Jason C. Stanley

ponderings of a dad walking humbly & seeking justice

Tag: family (page 1 of 2)

Book Review: Liam Takes a Stand

Liam Takes a Stand, Troy Wilson, Owlkids Books, 2017.

Liam loves his older brothers, Lister and Lester. The brothers are twins who are competitive with one another. They strive to outdo the other.

Liam, however, just wants to play.

Liam wants to be with his brothers so badly, that when they each open their own lemonade stand, he offers to work for them. Even for free. But his brothers reject his offer.

Instead, Liam takes on various odd jobs in the community, from walking dogs to cutting grass. When Mrs. Redmond pays him with a basket of apples, it inspires an innovative idea. While his older brothers were trying to attract larger crowds, Liam opens an apple juice stand.

Pretty soon, Liam’s stand takes all of his brother’s business, and they go into debt. They end up coming to their little brother asking for a job. Liam hires them to work and to play.

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Comic Review: New Super-Man Vol. 1: Made in China (Rebirth)

New Super-Man Vol. 1: Made in China collects issues #1-6 of New Super-Man. The volume is written by New York Times best-selling author and National Book Award nominee Gene Luen Yang and illustrated by Viktor Bogdanovic.

The Story (a.ka. From the Publisher)

An impulsive act of heroism thrusts an arrogant young man into the limelight of Shanghai as China begins to form its own Justice League of powerful heroes. As the government creates their own Superman, will they live to regret the person they’ve chosen? Rising from the ashes of SUPERMAN: THE FINAL DAYS OF SUPERMAN and the death of the Man of Steel, will this New Super-Man step up to the challenge, or be crushed under the weight of his hubris and inexperience?

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An Afternoon at the Zoo

Friday afternoon we had some family time at the Virginia Zoological Park in Norfolk. We first explored the zoo a few summers ago when we were in the area for a family vacation. Once we moved here, we knew we had to get a membership. Now, it is one of our favorite places in town.

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‘Lego Batman’ and the Importance of Family

Lego Batman movie poster“You can’t be a hero if you’re only thinking about yourself.” -Barbara Gordon

The team behind the 2014 surprise box office hit, The Lego Movie, had produced a fun, kid-friendly comic book movie in The Lego Batman Movie.  Will Arnett, who returns as the voice of Batman/Bruce Wayne, is the perfect humorless, brooding Dark Knight.

The film is full of fast-moving bricks that successfully draws on decades of Batman lore. From the 1960’s television series to Batman v. Superman, references to the Dark Knight’s multifaceted phases are made . . . . and they are brilliant! The references include the “na-na-na-na” theme song and the classic “POWS.”

The pop references do not stop there. The Joker unleashes a myriad of Warner Bros. villains onto Gotham city, who have all been chilling out in the Phantom Zone. Villains such as Voldemort, King Kong, Gremlins, Eye of Sauron, the Wicked Witch and her flying monkeys, and Godzilla. These references are clearly placed for the benefit of the parents. And, so, on behalf of all parents, I say, “Thank you.”

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My PaPa

This was the eulogy/homily I gave at the service of death and resurrection for my PaPa, Ernest Carter Stanley. Some of the stories you may have heard in a sermon or at a youth retreat, or read here on this blog. I read Revelation 21:1-7 from the small, pocket Bible that a chaplain gave him during World War II. 

PaPaI had spent most of this warm, summer day helping my Momma clean, which is exactly what every middle school boy wants to do on his summer vacation, right? I managed to do what I think every middle school boy would do, escape under the phantom excuse of needing to take a walk. To my surprise, I actually did take a walk.

With the rural Virginia dirt under my bare feet, I set out on the longer of the paths that led through the woods behind the house, over the creek, and around the goat lot to the back field.

As I walked, I came upon the first creek to cross. I jumped over – well, really just stepped over – being careful of the barbed wire attached to the tree to my right. I stepped over the barbwire, with one foot on the ground and the other foot in the air when I heard it. It was a sound I had never heard in the woods before. I froze, listening intently to discern where the sound was coming from.

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Pete’s Dragon: Discussion Questions

Petes-Dragon-Movie-PosterPete’s Dragon is the newest family film from Disney. It is a brilliant film filled with adventure, laughs, and plenty of tear-jerkers. It is a great film to take a youth group, or other group, to. You can read my ponderings on the film here.

Below are some discussion questions you can use with your group. I’m sharing them here for those who are looking for such a resource. As a Christian educator, I should tell you, if you use these questions, don’t feel like you have to use them all. If anything, let the questions be a guide to having a conversation around the themes presented in the film.

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Giveaway: ESV Family Devotional Bible

ESV-Family-Devotional-BibleStudies have shown that the most influential person for a young person’s faith is his or her parents. The ESV Family Devotional Bible aims to help families read and study scripture.

This hard back Bible includes the entire English Standard Version (ESV) of the Bible. A fairly new translation, in the midst of quite a few to choose from, the ESV is not all that different from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV). The ESV seems to have been presented as an alternative to the traditionally used King James Version.

