Lessons Of Grace

graceFrom early on in my adult life I knew deep in my heart that my travels through Life would be a little different from ‘the norm’.  I married later than all of my friends, started a family later, and then was blessed to have a daughter who happens to have Down Syndrome.  We had the name ‘Grace’ picked out years before she came along (it is the meaning of my name) and appropriately it means ‘Gift’.  For that is what Grace has been to our family.  It has indeed been a Journey. Grace is now 15 years old and although we get to experience the tween attitude now, we would not trade her in for anything.

Here are some of the Lessons of Grace that we have learned over the years:

  1. IT IS OKAY TO TALK TO PEOPLE ON THE ELEVATOR OR IN LINE… We all tend to avoid eye contact or just stare straight ahead.  Grace, however, loves to meet everyone and socialize with them.  We have met so many strangers over the years because of her.
  2. WHEN PEOPLE ARE SAD, THEY JUST WANT TO BE HUGGED… She is always concerned when someone is crying or sad and wants to hug and console them. Personally, I have a tough time hugging others and do not always know what to do or say when someone is sad.  Grace is teaching me that it is okay to embrace others more.
  3. IT IS IMPORTANT TO SAY “I’M SORRY” IF YOU HURT ANYONE… There were many times that Grace was the reason why other little girls (usually the emotional ones) would be crying.  She went through a long stage of pulling hair when she was young.  I think she was just fascinated with long, golden hair and would reach out to touch it, causing the owner to pull away in shock and get her hair tugged.  Yet Grace always said “Sorry..” and would then try to hug them tightly.  She did not make many close friends during this stage.LessonsfromGrace#1
  4. PEOPLE ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN TOYS… I have been asked multiple times what Grace’s interests or favorite toys are.  It has always been people.  She came out a social butterfly and chats away with anyone she engages with.  However, she has also embarrassed me at times with her strong opinions.  One time someone we met was so excited to get our girls together and Grace took one look at the daughter and said “I don’t like her!” They eventually did become friends, yet that was quite humbling.
  5. SOMETIMES WE JUST NEED TO STOP AND TAKE A NAP… Anywhere. Anytime.  Enough said.
  6. IF YOU ARE SAD, JUST SAY “I AM HAPPY” AND FORGET ABOUT WHAT WAS UPSETTING YOU… Of my three kids, Grace gets over a foul mood quicker than any of them and flashes a smile to let us know that she is happy again.  If only it was that easy for the rest of us!
  7. IT’S IMPORTANT TO WAKE UP EACH MORNING WITH A SMILE… Grace has always been a morning person and now that she is getting older we hear “what’s next?” a lot.  This is tough when we have no plans or she is not excited about “what’s next”.  Yet, unlike her older brother, she always starts the day in a great mood, ready to conquer the Day.
  8. WE ALL WANT FRIENDS WHO LOVE US AS WE ARE AND DO NOT STARE AT US IF WE MAY BE ‘DIFFERENT’… Being my social bug, Grace has made lots of friends over the years.  Bless the ones who have patiently listened to her passing obsessions (over and over again).  We all just want to have people listen to our hearts, don’t we?
  9. WE NEED MORE OF THE ‘OH, WOW SYNDROME’…That is what I call it when Grace is next to me one second, and then missing the next.  What was so fascinating that caused her to say in her head “Oh, wow!” and then take off after it? This was not always logical and yes, we ‘lost’ her temporarily a few times in stores and in our neighborhood.  Now she at least looks back at me like, “Oh, yeah..I’m supposed to check in with you first”.  I need to look around more and find wonderful things that attract my attention.
  10. TO BE CONTENT IN LIFE IS A GREAT THING… There is a stereotype with these wonderful kids with Down Syndrome. The stereotype is that ‘They are always so happy’.  Always happy?  No.  Content?  Yes.  I long to be content with what is going on in my Life, to embrace each day and each person I encounter and to be content.

Grace has been a wonderful gift and is teaching us about living life with a different perspective as we move forward in our journey in life as a family.

“Grace is a pleasant surprise…Grace is a kind gesture.  Grace is something you did not expect.  Yet Grace is something you would never turn down.”  Max Lucado

Have a grace filled day!

Karis Almgren

Faith and Family Film 2016 Schedule

Here is a list of the upcoming films.

Risen Movie February 19th 2016 trailer available

Vanished the next Generation – February 2016 trailer available

The Young Messiah – March 11th, 2016 trailer available

Miracles From Heaven in Theaters March 16th

God’s Not Dead 2 – April 1st , 2016 trailer available

Ben Hur Movie -August 2016 trailer available

I Am Not Ashamed – The Rachael Scott Story.

