As news of the peace talks with the Fox rebellion falls upon my ears, all I see is weary eyes finding rest as family members of the Marvel house are reunited once again. We all see a bright future with the hope of X-Men and Avengers unite for the first time on the silver screen. I wish you all the best and hope the Fox rebellion will come to their sense for the greater good of all.
However, that is not the sole purpose of this letter.
News of the latest Star Wars film reaching great reviews and rumors of it breaking records again are stirring around the web again just as before. The excitement of seeing it with my family is beyond words, and I highly doubt that I will be disappointed.
Yet, that is still not the rumors I wish to speak of, nor the rumors of an unaltered original trilogy release, though that would be nice. No, I wish to speak of rumors that lay below rumors.
Thoughts that many Star Wars fans like myself have thought about but dare not to speak of it for fear of chasing the wind. Of building excitement and anticipation for something that will never be. To be content with just what-ifs and dreams of what it would look like, or should I say nightmares.
Yes, you know what I speak of, you have daydreamed of it as we all have. Hints of horror, a shrouded mystery, a path of discovery to a darker place, a darker tone, possibly even the first R rated Star Wars movie.
Yes, I speak of a Star Wars movie about the First Sith Lord!
Accept it, Disney! You have thought about the what-ifs as well, of a movie that had the feeling of those three minutes in Rogue One that made the audience feel fear and awe all at once for Darth Vader.
Take it, Disney! The timing is perfect to start this and have it ready before Episode X! To launch a new stage of Star Wars movies spanning not only the timeline from before the Old Republic and Episode X but also the themes and tones.
Feel the power, Disney! With you resetting the Star Wars canon, you have full control to tell it as you like! Nothing is in your way from ultimate power and taking the Star Wars Universe to its full potential!
I can sense the inner turmoil in you to reject this unnatural feeling, but the Dark side of Star Wars is a pathway to many great films that some would consider to be unnatural.
The choice is your Disney.
Do or do not. There is no try.
From a lonely fan of Disney and Star Wars,
Thanks for reading!
Thanksgiving: How to Plate your Plate
It's that season again,
and if you say Christmas, you're wrong and unthankful.
One of my favorite holidays is almost here! Where your extended family comes over for fellowship, sarcasm, questions, laughs, and most important of all, food.
With so many delicious options, you have to be ready when you get to the front of the line to fill your plate. You don't want to find yourself running out of room because you thought four spoonfuls of mash potatoes in the middle of your plate was a good idea.
That is why I am writing this, to help you prepare for when your time comes so you can get the most out of your first trip because we know seconds aren't guaranteed.
First: Plate handling.
No matter how great you are at placing and organizing your food, gravity will always ruin it. That why plate handling is the base of it all. Don't worry about a drink or silverware. You can go back later for that.
No matter if you are using your grandmother's china or paper plates, you must have your hand completely under the plate with fingers spread out like a football player that catches footballs. (As you can tell, I know everything about sports.) If you are just holding it by the edge, stop. You will be using too much energy and concentration on keeping it balance with mainly your fingers, and before you know it, your roll will roll right off, so don't roll like that. Your mindset here should be that your hand and plate are one. You can practice this with a plate and four apples or other round objects and do the Cupid Shuffle. Once you have that down, you won't have to worry about plate handling on game day.
Second: Priority Placement.
You will want everything. The first thing you come to you will want to fill your plate with it because of your excitement.
Do Not Do It!
Before your turn even arrives you need to have your priorities of food ready. What is absolutely necessary? What is nice to have? And what can I live without if it doesn't fit on the plate? You can't be stumbling to an answer on the day, or you will find yourself rushed through the line and all you have is roll and cranberry sauce.
Editorial Note: If you don't want your food touching, you are doomed.
First, divide your plate in your mind into two sides.
On the left half, divide it again into thirds, this is where you will place your three favorite foods also know as the Towering Three. You should scoop a hefty spoonful or two regular spoonfuls of these.
On the right half, place your turkey next two one of the Towering Three that makes sense to have some mixing. Next, to the turkey place a regular spoonful of your fourth favorite food, better known as the Fourth Love, this should be a food that you can place half on the turkey, and it still tastes great. This will save you room in the long run. This should leave about a sixth of your plate open as a catch-all for new foods you didn't anticipate or the mighty roll. To save room place your roll on your turkey with the butter scrapped on the side of the plate near it or the mash potatoes.
