Archive for: ‘December 2016’

Saturday Matinee – Christmas Movies!

December 28, 2016 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy


This Christmas season, I did something a little bit different. I watched a bunch of Christmas movies – movies that I’d never seen before. Below are the movies that I watched. Have you seen any of these films? If so, what did you think about them? Do you have any good Christmas movies to recommend?


In A Christmas Tree Miracle, a selfish, well-to-do family discovers the true meaning of Christmas when they lose most of their worldly possessions. The most optimistic character in this movie is the little girl. She plays the cello and she has a strong faith. I enjoyed this movie very much. I thought the acting was very good and that the story really captured the true meaning of Christmas. It’s difficult for me to tell more about the movie without giving spoilers. If you’ve seen this movie, I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts.


A Merry Friggin Christmas

In this movie, a young man (Boyd) is determined to show his young son the true meaning of Christmas. He and his wife have the ultimate Christmas planned for their son. But, due to a family event, their plans are unexpectedly changed. Boyd must return home to his alcoholic father’s house, a place that he wants to avoid at all costs. All Boyd wants to do is forget his dysfunctional dad’s attitude about Christmas – his father’s attitude has made Christmas difficult for Boyd while he was growing up. Boyd ends up going on an unexpected road trip – forcing him to take a good, hard look at his life.

I enjoyed this movie – not a lot – but, felt it was decent. It kept me entertained.


Christmas Angel

Ashley is all alone this Christmas. She needs to find a job to support herself and her dog, Dash. Her neighbor, Nick, offers her a unique job opportunity – secretly helping others at Christmas. She also encounters a young man during her job search and there is attraction between the couple. However, Ashley is a loner, she pushes people away and is afraid to trust.

I thought this movie was okay. It didn’t really keep me very intrigued. There was a good, strong message in the film, which was nice to see.


Christmas Grace

When Gary, a toy-store owner, finds himself in competition with Jim, his life changes drastically. Jim has purposely opened a toy store across the street from Gary. Jim is a bitter man, determined to see Gary fail as he runs his toy store. He really wants to put Gary out of business and that appears to be his main focus in this movie.

Out of all the movies I watched this Christmas season, this one was at the bottom of the list.

I didn’t like this movie at all. I thought the acting was terrible. I also thought the story had a lot of holes – I didn’t really understand Jim’s motivation for opening a toy store directly across the street from Gary’s. He wants Gary to fail, but his hatred for Gary is not personal at all – in most creative works, there is more reason as to why one character dislikes another person so strongly. They do depict why Jim is bitter in general – but I still thought his vendetta against Gary was not fully explained. From what I can gather, he just randomly decided to target Gary, buy a toy store across the street, and make it his goal to put Gary out of business. Made no sense to me.

I do applaud the makers of the movie for the inspirational message in the story. It is hard to rely on God when bad things happen to us. We need to learn to accept God’s grace and move forward with our lives.



The Christmas Candle

Out of all of the Christmas movies I watched this year, this one was my favorite. This is the story about a legend of a Christmas candle in a small town. Whomever receives this Christmas candle will get a Christmas miracle. A new preacher who comes to town tries to debunk the Christmas candle “myth”. He wants the townsfolk to place their faith in Jesus, not in a candle!

I really loved the acting and the scenery in this film. So good. This is an enjoyable movie for your holiday season.


A Christmas Kiss

I really loved this romantic movie. Wendy is the personal assistant for her vindictive boss. When Wendy kisses a stranger in the elevator, her life drastically changes. When she encounters this stranger, she’s in heavy makeup. When she sees him again, he doesn’t recognize her – but she’s distraught when she discovers the stranger’s true identity. This movie had some interesting twists and turns. It was a nice, unpredictable holiday romance.


Christmas Miracle

In this movie, due to a heavy snowstorm and an auto accident, eight strangers are forced to spend Christmas Eve in an abandoned church. Each of these folks are dealing with serious issues. They somewhat talk about their problems while they are snowbound.

I thought this film was okay – a bit boring. I suppose there were so many people involved in the main story line that it was hard for me to connect with all the characters.


