland sock capture

I try and keep my laundry-doing to the weekends but with these never-ending rainy days I’ve been forced outside (the yard work must go on!) in less-than-optimal weather and my laundry pile is expanding into my workweek so when I was offered the chance to test SockDock I thought, yes. This will make my laundry life easier. This will stop my socks from hanging out in the nooks and crannies of my washing machine. Because I’m over it.

The idea is you collect your dirty socks and add them to the SockDock as they accrue. When the SockDock is full, you throw then entire thing in the wash. When they come out, they’re paired up and clean. If you’re doing it right, you don’t even put the socks away you just pull them off the SockDock when you want to wear them. And how can you do this? Because the SockDock is sold in pairs, one for dirty socks and one for clean.

I love the idea and I think it’s perfect for kids. I have more needs in the sock department so for me it’s not as simple as keeping everything in the SockDock and re-wearing the clean socks. First, because I have a million pairs of socks and I like wearing all of them. Second, because I hang dry a lot of my socks rather than put them in the dryer. But for the convenience of keeping my socks in pairs through the washing cycle…it’s worth the extra effort of adding them to the SockDock.

This is a fun and innovative product I hope will make your laundry life a bit better!

3 Easy Steps


Official SockDock Press Release

The Great Sock Mystery Is Finally Solved: Matching Socks is no longer a problem with the SockDock®

How many times have you done the laundry only to be completely bewildered by the fact that one of the socks from the pair you placed in the washing machine and dryer are missing? You throw 10 socks in the washer, but only seven come out! It’s Frustrating! Then you have a pile of unmatched, unsorted and unloved socks.

According to US News and World Report, Americans spend an average of one year of their life looking for lost or misplaced items. And a recent survey found that one out of four consumers would like to be more organized. Kevin Bunn, a father of two small children and a stay-at-home entrepreneur, is one of those “guys” that helps with the household chores, especially the laundry. He became very frustrated every time he did the laundry—he would throw the dirty matched socks into the washing machine, take them out, place them in the dryer and out would come a pile of solo socks no longer paired.

After countless research and trying many different solutions, it was apparent nothing worked, and he knew there had to be a way to resolve this common problem. With a background in mechanical engineering, sales and marketing, he invented SockDock® a simple and easy-to-use sock organizer designed to wash, dry and store socks from “dirty feet” to “clean and neat.”

“I am very excited to launch this new product, which I am confident households across America will appreciate—especially parents with children. SockDock® will help save endless hours of time. No longer will you have to search for matching socks, they will stay together in a tidy way,” says Kevin Bunn. “How many hours have parents spent in the morning trying to get their kids dressed and ready for school only to be delayed looking for a sock that matches?”

The SockDock® keeps your laundry room/home neater and less chaotic, but most importantly, it saves you money. Less mismatched socks mean you don’t have to buy new pairs and that leads to significant savings. There are no longer random socks sprawled all over the floor, or laundry baskets full of mismatched socks. In addition, this new product is child safe. Great attention to detail went into the design, to make it extremely durable and child safe. It is so easy to use, children as young as three years old can use this system. Here’s how it works in just a few steps:

Step 1: Hang one empty SockDock® on a doorknob or closet rod near a laundry hamper.
Place dirty socks on the SockDock® (secure the first pair of socks between the bottom two buckles—one pair of socks in each slot). Press the button on the buckle above the socks and slide it down to the socks. Add dirty socks daily.

Step 2: When the SockDock® is full of dirty socks, remove the hanger and toss into the washer & dryer with other laundry.

Step 3: Remove the SockDock® from the dryer and hang it in your closet.
Socks are neatly stored and organized in the closet, eliminating the need for a sock drawer.

The SockDock® is also ideal for traveling. When it’s time to pack for a vacation, socks are ready to go. Hang the SockDock® in your garment bag, or toss it in your suitcase.

This new laundry sock organizing system retails for $19.99 and is sold in pairs—one for clean socks and one for dirty socks. SockDock® is available in a rainbow of five colors: Light Blue & Black, Red & White, Dark Blue & White, Light Blue & White and Purple & Gold. Currently sold online at SockDock.com and in select stores in Clayton, NC. Plans for national distribution are in progress.

Sustaining Grayce [book review]

Sustaining Grayce

Remember when you were 14 years old? Remember how hard it was? Let me assure you, Grayce’s 14th year was worse. Here’s a shy, nice girl using all her energy just to keep it together when the school principle asks her a favour—carry co-student Peggy’s books to and from all her classes while she adjusts to her crutches. Grayce agrees to the task, not seeing much alternative, and is surprised when a friendship develops with the pretty, lively, now-one-legged girl.

Through 14 chapters we observe the birth, life, and death of a best friendship. We see how love can cover pain, and how prayer can make us strong. We see how telling the truth releases us from shame and takes power away from our secrets. We see how acting in kindness and obedience are scary but lead to good in the end.

Sustaining Grayce by Sandra Hare is a beautiful story you can read in an afternoon. It’s well-written and gripping. I did find it interesting how an unchurched 14-year-old had become such a master at biblical interpretation and correlation—that would be a miracle in itself—but most of the plot was engaging and believable.

If you’re looking for a sweet story about saying the important things and being vulnerable, I recommend this book.


Sustaining Grayce

Grayce is coping with as much stress as a fourteen-year-old can handle, and then she is asked to help Peggy, a fun-loving teen who happens to be fighting cancer. Share the laughter and heartache as Peggy and Grayce try to live normal lives amidst the craziness that swirls around them. Set in Lancaster, Pennsylvania during the late 1960’s, Sustaining Grayce explores how two girls with totally opposite religious beliefs and very different families can learn to love each other and the broken people surrounding them. Their story is a miracle made possible only by God’s sustaining grace.