Lastly, if you are still unable to get all the food you need in a single run after following all my advice, place yourself at the table with easy access to the food. This will also set you up for success when it comes time to the desserts.
Even if you don't follow this simple set up, I hope this article will at least mentally prepares you for Thanksgiving so that once you sit down, you have the best food with the best family company, even if they ask you that question they ask every year.
Thanks for reading and Happy Thanksgiving!
Charlie Brown is the creative property of the Charles Schulz Estate
The Dream Killer
When I was in college, one of my biggest fears was getting a 8 to 5 desk job, because I thought that was the dream killer. I dreaded it as I perceived it as selling out, as choosing security over passions. This worry lasted well after I graduated and influenced my decisions in looking and selecting jobs with irregular or flexible schedules for it to work around my sporadic writing sessions. This season lasted about a year after I graduated and I quickly learned that jobs with flexible schedules fit into two categories: They don't pay enough for the bills, or you are always on call with little down time. If these jobs are your dream then awesome! But if they aren't and you are only in it for the money and schedule so you can chase your dream, you may want to rethink it.
It was almost a year since I graduated and started working in real estate before I bit the bullet and got a full-time desk job. Was I scared that I was taking the easy way out? That I was selling out by not having three part-time jobs that could work around my writing to having a single job? That in a blink of an eye I would be forty and had left my dream in the closet collecting dust? Yes, I was scared that all that would happen. So, I stayed extremely conscious of my surroundings, and let my friends know so they could help me, as I started my first full-time desk job. Observing, fearfully, what my time would look like and just what would happen. It was about two months in when the realization set in, and I found the dream killer.
It was myself and how I allocate not just my time but also my finances and energy. It was, and is, learning to force my writing to bend to my schedule and not just to write "when I feel like it." Learning that though I work Monday to Friday 8 to 5 I still had the evenings to write and the entire weekend. That the time is there no matter the job, you just have to use it. Choosing to discipline myself in writing after work even if I was a tired or drained. Cutting out the YouTube binge and the Facebook scrolling that, if I'm not careful, will take over my entire evening. Putting money where my passion is and saving for the editing, book covers, and marketing even when the Nintendo Switch looks amazing!
Now, keep in mind, I still do some of those things, but they have just been bumped down in priority, and I'm trying to consciously be aware of how much time I spend with them. I still play video games but after I get my writing done. I still watch YouTube, but I try, and fail a lot, to watch stuff that will improve my story telling. I have time for Netflix, but it's after I read, I'm not that good at this one either. And life will send you stuff that will force you to put your dream on the back burner for a bit. But once that stuff has settled or passed, the choice is back to you to bring it forward to a front burner.
Basically, in the end, the only thing you can blame for killing your dream is yourself. But here is the best part about dreams. They can easily come back to life because of Christ. They can change and evolve to the real dream God wants you to chase and glorify Him with, because in the end, that's the point of the passions and dreams we have, to glorify Him with them. And if your dreams aren't doing that, we need to ask Him to change them, so they do or kill it and replace with the one He has given you. Trust me; God is much better at choosing your dream than you are.
Thanks for reading!
Though I was twenty-three when I had my first girlfriend, I still had no idea what I was doing. I had asked some great girls out, want on some truly fun dates, and had two DTR talks(Define The Relationship) before I found a girl who was actually interested in moving forward too, and I was on cloud nine when that happened. It's a great feeling when someone is like, "yeah, let's see if this leads to marriage," however after that comes the work which, with the right person, will be worth it.
Many people gave me great advice before, during, and after my first relationship and I wished I listened to more of what they said during it all.
Remember, I am not an expert, these are just some of the wise words people told me and personal lessons. A story from an expert, in my opinion, will be at the end of this by my fantastic father, Drew Ellenwood!