Christmas Tail

In this movie, one dog brings two people together. Due to a misunderstanding a single dog ends up with two owners. The two owners find a way to raise the pooch together, in spite of living in different houses. Both of the owners are single parents – the female is dealing with major problems at work.

I thought this movie was kinda cute, but not fabulous. I liked how the dog was used to bring the two single people together.


A Beverly Hills Christmas

In this movie a spoiled Beverly Hills teenager loses her cold-hearted mother in an accident. Her mom returns as an angel – she wants to show her child how wrong her actions have been. To vindicate herself, the teen works in a soup kitchen.

This movie shows how people can be changed if they really make the effort. I enjoyed watching this and I also enjoyed the romance, too.


The Wizard’s Christmas

This movie was….strange. I enjoyed it….some. I’m not a big fan of magic and wizardry in movies and I thought those elements were a bit “over the top” for me. I did sympathize with the characters – this movie showed how two folks divided can cause disharmony among many people.

Oh, this has nothing to do with the content of the movie, but, I didn’t care for the way the character’s bodies were drawn. They looked long, thin, and just plain weird.


Paper Angels

An abused woman and her two kids escape from her alcoholic husband, making a fresh start in a new town. The fresh start proves rocky for her son – they’re poor, and he doesn’t fit in with the kids at school. He loves basketball and playing at the community center opens new doors for him.

This movie was realistic and it dealt with the subject of cyber-bullying. Overall, I thought this was a good Christmas movie.


The Christmas Switch

A swindler is visited by an angel. The angel offers redemption if the swindler agrees to switch bodies with a sickly old man. The sickly old man needs a young body so that he can play Santa Clause one more time. The swindler doesn’t want redemption – he wants a million dollars instead. The angel grants his wish.

This movie kept my interest. I enjoyed it. Great inspirational story.


Falling For Christmas

This wholesome movie is about a professional figure skater who pushes herself too hard. Injured, she has to go away to a recovery center – her coach is anxious for her to get better. Being at the recovery center makes the skater take a good, hard look at her life.

This was a nice, sweet, sappy romance movie. It reminded me of the Hallmark Channel movies.

Oh, I recognized the woman who played the mom, Lisa Whelchel. I recall seeing her on The Facts of Life when I was a kid. I realize she now does Christian-themed roles. I recall her also having an advice column for the now-extinct Today’s Christian Woman magazine.


Everybody’s Fine

An elderly man is excitedly expecting all four of his kids for a visit. When all of the kids cancel, he takes it upon himself to visit each out-of-town kid on his own via bus/train. The journey proves interesting as he unexpectedly shows up on each child’s doorstep. He discovers that things do not always appear as they seem – why won’t his kids tell him the truth about their lives?

I really enjoyed this film. It shows how kids can forget how important it is to make time for elderly parents. Parents will always worry about their kids – and I don’t think some kids realize that until they are parents themselves. I really liked how the old man saw his kids – when the kids walked into the room, he had a flashback of the way that kid looked when he/she was a child. I thought that was cute. Overall, this was a good, emotional movie.

So, have you seen any of these movies? If so, what are your thoughts about them? Do you have any good Christmas movies to recommend?

Hope Under Mistletoe

December 27, 2016 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy


Hope Under Mistletoe by Jessica R. Patch

Has your church ever held services in an alternate location?

I loved this book! One reason why I loved it so much is because the hero, Knox, owns a bar. You don’t find that in Christian fiction very often. I felt this book was so realistic – the characters sparkle and come to life in this wonderful book!

Eden is a widowed pastor’s wife. She’s raising her young son alone and their church has just been burned to the ground. While waiting for their church to be rebuilt, they need to find a place to hold services. The local bar is the only place big enough to house all of the church’s members.

The bar is owned by Knox, Eden’s deceased husband’s best friend. Knox has never been Eden’s favorite person – he’s worldly, plus, she’s always been attracted to him. When she asks if the church can temporarily use his bar as a meeting place, he’s hesitant. Knox has always been attracted to Eden, but, she was off-limits since she was married to his best friend. Plus, Eden doesn’t approve of his worldly ways.

