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

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Stand with Coram Deo Studios

Brad Silverman and Russ Rice of Coram Deo Studios are launching a new film and they are enlisting support from the Christian community. They are attempting to make the boldest Gospel-centered family film ever.  Take a look at the video below to hear more about this new endeavor from Brad and Russ.

Here is a synopsis of the new movie from Coram Deo Studios.

“This touching & poignant family film traces the story of husband, father & author Scott Dempsey who calls himself a Christian, but his life simply doesn’t reflect it. He can talk the talk – but doesn’t walk the walk. That is until Al Watson (a seventy-five-year-old African American who happens to be the Jackie Robinson of NASCAR) befriends Scott’s young family and lives out a loving, Christ-like example before them. Over time, Al presents Scott with the true, Biblical, regenerating gospel of Jesus Christ… then the real journey begins.” The film will go into production early next year and plan for Summer2015 release.

If you would like to know more about this project and to support the movie with your dollars, click on the link below.

click here to find out more information. 

Produce is Coming To Theaters!

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You Never Know Where Hope Grows

This year has been the year filled with movies based upon the Bible. The new year seems to be no different and may even deliver many more faith films than 2014.  There is a new film called “Produce” that is slated for theaters in the Spring of 2015. This is a film that not only entertains, but leaves you inspired. You will appreciate the simple things in life and gain a greater understanding of how to view the world with a little different perspective. Check out the trailer and keep your eyes open for “Produce” the movie.

Veggietales MacLarry Coming Soon!

Veggietales-Maclarry-Stinky-Cheese-Battle-Christian-Film-Movie-DVDBig Idea is set to delivery a new episode from the award winning kids series VeggieTales. This time Larry The Cucumber takes the lead as “MacLarry” and brings us a lesson in getting along with others. Always a great reminder for kids and adults for that matter and as always audiences are served a brand new Silly Song (caution, may cause extreme laughter and singing unexpectedly in the car). The bad news is that you will have to wait until July 27th to secure your own copy.  The good new is that we have the trailer for you to view. Oh, and by the way you can pre order your copy from http:///www.kidzonearth.com.

 

Overview of  MacLarry:

A long time ago, in a land flowing with beards and kilts, there lived two clans who were locked in a longstanding feud! The tribes plotted against each other with various pranks, including water balloon ambushes, bad haircuts, and a host of other hijinks! Dwelling amongst these perpetual pranksters is “MacLarry” — a well-meaning young inventor who just wants to make kooky gadgets!

Try as he may, he has never mastered the art of pranking, even after much training from the Chief prankster himself; his father, Chog Norrius. Discouraged, MacLarry sets on a journey to find the great inventor “Archie-medes”, in hopes of finding a place he can belong. Meanwhile, the feud is escalating and Chog’s clan is plotting their biggest prank yet; releasing the stinkiest cheese in the land on their rivals! When the cheese caper goes afoul, Chog and the people realize they aren’t able to solve the situation on their own — they need MacLarry’s special skills to save the day! Will Chog and the tribe find MacLarry in time to convince him that his unique and God-given gifts are just what is needed to help both clans from being overcome by the loathsome Limburger and resolve their differences for good?

Pre order from http:///www.kidzonearth.com

Home Run The Movie Hits Theaters Today!

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The long awaited release of the new baseball themed movie Home Run hits theaters across the nation today ( check the films web site for theater listings). Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and freedom are apart of America. Well freedom is also the central theme in this new theatrical release from Samuel Goldwyn Films. Home Run takes you on a journey of a man with a bright future, but is haunted by a troubled past. Home Run is a must see film that will entertain and inspire audiences and will also remind us all that there is hope in our  journey of life. There are multitudes who are living life without hope and their addictions have completely overtaken and ruined their lives. My hope is that this movie will not only entertain, but will cause many to look inside and deal with their hurts, habits and hang ups that are keeping many from experiencing FREEDOM!

PLEASE NOTE: The movie is rated PG13 and is for junior high and above. The movie deals with some challenging topics and is not a movie for younger children.

HERE IS A SYNOPSIS OF THE MOVIE FROM THE HOME RUN WEB SITE:

Baseball all-star Cory Brand knows what it takes to win in the big leagues. But off the field, with memories of his past haunting him, his life is spiraling out of control.

Hoping to save her client’s career and reputation after a DUI and a team suspension, Cory’s agent sends him back to the small town where he grew up. Forced to coach the local youth baseball team and spend eight weeks in the only recovery program in town, Cory can’t wait to return to his old life as quickly as possible.

As his young players help him experience the joy of the game, Cory discovers his need to find freedom from his past and hope for his future … and win back the love he left behind. With this unexpected second chance, Cory finds himself on a powerful journey of transformation and redemption.

Based on thousands of true stories, HOME RUN is a powerful reminder that with God, it’s never too late … freedom is possible.

Check out the Home Run Movie trailer and than buy a ticket and go see Home Run this weekend!

Not Today The Movie – In Theaters April 12

This Friday is a BIG weekend for a few films that will deliver a poignant message that is sure to impact the psyche of our culture. The movie “Not Today” is most definitely one of those films and was birthed out of a desire to educate and challenge society to do something to stop slavery.  This is a giant issue to tackle and can be a challenge to really understand what a person can do to make a difference. Some may just ignore the issue and miss this movie altogether. So here’s a cliff note version of what your actions can do and simply start right here. First,  please understand that as you support the film and spread the word this helps create a successful opening weekend. As a result more people will be hearing about the movie and this issue and will explore their roll in helping to fight against slavery. Secondly, your ticket to see the movie is their ticket out of slavery. As a result of spending your money you are partnering with Friends Media and the Dalit Freedom Network who have committed to building 200 schools that will assist in rescuing thousands of children out of the human trafficking business and will give them a new life full of hope.