Join hundreds of thousands of believers on April 20th, 2016 in theaters all across North America. On the 17th anniversary of the Columbine massacre, a new movie will share the true inspiring story of a high school student whose compassionate faith caused her to reach out to fellow students – including her killers.

I Am Not Ashamed – The Rachael Scott Story.



Woodlawn is a Movie For Such a Time is This!

12088446_1363387020434203_8412621502137478954_nWOODLAWN arrives in theaters in one week and is ready to score BIG with audiences across the USA. WOODLAWN bows on an aggressive 1500 screens on Friday October 16th.

WOODLAWN is an entertaining and inspiring story that is based on a true story. The film has an incredible cast that includes Jon Voight, Sean Astin, Nic Bishop, Sherri Shepherd, Caleb Castile and a few more. Click here for more info on the cast. 

I really enjoyed how the directors shot the film. They wanted the audience to feel like you are right in the middle of the football action.You really feel like you are apart of the team and as a result the directors give you a unique perspective from the huddle to the end zone.

SYNOPSIS OF THE MOVIE: “A gifted high school football player must learn to boldly embrace his talent and his faith as he battles racial tensions on and off the field in WOODLAWN, a moving and inspirational new film based on the true story of how love and unity overcame hate and division in early 1970s Birmingham, Ala.

Tony Nathan (newcomer Caleb Castille) lands in a powder keg of anger and violence when he joins fellow African-American students at Woodlawn High School after its government-mandated desegregation in 1973. The Woodlawn Colonels football team is a microcosm of the problems at the school and in the city, which erupts in cross burnings and riots, and Coach Tandy Gerelds (Nic Bishop) is at a loss to solve these unprecedented challenges with his disciplinarian ways.

It’s only when Hank (Sean Astin), an outsider who has been radically affected by the message of hope and love he experienced at a Christian revival meeting, convinces Coach Gerelds to let him speak to the team that something truly remarkable begins to happen. More than 40 players, nearly the entire team, black and white, give their lives over to the “better way” Hank tells them is possible through following Jesus, and the change is so profound in them it affects their coach, their school and their community in ways no one could have imagined.”

I believe WOODLAWN lands in theaters for such a time as this. It does not take long to see that our world is upside down right now and something has got to change. As we look back in time, all the social engineering did not work in Birmingham and fast forward to today and it’s still not working. It was not the social engineering that brought change in Birmingham, it was a move of God that saved WOODLAWN high school and as a result had a deep impact on individuals, the school, the city and the state of Alabama.  We need healing, unity, racial reconciliation and we need revival in our country.

WOODLAWN is a story about a high school that was saved by a revival. It is a powerful story that does not need to stay in the history books, but it needs to happen again.

Revival happened in Birmingham and it can happen again in your city!!!

Check out the trailer for WOODLAWN and share it with your friends and make plans to see WOODLAWN on opening weekend October 16th!

Lights. Camera. Take Action!

There is a new movie that opens today in theaters all across the USA. You may or may not have heard about it. This film broke records in April by using an ‘on demand” model to bring the film to theaters. Over 70k families all over the USA went to the film and loved the movie.  As a result of the films HUGE success using a limited release model, Freestyle Releasing presented the opportunity to distribute the film in a traditional release on June 5th, 2015. That is today!!

Beyond the Mask is the movie and it’s a revolution in faith- based film making. It’s full of action, adventure, romance and redemption. BTM is a wholesome and clean movie that will entertain from beginning to the end. There is no bait and switch in this film (no language and none of the rude and crude elements that find their way into many so called family movies). I would go as far to say this is a “must see” movie this weekend! This film has depth in the story and cast and takes you to the early years of the history of our country and  the struggles that many faced in birthing a new nation. The sets and special effects are beautiful and simple amazing to watch. The cast includes Kara Killmer (Chicago Fire),  Andrew Chaney ( Seasons of Grey), John Rhys-Davies ( Lord of the Rings) to name a few. See additional video interviews below.

I am excited for Beyond The Mask and the success that the film is experiencing and with your support this weekend “Beyond The Mask” will continue to break records.

So “take action” this weekend and go see “Beyond The Mask” at a theater near you!

Check out the theater listings at Beyond The Mask web Site.

See you at the movies!  David Almgren

Here is the trailer for the film;

Check out the interviews with some of the cast from the film ( John Rhys-Davies):

Interview with Andrew Cheney:

Interview with Kara Killmer;

Theater Industry Wants More Family Films

Faith and Family Films

filmstrip familyfilms

This just in . . .