Knox, a former hockey player, doesn’t know what he should do. If Eden knew his secret, she’d run for the hills and never speak to him again. Can he be truthful to her, and, can he learn to forgive himself for his sins?

You should read this endearing book for the holidays! This novella is a great Christmas treat!

So, has your church ever met in an alternate location? Where else has your church held services?

Christmas background with snowy fir trees

Sleigh Bells Ring!

December 17, 2016 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy


Sleigh Bells Ring – Four Contemporary Romance Novellas

Have you ever had unresolved differences with a parent? Have you ever lost a parent before you could resolve those differences?

In Sleigh Bells Ring, four sisters are summoned home after their father dies. All four of the sisters were estranged from their dad when he’d died. They carry a lot of pain and regrets – wishing that they could have resolved their differences. As each sister returns to their horse farm (their childhood home), they take a step back in time as they re-encounter folks from their youth. The sisters need to come together as they decide what to do with their horse farm – should they sell it, or, should they keep it in the family?

This book gives a glimpse of how past pains can affect our current lives. It’s also a story about forgiveness. This is a good, heartwarming read for the Christmas season.

So, have you ever had unresolved differences with a parent? Were you ever able to talk about your issues, and tell your parent(s) how you felt? Have you ever lost a parent and wished your relationship could have been better before their death? 

Sunday Brunch – What Did Moses See?

December 16, 2016 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy


Deuteronomy 34:1-4

New International Version (NIV)

The Death of Moses
34 Then Moses climbed Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab to the top of Pisgah, across from Jericho. There the Lord showed him the whole land—from Gilead to Dan, 2 all of Naphtali, the territory of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Mediterranean Sea, 3 the Negev and the whole region from the Valley of Jericho, the City of Palms, as far as Zoar. 4 Then the Lord said to him, “This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it.”

What do you think Moses actually saw when he looked at the Promised Land? 

My question might not make any sense, so, I will elaborate. Moses saw the Promised Land, but, due to something he’d done, something displeasing to God, he was not allowed to cross over into the land. Well, what I want to know is, when Moses was standing on Mount Nebo, what did he actually see, literally? I want to know what the land looked like. Yes, it’s a land flowing with milk and honey, but, that does not really give us a very good description.

The land was rich with produce, lush fields, large grapes…I just wish I could see a picture of it. I wonder if there’s anyplace on this earth, today, that resembles what Moses saw when he was standing on Mount Nebo? 

I wondered if the land may have resembled the Garden of Eden – a paradise. I want to see it with my own eyes.

So, what do you think? Do you think there’s anyplace on this God-given earth, today, that resembled The Promised Land – the land Moses saw with his own eyes more than two thousand years ago?


Giveaway – Frosting and Flurries!

December 15, 2016 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

box set 2


Frosting and Flurries Book Giveaway – you must read the interview, comment, and enter to win! Please follow the link – it’s an author interview on author Alexis Goring’s God is Love Blog!

What’s Your Favorite Christmas Memory?

December 14, 2016 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy


What’s your favorite Christmas memory? Leave a comment and tell me more about it!

Spin It Like That – YA Novel – Free Dec 1 – 5, 2016

December 1, 2016 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

Spin It Like That by Chandra Sparks Splond is a YA novel that’s available for free until December 5, 2016. Download a copy for yourself and your teenager! I haven’t read this novel yet, but, I do have it on my TBR list!

Sixteen-year-old Jasmine Richardson has a love for music. When she gets on the turntables, her gift for spinning and rhyming earn her admiration and respect. She’s also talented academically, but her parents disapprove of their daughter’s hobby, hoping it’s a phase she’s going through. Still, Jasmine finds it hard to deny the joy and freedom she feels when she’s playing music that makes people smile and dance. After a local contest, Jasmine attracts the interest of some music-industry honchos. Then the attitudes of the people around her seem to change and she’s forced to face some tough situations. Suddenly it becomes harder for her to tell who’s really happy for her and who’s totally a fake. But when the music is in your heart, and your talent shines bright, sometimes all you can do is…spin it like that.