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Movie Review by Jonathan Hoard – Midnight Clear

| December 2, 2011 | 0 Comments
Midnight Clear Movie Jacket

Midnight Clear Movie Jacket

Without a doubt Christmas is becoming more and more secularized, so much so that some would argue that there never was any spiritual value to the holiday. Many would simply relegate it to the place of a child’s celebration. And yet it seems that no matter how hard we might try to run from the meaning of Christmas it keeps coming back around to us. Lest we think it is merely the calendar performing this work we need only look inside to see that somehow this season has somehow taken hold of our heart. Interestingly, Christmas has a way of causing us to reflect on our lives, what we have done, where we have been, what we have lost and maybe even to ask ourselves, “What is the point?” By no means is any of this reflection a public spectacle. These thoughts and feelings are easily buried under shiny paper and drowned out by the noise of parties. Ironically, many will pass through all the joyful celebrations of Christmas while quietly nursing a broken heart or trying to fill the whole in their soul. Worse than that, is that in the midst of our busy days we will brush past many a life that is barely held together as with clear tape, struggling to mask their broken heart with pretty paper. This is the theme of Midnight Clear.

Midnight Clear is based on a short story by Jerry Jenkins and stars Stephen Baldwin. It is a Christmas movie, but far from the typical holiday film. It tells the story of five individuals whose lives cross paths on Christmas Eve. Each life would appear normal at a distance, however as the story unfolds we see that each character faces struggles that push them near the breaking point. It appears that it is Christmas itself that seems to not only reveal the depth of the sorrow but also compound it. Whether it is a lost love, a dead end job, a broken home or a life ebbing away, every character is forced to reflect on the purpose of their lives. In the journey of self reflection each one finds that though it was Christmas that seemed to bring their pain to the surface it is also Christmas that holds the answer.

This film is certainly much darker than many would be used to in a holiday film but I think you will also find that it will warm your heart as well. The acting is quite a bit better than most independent movies but it’s low budget does show through in some scenes. This is a slow moving drama that will require the viewer to get involved with the characters and identify with them. As we open ourselves up to this film we begin to see into our own hearts and also see a little deeper into the lives of those around us.

At first glance it would seem that Christmas is what we make it. All to often though we see that there is something about Christmas that makes us what we are. As you busy yourself with the giving and receiving of gifts take some time to reflect on the gift given us all at Christmas. I think you’ll find that it is more than the life of a baby but life itself. And remember, we can’t rightly celebrate life given to us while all the while failing to share that life with those who are so thirsty for it.

Please send your comments to jm_hoard@hotmail.com

Fun Summer Bike Ride Through Seldovia in 2010

| December 1, 2011 | 0 Comments
Summer 2010 Bike Ride Through Seldovia

Summer 2010 Bike Ride Through Seldovia

Enjoy this  link to a video of  a bike ride that I took through Seldovia last summer!  One of the main reasons our family moved to Seldovia back in 2002 from Fairbanks, was the small community – where our children could enjoy the simple pleasures, like bike rides in the streets with their friends!  We felt that it was so essential for them to experience the joy of independence that is so important in developing confident and adventurous kids with a love for the outdoors and a sense of community spirit!

So, you may not get ALL of that from this little video – but it is a small taste of the life we so enjoy here in Seldovia!  Tranquility, friendships with neighbors, plenty of fresh air and exciting adventures to be had while enjoying the beauty of small waterfront town in Alaska!  We invested in this lifestyle – what a great decision!

Thoughts to Ponder… "It’s What you Scatter" author unknown

| December 1, 2011 | 2 Comments
SeldoviaMarbles

SeldoviaMarbles

I was at the corner grocery store buying some early potatoes… I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily appraising a basket of freshly picked green peas.  I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas. I am a pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes.  Pondering the peas, I couldn’t help overhearing the conversation between Mr.. Miller (the store owner) and the ragged boy next to me.

‘Hello Barry, how are you today?’
‘H’lo, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus’ admirin’ them peas. They sure look good.’
‘They are good, Barry. How’s your Ma?’
‘Fine. Gittin’ stronger alla’ time.’
‘Good. Anything I can help you with?’
‘No, Sir. Jus’ admirin’ them peas.’
‘Would you like to take some home?’ asked Mr. Miller.
‘No, Sir. Got nuthin’ to pay for ’em with.’
‘Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?’
‘All I got’s my prize marble here.’
‘Is that right? Let me see it’, said Miller.
‘Here ’tis. She’s a dandy.’
‘I can see that. Hmm mmm, only thing is this one is blue and I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?’ the store owner asked.
‘Not zackley but almost.’
‘Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and next trip this way let me look at that red marble’. Mr. Miller told the boy.
‘Sure will. Thanks Mr. Miller.’

Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me.  With a smile she said, ‘There are two other boys like him in our community, all three are in very poor circumstances. Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas, apples, tomatoes, or whatever.  When they come back with their red marbles, and they always do, he decides he doesn’t like red after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce for a green marble or an orange one, when they come on their next trip to the store.’

I left the store smiling to myself, impressed with this man. A short time later I moved to Colorado , but I never forgot the story of this man, the boys, and their bartering for marbles.