1. solitude is risky
Be it in a home alone or a parked car alone, when two people of the opposite sex are alone together and are 'interested,' only bad things can happen. That doesn't limit it to physical either; topics can be dangerous too as they can venture into subjects too deep at the moment or just unhealthy and inappropriate discussions. A good counter is being in public places together, coffee shops, restaurants, or with friends. Leading to the next one. (Segue)
2. groups are healthy
Community is essential. It is healthy to see the other person in different environments as it helps both of you get to know each other in a safe place. That being hanging out with their friends, your friends, or mutual friends, very rarely is community wrong. Seeing how they get along with your friends and you with their friends helps you get to know them better, from them personally or from their friends. A healthy relationship won't force you to abandon your friends for it. Good friends will want to support both of you as you two should support them back like friends should, just like family. (Better Segue)
Though, if everything goes well, you will get married and leave your family to start your own with your spouse. This doesn't block them out forever as they will still be involved in both of your lives. Getting to know the family and seeing how their relationship is with other members and you is important because they won't be going anywhere.
Side note about parents: they are a great glimpse of what the person you are dating will be in the future, just like you. It is not the norm for someone to not be like one of their parents. Trust me; I am a lot like my dad. (No Segue Here)
4. tough talks
During all this, stuff will come to mind. Conversations will come to light that will need to be discussed. They aren't the typical "how many kids?" or "where to live?" questions which are important and should be talked about but are harder to state broadly for everyone ones. I'm talking about the topics that are unique to each couple that would be easier to avoid, and you will want to avoid them. You will think of excuses for not bring it up, the timing isn't right, it will just make them uncomfortable, or they don't want to talk about it. These conversations will vary and be unique to each couple but must be discussed sooner rather than later as it is better to talk about them now instead of five years into marriage.
Side note: both parties must want to have these talks and must both agree on the topics to be discussed now and the topics to wait to talk about for engagement for protecting both parties. (Segue by contradicting myself)
5. protect the hearts
Now, to help make it clear, with these tough talks, and just spending time with them, you will get close to past pains, deep fears, and long struggles you have. All of these things your future spouse will need to know to help you carry those burdens as you help carry their burdens. At the moment though, they aren't your spouse, and if they do know these things, it can end up hurting both of you even more if you all don't end up as husband and wife. Now, if you find yourself confused on what you must talk about or stuff to wait for until engagement, that is where community and older, wiser people come into play to help both of you know how to traverse the topics and the journey itself. When in doubt, ask someone who has been there before.
Now, you could listen to all the points I gave and even the wiser words of my father below, but if you don't have Jesus at the center of the relationship, it will all be in vain. Because in the end, it is all about Him.
Now to the good stuff!
Below is the manuscript my father used when he gave his marriage testimony at his church last Sunday and after reading it, I knew I needed to add it! Thanks for the permission dad!
Drew Ellenwood's Marriage Testimony
When Jeff asked me for a testimony on marriage, I reminded him that I’m single. But a testimony is a description of a scene or the relating of a story. I will tell you a story of a marriage. Its characters are Dona and I. And as any story, this marriage has a beginning, a middle, and an end.
I was a senior at OU, and Sandy and I were pre-Christmas history. Alone again… naturally. It was just past Spring Break and I wanted a date for the coming weekend. Who to call? Dona or Marty? I picked up the phone and called… Marty. But she was busy that weekend and I didn’t want to wait until the next, so I proceeded to the second on my short list. Sure enough, Dona could go. Just as well. Months later I saw Marty with her feet up in her chair at a nice restaurant. Yikes.
The date with Dona was a disaster, or so I thought. We couldn’t seem to keep a conversation going. We ate at Sweet Peas in Oklahoma City then stopped on the way back to Norman at an arcade where I watched her play Ms. Pacman. And as I watched, I knew she’d never go out with me again; I had proven too boring.
But she did. We dated a couple of months before she went on a summer mission trip to Spain. I entertained the idea of asking Amy out while she was gone. I mean, there were no rings on anyone’s finger yet. But I couldn’t get Dona out of my mind. I had to eat crow and ask Charlie Ann for Dona’s address in Spain.
“Didn’t get her address, huh?”
“Did you say ‘goodbye’?”
“Hmm. Well, here’s her address, though she’s probably found a cute Spaniard.”
Now, international mail is frustratingly slow. This was before cell phones and emails. On the day I had been sailing – my first and last time as I capsized the boat and lost the mast – and with Christopher Cross’s “Sailing” in my head, I got home to an airmail letter. Mast lost or not, it was a good day. No mention of a Spanish hunk. And I started understanding what falling in love is about.