The theater industry is looking for more family films and they are saying that the lack of the family genre is hurting their box office numbers. Well – this is interesting and very telling. Many have felt that there is a HUGE void regarding the lack of choices for families these days when they venture out to take in a film at their local theater.  So with this void, the question that rises to top for me is this. Will there continue to be a void or will the dark hole be filled with some creative, quality family films that engage, entertain and leave audiences wanting more?  Frances Schaffer ( Author and Theologian) often talked about how the church has abandoned the arts over the years and really stepped away from creative expression.  I believe that the church should be setting the standard and…

View original post 182 more words

New on Netflix – Veggietales In The House!

I am excited to announce that Veggietales are coming to your house!!  Premiering this Thanksgiving November 26, 2015 as a Netflix original series, it’s “Veggietales in the House”.

According to the Netflix web site, “this all-new series and features the same characters you know and love, along with the same faith-based values and teaching you’ve come to expect from VeggieTales. We care about what young people are watching and are excited VeggieTales is launching this new series on Netflix that helps teach meaningful life lessons and makes children smile”.

Check out the trailer below for a quick overview and there is also a link to hear some of the thoughts from the original creators Mike Nawrocki and Phil Vischer. It is good to see Phil still involved with Veggietales as the brand moves forward.

For those Veggietales fans that may be looking for various Veggietales toys, plush, DVDs, music and more, check out http://www.kidzonearth.com

Here is a link to 4 FREE coloring and activity sheets for the Veggietales fan in your house.

A few word from Mike and Phil regarding the launch of Veggietales in the House.

After you check out the trailer, let us know what you think. Do you like the new look and feel to Veggietales?

“Remember, God made you special and he loves you very much!!” Bob and Larry

Dave Almgren

Faith and Family Films

Is the Movie Unbroken Broken?

Unbroken-posterA few months ago I was sitting in the theater waiting for the featured film to start. As with any movie these days, there is an onslaught of trailers before the feature actually starts to roll on the screen.  One of the trailers that caught my attention was for a new film called “Unbroken” ( in theaters Christmas Day). The trailer caught my attention, most of all because of the book that chronicles the journey of WWII American Hero Louis Zamperini and how faith in Christ transformed his life.  I will say that after seeing the trailer, “Unbroken” looks like an entertaining and inspirational movie, but is this film worthy of my $12 dollars at the box office?

In order to answer the question, I did a little research and discovered there seems to be some concern about the content in the movie and the absence of key elements to the story of Louis “Louie” Zamperini. According to an article in the Christian Post, Pastor Greg Laurie states that he is disappointed that Director Angelina Jolie chose to leave out the WWII hero’s Christian faith in the upcoming movie. If you have read the book or viewed any of Zamperini’s  interviews, his faith is an important part of the story. Pastor Greg Laurie interviewed Louis Zamperini at the November 10, 2011 Harvest Crusade at Dodger Stadium. In the interview you hear about his amazing life story how he reflects on the importance of faith in Christ in his life.

Click here to view the interview;

I also discovered a few comments from Christian Media critic Ted Baehr.  Here is what Ted stated regarding the film.

“It could be a great movie, but not without the story of his “spiritual release.” Ted Baehr

It sure seems that his conversion is just as important as his physical release from imprisonment.  It’s like saying, which wing of the airplane is more important, the right or the left wing? It’s obvious that both wings are of vital importance. So it seems with this story, the faith elements are vital to the overall story.

So, is the film broken because of the deletion of Zamperini’s faith in Christ and his conversion at a Billy Graham Crusade in San Fransisco?  I also have to ask the question, why did the director leave out this part of the story? Is Hollywood pulling a “Noah” with  “Unbroken” and leaving us to believe that they are staying true to the original storyline? According to the “Unbroken” movie web site, Unbroken is the most inspirational and faith-revitalizing film you’ll see all year.  Is this just Hollywood’s spin to convince the faith audience that they should show up and support this movie regardless of the missing elements that is said to be deleted in the film?  Although Zampareini’s conversion story seems to be left out, there are some references to faith highlighted in the movie trailer, such as a pastor preaching to a young Zamperini: “However dark the light, however dim our hopes, the light will always follow darkness,” the pastor says. But is this enough to cover the bigger faith elements that are said to be missing from the film?

In the end, is Unbroken, broken?  If you are going to see the movie as purely entertainment, then I would say that it is not. If you are going to see the movie that is based upon the book and Zamperini’s complete life story, than I think the movie is broken. You will have to decide if seeing the film is worth your time and money.