Several years went by, each more rapid than the previous one. Just recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho community and while I was there learned that Mr. Miller had died.. They were having his visitation that evening and knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them. Upon arrival at the mortuary we fell into line to meet the relatives of the deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could.

Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an army uniform and the other two wore nice haircuts, dark suits and white shirts…all very professional looking. They approached Mrs. Miller, standing composed and smiling by her husband’s casket.  Each of the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her and moved on to the casket. Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one; each young man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket. Each left the mortuary awkwardly, wiping his eyes.

Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and reminded her of the story from those many years ago and what she had told me about her husband’s bartering for marbles. With her eyes glistening, she took my hand and led me to the casket.  ‘Those three young men who just left were the boys I told you about.  They just told me how they appreciated the things Jim ‘traded’ them. Now, at last, when Jim could not change his mind about color or size….they came to pay their debt.  We’ve never had a great deal of the wealth of this world,’ she confided, ‘but right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man in Idaho .”

With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased husband. Resting underneath were three exquisitely shined red marbles.

The Moral:
We will not be remembered by our words, but by our kind deeds. Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.


Today I wish you a day of ordinary miracles ~ An unexpected phone call from an old friend….. Green stoplights on your way to work….
The fastest line at the grocery store…. A good sing-along song on the radio…  Your keys found right where you left them.

IT’S NOT WHAT YOU GATHER, BUT WHAT YOU SCATTER THAT TELLS WHAT KIND OF LIFE YOU HAVE LIVED!

Book Review by Tamara Rose Blodgett – Stephen T. Harper's – King's X

| November 30, 2011 | 0 Comments
An epic chase across many lifetimes.  “The Maltese Falcon” crossed with “The X-Files”- A smart suspense/thriller and a gorgeous, swashbuckling historical adventure united by a stunning twist, reincarnation as it’s never been done before.  
What happens when we die?  Is it Nothing?  Is it Something?An Ancient Legend:  Long ago the King’s X was stolen from its makers… And with it the thief carried off a great secret. No one truly dies.  We all must return again and again.  Few will ever recall the truth.  One can never forget it.A Relentless Chase: Wendell Book is a young detective stuck working the dark side of Hollywood in the vice division.  When Molly breaks into his apartment looking for his long-dead father, Book knows this runaway girl is different.  Somehow, in ways neither of them can yet see, Book and Molly are connected.  Now Book must protect her from an Enemy he could never have imagined and Molly must remember the rest of her story.  The King’s X is hidden somewhere in Los Angeles, right where she left it…long before she was even born.


WoW…just wow. Harper really understands language. King of dialogue! I *believed* what all his characters were saying, both out loud and in their respective internal monologues. The men thought like men and he didn’t do too bad with the chicks either (a few times I wanted to check the cover and make sure it was a male author; he had some uncanny insights into the feminine psyche.)

Like this for instance, which I highlighted in my Kindle like the book fanatic I am,: “Her life had been too safe to need courage, and too easy to develop resolve.”

Book is a 1960’s detective on the police force driven by integrity and some gritty past circumstances that have molded him into the man he’s become. Ghosted by a haunting death in his past that he can’t shake, and misunderstanding the root of it, it dogs him into adulthood. Despite challenging circumstances in his childhood, he rises above it magnificently. I was rooting for Wendell Book from the beginning; I dug who he was and thought he sounded pretty hot too! His life changes drastically when he meets Molly, a girl “awoken” to discover she is not who she believed she was. Pieces of her past fall together in a slow mudslide of chunks, with Book intricately entwined in the memories she possesses. I loved Book’s POV, but the switch to the Christian Templar time told in third person from the perspectives of Broussard and Kahli were amazing as well. Steeped in history, the passages give a fascinating slice into life at that time,and the bravery and human motivation therein. It is the classic tale of good versus evil but it’s never stale. Never. If you’re a reader that digs fast paced action, intrigue, highly-detailed scene description, etc. This is the novel for you.
If you can survive the ending. Harper completely turned me upside down with his twist and I was pleased over the surprise of it. It made sense, it was complicated and gave me the “ah-huh” that I love to get nailed with at the end of a great read. Bravo!
A caveat: this is not a genre I’m usually nuts over. It’s a thinker: dummies need not apply (joking…kinda). A novel like this keeps you on your toes, there’s a lot going on that must be assimilated and connected by the reader, not the least of which is the history that is cleverly paced within the book. It’s a full-meal-deal. If you’re looking for dessert, skip this. It’s too satisfying by far, completely engaging from beginning to end.

King's X

King's X

Stars: 5  of  5

Genre: Historical Fiction 
Sub-genre(s): Young Adult Crossover, Action/adventure, Romantic Suspense
Elements: Light Profanity, Violence (war)
Age: 16+

Purchase Link: King’s X- Amazon $2.99
Cost: 2.99 
Grammatical/formatting issues: Nothing significant.
To view Tamara’s Blog – please click here!

Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony – Join Us!

| November 30, 2011 | 0 Comments
Christmas Tree Lighting

Christmas Tree Lighting

Cook Inlet Risk Assessment Comment Period Closing

| November 30, 2011 | 0 Comments
Cook Inlet Risk Assessment

Cook Inlet Risk Assessment Comment Period Closing