She came back. And soon I thought I might propose. I asked my parents, my mentor, my best friend, Dona’s disciplemaker, and my grandparents if this was a wise choice. You know, real love is deeper than romance; it is wisdom. My advisors were unanimous, though my grandmother warned that with marriage comes enough exposure of the heart for it to be broken. Let’s not skip to the end yet.
One date before Dona and I were married we learned a lesson that stayed with us. I took her to My Pi Pizza. Neither of us wanted to tread on the other, so we hemmed and hawed over the menu.
“What do you want?”
“O I don’t care, you choose.”
“No, let me know. Which do you like?”
And on it went. We ended up with a pizza neither of us liked because neither of us had opened up about what we really wanted. The lesson: Marriage is not compromise. You want compromise: try Congress, though they don’t even get there now. Marriage is consensus. Compromise and you end up with what everyone can tolerate. Consensus is talking and listening and coming to a decision better than what either had thought before.
During We Bought a Zoo, Scarlett Johanssen tells Matt Damon, whose character is recently widowed, that the word ‘cage’ is not used in zoos anymore. They’re called ‘enclosures.’ Then she says, “My brief marriage: that was a cage.”
He replies, “Not mine.”
So we come to the middle part of our story: Wedding, honeymoon, finishing school, starting a career, raising kids, buying a house, riding the ups and downs of finances and health and family. The humdrum. With Dona, it was nice.
In marriage Dona and I let our guards down and showed all the fear, desires, and ick of our hearts. But to do that, you must trust each other and you must be trustworthy. There are to be no weapons pointed against each other. It’s like what Dennis Quaid says in the movie In Good Company that you choose who you’re going to be in the foxhole with, and when you’re out of the foxhole, you keep your pants on. Marriage is not everyday a fight. Marriage is everyday a united front.
This person is your companion. Not some dude sitting with you in a deer stand, not some chick you share coffee with. They are friends and have their place. But your spouse is your intimate companion.
Dona knew my moods, and I have many. My poor kids are left with me, the weakest one. Dona was the level-headed of us. She could calm me down by simply saying, “Drew.” She never sprung stuff on me when I had just walked though the door. She encouraged my silliest dreams, even sent me one weekend to merely write. She didn’t get angry because I can only think on one thing at a time. She would simply say, “Drew, look at my face.” Then she had my attention.
And me? I studied her. Men, don’t throw up your hands and tell me you don’t know what to buy your wife for her birthday. Go in her closet and see what she wears, what is her size, what has she pushed to the back wall. We can memorize football scores and baseball statistics; we can figure out our wives’ desires.
Dona and I were watching While You Were Sleeping and the dad says to Jack, “Why didn’t you tell me you didn’t want my business? I could have sold it to Uncle Eddie for twice its worth. I could have taken your mother on a cruise with Kathy Lee Gifford.”
I looked over at Dona and said, “Would you like to go on a cruise with Kathy Lee Gifford?”
“If I went on a cruise,” said she, “I’d rather go with Mickey Mouse.”
Hmm. So for her 50th birthday I sprung a surprise on her and told her to pack her bags because the next day we were leaving on a Disney cruise.
This was after she had fought cancer for a few years. Things were going well. I even wondered if I should waste the money on something as trivial as a cruise. But was it the Spirit or no? I was reminded of Jesus saying, “The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”
And I didn’t always have her. I had really wanted to have a Golden Anniversary. But life rarely takes your desires into account.
There came a day the oncologist said there was nothing more to be done, and Dona stated matter-of-factly, “Let’s go home and live until we die.”
We took one last little trip up to Mount Magazine, bringing along her medical equipment. A month early for her birthday, but this was good. She died four days after her 52nd birthday. I was sitting by her bed in the room she loved in our house, reading her verses from Isaiah, as she passed. But this is not a bad thing, my friends. What better way to pass to God than to hear your love read those beautiful promises from Isaiah and next hear Jesus speak your name.
The center of the family is not a person. It is not the husband; that is tyranny. It is not the wife; that is bitterness. It is not the children; that is delinquency. The center of the family is a relationship, an unshakable one, the marriage relationship between the husband and his wife. This is security for man, woman, and children. And at the core of that relationship, if it is to hold at all, is Jesus. Even cancer cannot rattle this.