At the end of the day, I really want to support this film and I am disappointed that the faith elements seem to have been deleted from the story. Do I feel the movie is worthy of my $12 dollars?   Well, yes I do. Having read the book, I will use it to fill in the complete back story as I watch the movie. Also, understanding that the film is not a conversional story, it will indeed be conversational with multiple lessons to learn about the survival and resilience of a true American hero.

Movie Synopsis;
Academy Award® winner Angelina Jolie directs and produces UNBROKEN, an epic drama that follows the incredible life of olympian and war hero Louis “Louie” Zamperini (Jack O’Connell) who, along with two other crewmen, survived in a raft for 47 days after a near-fatal plane crash in WWII – only to be caught by the Japanese navy and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp.Adapted from Laura Hillenbrand’s (“Seabiscuit: An American Legend”) enormously popular book UNBROKEN brings to the big screen Zamperini’s unbelievable and inspiring true story about the resilient power of the human spirit.Starring alongside O’Connell are Domhnall Gleeson and Finn Wittrock as Phil and Mac – the airmen with whom Zamperini endured perilous weeks adrift in the open Pacific – Garrett Hedlund and John Magaro as fellow POWs who find an unexpected camaraderie during their internment, Alex Russell as Zamperini’s brother, Pete, and in his English-language feature debut, Japanese actor Miyavi as the brutal camp.

Old Fashioned takes on 50 Shades of Grey

Old Fashioned Movie Poster

The date has been set and both opponents have their eyes on Valentines Day weekend for the big showdown.  It is going to be an interesting lead up to the release of the both of these films. Just like the announcement on media day for an upcoming heavy weight boxing match, the challenges begin. I noticed the following question that was posted this morning by the studio for Old Fashioned and I think it is very interesting question and is drawing a very distinct and clear line in the sand.

“Which book would you rather guide your daughter’s life choices?”


You can call me old fashioned, but I am going with the one on the right! I have viewed the 50 Shades trailer in a recent set of previews and this movie is just wrong on so many levels and I believe 50 Shades will have a profound negative effect on the culture.  I believe a movie like 50 Shades are contributing to the free fall down the slippery slope as a society.

Check out the trailer below for the movie  Old Fashioned and mark your calendars for Valentines Day weekend ( Valentines Day is February 14 for those of you guys who seem to forget). #oldfashionedmovie

The movie Old Fashioned will definitely stir the pot and cause much conversation, debate and reflection about what love is and what love is not.

The Good Lie – In Theaters Now!


The Good Lie opened this past weekend in a limited release and the studio plans to go wider in the weeks ahead. I have not yet viewed the movie, but I am looking forward to taking in this film. From what I hear, this is a incredible heartwarming story of the human spirit that will cause you to stop, think and evaluate your life.

Let us know what you think about the movie.


They were known simply as “The Lost Boys.”

Orphaned by the brutal Civil war in Sudan that began in 1983, these young victims traveled as many as a thousand miles on foot in search of safety.  Fifteen years later, a humanitarian effort would bring 3600 lost boys and girls to America.

In “The Good Lie,” Philippe Falardeau, (writer and director of the Oscar®- nominated Foreign Language film “Monsieur Lazhar”) brings the story of their survival and triumph to life.   Academy Award® winner Reese Witherspoon (“Walk the Line”) stars alongside Sudanese actors Arnold Oceng, Ger Duany, Emmanuel Jal, and newcomer Nyakuoth Weil, many of whom were also children of war.

Mamere and Theo are sons of the Chief in their village in Southern Sudan.  When an attack by the Northern militia destroys their home and kills their parents, eldest son Theo is forced to assume the role of Chief and lead a group of young survivors, including his sister Abital, away from harm.  But the hostile, treacherous terrain has other dangers in store for them.

As the tattered group makes the difficult trek to Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya, they meet other fleeing children, forging a bond with Jeremiah, who, at 13, is already a man of faith, and Paul, whose skills become essential to their survival.

Thirteen years later, the now young adults are given the opportunity to leave the camp and resettle in America.  Upon arriving in Kansas, they are met by Carrie Davis (Witherspoon), an employment agency counselor who has been enlisted to help find them jobs—no easy task, when things like straws, light switches and telephones are brand new to them.

Although Carrie has successfully kept herself from any emotional entanglements, these refugees, who desperately require help navigating the 20th century and rebuilding their shattered lives, need just that.   So Carrie embarks on her own unchartered territory, enlisting the help of her boss, Jack (Corey Stoll).

Together, against the backdrop of their shared losses, the Lost Boys and these unlikely strangers find humor in the clash of cultures, and heartbreak as well as hope in the challenges of life in America.