The ESV Family Devotional Bible includes 130 key stories retold, along with questions and a key verse. There are colorful illustrations for each devotion as well. At first the illustrations were a bit nostalgic, as they reminded me of the pictures in the story Bible at my grandparents’ home. I’m not sure, however, they would be the most kid-friendly today.

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Book Review: We Just Had a Baby

We Just Had a Baby_coverWe Just Had a Baby, Stephen Kresnky, Capstone Young Readers, 2016.

When a newborn baby comes home, it’s an adjustment for everyone. For Mom, Dad, the pet, and especially the older sibling. It has been found to be helpful to read books about new babies to young children before the baby arrives. It helps give them the language to help talk about the new baby.

When these changes take place, it can be difficult for the older sibling, especially if she or he is a toddler, to express the emotions around having a younger sibling. What makes We Just Had a Baby different from other books similar to it, is that the book is told from the perspective of a toddler. The language is appropriate for children ages two to five, and is clever and funny in its depiction of a toddler’s point of view.

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Book Review: The Big Penguin Party

penguinThe Big Penguin Party: A Find Me If You Can Adventure, Christian Jeremies & Fabian Jeremies, Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2015.

 This is a fun children’s book that combines the love of Where’s Waldo with I Spy. This is a fun interactive book that promotes parent/adult and child interaction while reading. In this way the illustrations in the book are just as important (if not more important) than the written story.

The penguins (and who doesn’t love penguins?) are preparing for Grandma Penguins 90th birthday party. The children are invited to help prepare by helping the penguins find various items.

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Scandal 2.19: Seven Fifty-two

Ponderings - Scandal Season 2 recapsThere is one sure way to pull at the emotional strings of the Scandal audience: Make us feel Huck’s pain. This episode is about Huck and how be became who he is. After getting out that storage container, he has been in a state, in the corner of his office. Nobody has been able to help him, and Olivia has been in the hospital. Huck starts chatting, “7 52.”

But first, let’s take a few moments to deal with Fitz and Olivia. The Secret Service will not allow Harrison to go visit Olivia because the President is back there somewhere. Interestingly Harrison only tells the other Gladiators that there was a high profile person on the same hall. Cyrus, who is underused in this episode, especially if we are to believe that is Albratros, shows up to explain to the President that this is not good for him to sit at the hostipal in the middle of the night with his mistress for a “late night booty call.”

Cyrus: Markets panic, reporters swarm, Defcon levels change. . . .

Fitz: Cats and dogs will finally get along?

Hmm, that sounds like:

Fitz is a little too late when it comes to winning Olivia over. Remember that he had asked her to wait for him because he was going to divorce Mellie, but after he found out about Defiance, he changed his mind. Olivia has vowed to give up the President. But then the President makes this little speech in her hospital room:

This past year I have learned only one thing — that I cannot exist without you, that I cannot breathe without you, that the man I am without you … I’m nothing, and you are everything and I need you to give me another chance. I demand another chance. We’re worth another chance.

Olivia falls into his embrace, only to push herself out of it. “I can’t. I can’t,” she says as she slams the door to the bathroom.

The same Secret Service guy that would not let Harrison see Olivia, told Mellie where the President was all night. When Fitz returns to the White House, Mellie has bags packed. She is moving into Blair House for awhile, giving Fitz time to think through everything. She has given him a choice: Olivia or family. If he chooses Olivia, she will go public and start talking to the press.

The episode is filled with flashbacks to Huck’s life, which start 14 years ago when he is a returning Marine. He surprises his girlfriend Kim as she reads a story to her class. He has an interview for some government job. It is CIA related, and Huck doesn’t want anything to do with it. He is told that it is either this job, that pays very well, or another tour as a Marine. Huck doesn’t want to go back overseas, so he takes the job. Charlie becomes his teacher, teaching him how to deal with enemies of the state.


Kim ends up pregnant, Huck and her make plans to get married. Huck is beyond happy. Even his attitude at “work” changes. Everything is great, except when he comes home one day and finds Charlie there. Huck has a family. That is breaking one of the rules. He is told by Charlie to take care of it or he will. Before Huck can move his family out of DC, he is taken in and placed in a small, dark, hole. He stays there until he says that he does not have a wife and child.

When put back on the job, Huck freezes and is unable to torture. Charlie tells him that his orders were to kill him if he couldn’t handle it. But instead, Charlie tells Huck to run, and never contact anyone again. Charlie and his boss report to the Big Boss that Huck has been terminated. The Big Boss is the mystery man from the park.

Throughout the episode, the Gladiators take turns talking to Huck. In a way, they open up and share how they truly feel about being a Gladiator. It is very revealing. Abby, for example, tells Huck that after years of abuse made her unable to trust and question if she was ever right about anything, she says, “David might love me but I owe Olivia my life.” There is a strong sense that Olivia saved each of them from their own lives and their own mistakes. The best moment of the episode is Olivia telling Huck that he saved her.

Seven fifty-two refers to the time when the subway train carrying Huck’s wife and son arrived. AT 7:52am every morning, Huck is there to watch them.

7:52 - Scandal Season 2

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