Not Today is a film that will grab your heart and leave you compelled to do something well beyond the credits. Please check out the movie, invite some friends, talk about the issue and how you can make a difference. Please note that Not Today is not necessarily a family movie because of the subject matter ( PG-13).

SYNOPSIS OF THE MOVIE:

Caden Welles has the world at his disposal. With the resources of his wealthy father, he’s living life as large as any 20-year-old could dream. But what happens when that dream becomes a nightmare halfway around the world?

Traveling with his friends to Hyderabad, India on a whim, Caden’s expectations of a never-ending party crash hard. But not as hard as his conscience when he refuses to help a starving man and his little girl. Haunted by the images of Kiran and Annika, Caden attempts to right his wrong—only to discover Kiran has been forced to sell his own daughter.

Caden’s eyes are now opened to a world few Americans know still exists: a thriving human-trafficking trade. Add the dehumanization of Kiran and hundreds of millions of other Dalits due to India’s caste system, and Caden could easily turn his back.

Yet spurred by a true purpose, an unlikely new friendship, and the prayers of his mother and girlfriend back home, Caden chooses to help in Kiran’s unlikely search to find his daughter.

Starring Cody Longo, Walid Amini, Shari Rigby, and John Schneider, NOT TODAY challenges moviegoers with a purpose that goes beyond its gripping story. The movie was produced by Friends Church Yorba Linda, a congregation committed to educating the Dalits and ending human trafficking in India.

NOT TODAY is a powerful reminder that change is possible if we’re willing to open our eyes … today.

“If not now, then when? If not me, then who?” Jewish leader, Hiller the Elder

Thanks for reading!

Peace

Dave Almgren

Summer Staycation Ideas for Families!

SUMMER STAYCATION IDEAS

Summer staycation ideasIt’s summer time once again and it is also time to be creative with regards to family outings that will not break the bank. Gas prices are still very high and the cost to travel can add up very fast. We have a few ideas that will apply to specific events in Portland Oregon – but many cities will also feature similar events for families. Be creative and use the local resources in your community to enrich your family summer experience. As a result you will not spend more money than you need to – but you will create some lasting memories for your family.

GREAT FAMILY PLACES TO EAT!

Check out The Grilled Cheese Grill in North East Portland (Alberta Street area). This cool eatery sits on the  corner and is an old Air stream Trailer and you order your Grilled Cheese Sandwich ( that is all they serve) any way you may want it served. Than you can mosey on over to the old school bus where you can grab a seat for the entire family and enjoy your Grilled Cheese master piece.

KIDS EAT FREE!

Many restaurants offer FREE meal for kids with with the purchase of an adult meal. These offers can really help this summer and can keep costs down as you plan you Staycation events this summer. Do a Google search to find all the kids friendly restaurants in your community. Consider going out once a week with your family and create some summer time memories. 

FREE MOVIE NIGHTS IN THE PARK!

Check your local parks for Free movies for families. Portland Oregon has a full summer schedule of Free movies in the park. Check your local parks and Rec web site for more details on times and locations and movies playing.

CREATE YOUR OWN FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT

images-1It is Friday night. What are you going to do? Going to a movie at the theater can set you back $50.00 or more images-2after popcorn, drinks and tickets. We suggest that you buy or rent a family movie and show it at home. Make some popcorn, roll out the blankets and enjoy the evening together. Another option is to check out the secondary theaters that usually show family movies during the summer at a reduced rate.

NEIGHBORHOOD MOVIE NIGHT

Or create a family movie night for your block with families in the neighborhood. This is a great way to meet your neighbors and to get outside the walls of your house. This past summer one entire street was blocked off and a screen was set up in the middle of the street for the movie. Everyone had a great time and neighbors were talking and creating memories together.

KidzOnEarth.com features a wide variety of faith and family movie titles that will deliver a great entertaining story.

Click here to view the movie titles at KidzOnEarth.com


I’ve Never Seen That Street Sign Before!

Recently I started to walk each morning instead of going to the gym to walk on the treadmill for some daily exercise. Why you might ask (or might not).  The gym is so nice and new with the high tech equipment. Anyway – It’s cheaper for one thing and also not as boring as the enclosed upstairs of the gym.  I also am able to join my wife and enjoy her company on each walking adventure.

The  last few times I have begun to noticed elements that I had never seen before.  Really – I never noticed!   Northeast Wiberg Lane was one of the things I have missed for years.  I have driven down this street hundreds of times and never noticed the name of the street. You see when you are driving your car your eyes are always on the road ( which is a good safety guideline to follow).  As a result you miss details. They may seem like unimportant details – but details non the less.

Another item was as I walked under a tree and looked up in the branches to see five birds nets. Something I had never seen as I quickly drove down the street in a hurry to my next destination.

So how does this apply to life?  Well – it can be applied in the following manner.  Slow down and notice the small details in life. Enjoy the journey and those who are on the adventure with you. Life is short and fleeting and happens at light speed. Life is about relationships, memories and taking care of others.  True happiness is not found in the accumulation of stuff – but rather in living simple and uni-cumbered by piles of material possessions

So next time you want to exercise – walk in your neighborhood and take in all the surroundings and enjoy the journey.