Yes, my grandmother was correct. A heart can be broken. Yet I would never trade those years married to Dona. So, give yourself to Jesus, have a daily Quiet Time, and cherish one another as long as it is called today.
And make your own story a happy one.
If you haven't seen the teaser watch it!!
I know! You got really excited and then saw we still have eight months till the release and disappointment washed over you. Instead of thinking how long we have to wait just think about how awesome the gang looked in their ghost busters outfits and how genius they were for not showing us Eleven, which raises the question what Chapter will they bring her back? Chapter 11 or the last chapter? I doubt that since they showed with the first season to wrap major things up but to leave a lot of little questions for us.
I'M SO PUMPED!!!!
Oh yeah, update.
Well, first, sorry about the enormous absence of blogs for the past several months. I have been occupied with a lot of work, school, work, and work. I am now a licensed real estate agent after several months of studying and I am enjoying it so far. I will go into further detail about all that in a later blog. Besides that, I have made progress in The Dragon and the Lumberjack I'm in the final edit BEFORE sending it to the beta readers. After that, I will fix the grammatical mistakes, character inconcinnities, and plot holes they pointed out and then, the editor! While it goes through those edits away from me I will be working on my next book that won't be the conclusion to the Thornhill trilogy but the start of a whole new series not of this world. ;)
Also, if you are interested in becoming a beta reader for The Dragon and the Lumberjack please contact me through my website or any social media.
Thanks for reading!
I love movies! so it shouldn't be a surprise that I also love watching the Oscars when I get a chance. Making predictions of winners from a list of movies that, most of the time, I've only seen one or two when the Oscars start is fun to me, though it's never on the ability of the movie alone. usually, my father and I will take into account who has won recently or hasn't gotten a nod in a while. However, when you are judging not just movies but all types of art, should these external factors be considered?
You may be thinking, though,
"But wait? Why are we judging art? Can't we just appreciate it and be done with it?"
That's a good question and let me answer it with a question. Is there art you don't like?
Whenever we face a new movie, song, book, or painting we are judging it. We observe and judge, whether we like it or not, if we like that art or not. This depends on a whole lot of little things that I may do a blog on itself because it would make this blog way too long.
Anyways, back to the main question, should we think of external factors of the art when judging it? Should we consider what was happening in Leonardo Da Vinci life when he painted The Last Supper when we observe it? Or the best-selling books C. S. Lewis earlier in his life when we read The Chronicles of Narnia? No, you don't.
Now, am I saying we should shut our ears and eyes to any information about our favorite writers, painters, musicians, and all the other artist we find talented? Of course Not! But what was it that first brought you to that artist? The art itself. Now, some of you will answer the artist themselves was the first to introduce us to their art but even then, you will still judge it. In the end, the art has to first stand on its own two feet by itself. Even when it's your best friend that has given you the art, you can be a bias of course but the art still has to stand on its own. And once the art can stand on its own then we can start having a greater appreciation of it when we discover more about the creator of the art and how many aspects of their life from opinions and beliefs to hopes and fears are integrated into it. But it all had to start with the art standing on its own two legs alone. Does it have to stand up for ever one, though? Well, that is a talk for another time.
Thanks for reading!
A new year, a new blog.
A lot of people have told me that since I'm a writer I should start a blog. And with our planet making a full circle around our sun again, I thought this would be an appropriate time to start one.
What will I be blogging about? Not really certain at the moment. I can tell you up front they will be short and on different subjects. I've never been a fan of long winded blogs or click-bait titles. I can also tell you they will mostly be about stories, (I guess I am certain). Be it updates on my book or movie script writing, my thoughts on the books I've read or the movies I've seen, or my love of some nerdy thing like the Lord of the Rings or Batman. However, don't be surprised when I blog about something random like Tacos.
One reason for this blog is, of course, to entertain you, the reader, and cause you to think out side the box on occasion. But the main reason for this blog is for me to disciple myself in writing. To start creating the habit to write something daily. To have deadlines for my blogs so I can learn to write with a deadline and give my books deadlines.
Why would I do this? Add deadlines to my passion? To my creativity? Because I want to hone my skill, to grow it, to make it better and that doesn't happen with me just sitting around reading books about writing or watching interviews of famous writers, it gets better by doing it. So, here I am. Doing it.
Told you it would be short.
© 2015 S. W. Ellenwood. All rights Reserved.