Are We Happy Yet? [book review]

Are We Happy Yet? Eight Keys to Unlocking a Joyful Life

Are we happy yet

What would you say if I told you there’s a formula for happiness? What if I told you happiness is available to all but isn’t something you’re entitled to? Would you believe me if I told you happiness comes from inside and not from anything external—not stuff, not people, not circumstances?

What would you say if I told you the keys to unlocking happiness were available in paperback?

Are We Happy Yet? author Lisa Cypers Kamen says happiness comes from the transformative power of self-mastery, and that happiness isn’t the destination but a byproduct of the journey.

Curious? There’s more.

In her book, she confronts common objections for why we aren’t or can’t be happy. Trauma, genetic depression, real problems, etc. Not discounting the challenges we face, there are ample exercises and quizzes to help us gauge where we’re at happiness-wise and arm ourselves with the data we need to move forward, towards a happier life. She challenges us to deal with the mental horde of stuff packed away in our attic and take a more emotional minimalist approach—let it go!

Eight Keys to Unlocking a Joyful Life

  1. Life is tough, but happiness is available to us all
  2. Your inner child is your inner sage available to guide you
  3. More is not always better
  4. We cannot control life, only ourselves
  5. Our happiness is our personal responsibility
  6. Choose activities and people that foster happiness
  7. Treat yourself the way you wish to be treated
  8. Happiness is an inside job. Happiness is your inside job

Each of the eight keys is defined, explained, and unpacked using storytelling, clear language, and motivational exercises. If you’re wondering where your happiness roadblocks are, this book will help you define, deal with, and move past them.

The new revised edition of Are We Happy Yet? Eight Keys to Unlocking a Joyful Life releases March 20, 2017.


Are We Happy Yet? Eight Keys to Unlocking a Joyful Life

Are We Happy Yet? Eight Keys to Unlocking a Joyful Life is an exciting fusion of science and heart, offering a guide in creating our own personal “happiness revolution.”
Lisa Cypers Kamen, an internationally known applied positive psychology coach, lifestyle management specialist and Harvesting Happiness Talk Radio show host, gives us the keys to her breakthrough system for cultivating sustainable wellbeing and happiness in our lives from the inside out— regardless of external circumstance. Lisa’s techniques combine mental, emotional and spiritual muscle-building training for greater resiliency, self-mastery and optimal living.

Her inspiring and practical tips, keys, and exercises will boost your “Happiness-Factor” to new levels and show you how to tap into the joy and peace you deserve.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Accept the past for what it is—a reference point, not a destination
  • Embrace the truth that while life is tough, you can be happy
  • Transform your relationship with yourself from enemy to ally
  • Appreciate why less is often more
  • Focus on what’s right with your life, not what’s wrong
  • Control the only person you can—yourself
  • Invest in yourself to become more mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually fit
  • Use your newly discovered joy to become a more positive and productive influence in the world—and much more

Are We Happy Yet? Eight Keys to Unlocking a Joyful Life is available at your favourite neighbourhood or online bookseller.

Jeff Herman’s Guide To Book Publishers, Editors and Literary Agents [book review]

If you want a lighthearted yet no-nonsense guide to traditional publishing, look no further than Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors and Literary Agents 2017: Who They Are, What They Want, How to Win Them Over.

No, really.

I love writers and publishers guides. They’re on my Christmas list every year. But this is the first one I’ve read cover to cover and come back for more. And that’s saying something.

Laid out like any other writers guide, there are essays and articles on writing advice, publishing information, and an introduction to planet literary agent before getting to the good stuff. The listings. Who’s buying, who’s selling, who’s looking for what and when. It’s all good stuff, and I can’t get enough.

Jeff Herman has a wonderful sense of humour, which helps make typical writing and publishing advice come alive and keeps the reader engaged. The listings follow an interesting format, with the agency or agent answering a series of questions. It gives you a good sense of who they are and what they do and each get equal space in the book.

Agent Questions

  • Describe the kinds of works you want to represent
  • Describe what you definitely don’t want to represent
  • How do you want writers to pitch to you?
  • Describe your education and professional history
  • How did you become an agent?
  • Knowing what you do now, would you do it again? If not, what might you do instead?
  • Do you charge fees? If yes, please explain
  • When and where were you born, and where have you lived?
  • What do you like to do when you’re not working?
  • List some of the titles you have recently placed with publishers
  • Describe your personality
  • What do you like reading/watching/listening to on your own time?
  • Do you think the business has changed a lot over the past few years? If yes, please explain
  • What do the “Big 5” mean to you?
  • How do you feel about independent/small presses?
  • What are your feelings about self-publishing?
  • Do you think Amazon is good or bad—or both—for the book business?
  • What do you like and dislike about your job?
  • What are ways prospective clients can impress you, and what are ways they can turn you off?
  • How would you describe the “writer from hell”?
  • Describe a book you would like to write
  • Do you believe in a higher and/or lower “power”?

Thorough, right?

There’s also a section dedicated to Canadian publishers, which I heart.

Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors and Literary Agents 2017: Who They Are, What They Want, How to Win Them Over is available now from Amazon, Chapters, jeffherman.com and anywhere else you buy books.


Jeff Herman’s Guide To Book Publishers, Editors and Literary Agents

The Writer’s Best Friend and Bible!

Writers, agents, and editors all agree that Jeff Herman’s Guide is the must have, go-to reference for everyone who writes. This book will get you past the slush piles and into the hands of the people who have the power to publish.

Description

With Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors and Literary Agents you will learn the names and contact information for hundreds of agents and editors, and will be given the “code” for how to win them over. More comprehensive than ever, this 21st edition will give you all the insider information you need to get published, including how to write knockout pitch letters and proposals, as well as an expanded Canadian section.