• Header Right Box

    Liz Johnson on FacebookLiz Johnson on TwitterLiz Johnson on InstagramLiz Johnson on PinterestLiz Johnson on AmazonEmail Liz Johnson

  • Header Left Box

  • Monday Movie – Inkheart

    This weekend Amy and I drove up to Denver to visit my aunt and uncle. We’d been invited for the whole Easter weekend, but we already had plans on Easter Sunday, so we decided to enjoy just one night with them. After a lengthy round of Phase 10, a family favorite table game, we started discussing what we should do on Saturday. It was decided that shopping and a movie sounded like a good time.

    The problem was that there aren’t very many interesting movies out right now that I really want to see. I’d be up for Slumdog Millionaire. My aunt’s already seen it. Amy was up for Duplicity. I’ve seen it. It went like that for a couple rounds until we finally landed on Inkheart, which none of us had seen. But it was only showing at one theater all the way on the other side of town. It was a place called Cinema Grill.

    If you’re thinking this sounds an awful lot like a restaurant and a movie theater you’d be right!

    So it turned out that the theater was showing mostly movies that had been out for a while, and tickets were only $2.50 each. Kind of like our dollar theater here in town.

    But instead of having normal theater seating, there were tables and counters where we sat in comfy swivel chairs. We ordered food from the menu (it was pretty typical American style food) and they brought it to us while we watched the movie. It was a amazing! I’ve never even heard of a place like that. It was a dinner theater for lunch at the movies.

    While I’m usually easily distracted and I did notice the servers wandering through the theater, it didn’t really bother me. Maybe it was the novelty of it all, but I had a blast. What a unique idea.


    I confess that the movie was completely secondary to the entire experience, but I did enjoy it a lot. Based on the the book, Inkheart stars Brendan Fraser as Mo, who has the ability to read characters from books into reality. But when a character is brought to life, someone from reality has to go into the book. That’s how Mo lost his wife nines years before.

    He’s been looking for a copy of the incredbily rare Inkheart for just as long, hoping to read her back into reality.  But when he finally finds it, he and his daughter are plunged into an adventure that could only come from the pages of a book.

    It’s quite an imaginative story, and I definitely enjoyed it. I’ve heard that the movie is actually better than the books (which is so rare), but I haven’t read them myself yet. It was a blast eating my chicken fingers, fries, and sundae while watching a movie on the big screen. Quite a great weekend!

    Thinking about opening up my own Cinema Grill until next time. -LJ

    Friday Favorite – Louie Giglio and the Hubble Space Telescope

    I first saw Louie Giglio speak in person on the Indescribable Tour with Chris Tomlin. As you will likely guess, Chris was singing his song Indescribable and Louie … well, Louie was speaking about the magnitude of who God is. He used pictures from the Hubble Space Telescope to talk about how huge God is. When we consider that God spoke the heavens into existence (according to Isaiah) and then think about how massive they are,  it’s pretty incredible the size of the God who still knows us each by name.

    One of the things that Louie said that really stuck with me was that the heavens are created to bring glory to God. That the starry hosts tell His story and declare it to us. In honor of Good Friday and Easter this Sunday, I thought I’d share a couple pics from Hubble that tell the story of Jesus Christ.

    But first, a quick note about Hubble and where I found these and you can find other amazing pictures of God’s creation: According to the official website www.hubblesite.org Hubble Space Telescope’s launch in 1990 sped humanity to one of its greatest advances in that journey. Hubble is a telescope that orbits Earth. Its position above the atmosphere, which distorts and blocks the light that reaches our planet, gives it a view of the universe that typically far surpasses that of ground-based telescopes. It has beamed hundreds of thousands of images back to Earth, shedding light on many of the great mysteries of astronomy.

    Officially this is called "X" Structure at Core of Whirlpool Galaxy (M51). Unofficially, I call this amazing!
    Officially this is called "X" Structure at Core of Whirlpool Galaxy (M51). Unofficially, I call this amazing!
    FoxNews.com called this the Crown of Thorns Galaxy. Wow!
    NASA, ESA and W. Harris (McMaster University, Ontario, Canada) FoxNews.com called this the Crown of Thorns Galaxy. Wow!

    That Christ suffered the crown of thorns and the cross so that we could have forgiveness and life amazes me. I hope it amazes you this Easter too.

    And because I love Louie too and he speaks truth, here’s a clip of the end of his Indescribable talk. It’s available on dvd along with several other great talks by him. Check out his cool Passion ministry here.

    Just thankful for grace until next time. -LJ

    Where I Was

    So as I mentioned, I was in Estes Park last weekend on a mini writing retreat. I decided I needed to get away from all of the distractions at home (yes, even blogging) and set about the task of finishing my second book. But after booking a cabin near Rocky Mountain National Park, I suddenly worried that it might not be any fun going alone. So I asked Jess B if she wanted to join me.

    She said yes, and the rest is history! We tooled on up to Estes Park (I made her listen to the Dr. Horrible soundtrack no less than 3 times) and arrived at our cabin. It was beautiful. It was inspiring. It was FREEZING! Here’s the story of our stay in pictures. (And because I know you’re going to ask as there are no pictures of us writing, I did get 14,000 words written in 3 days, and finished my rough draft of the next book just 2 days after we returned. Jess finised her work in progress, and now we’re both in the rewrites stage. Ugh!)

    Oh, and we had one mega Spider Solitare tournament. I lost. Badly!

    Our cabin, decorated in wolves
    Our cabin, decorated in wolves









    we whipped up some amazing(ly quick) meals in this kitchen
    our cabin from the outside
    our cabin from the outside
    the creek behind the cabin
    the creek behind the cabin
    Jess standing in the creek in her new wellies
    Jess standing in the creek in her new wellies
    the funny sign about not standing in the creek
    the funny sign about not standing in the creek
    me and Jess (not standing in the creek)
    me and Jess (not standing in the creek)
    Rocky Mountain National Park - sans elk
    Rocky Mountain National Park – sans elk
    Beautiful, but where are all the elk?
    Beautiful, but where are all the elk?
    Ah, yes. They're in my parking spot.
    Ah, yes. They’re in my parking spot.


    Teaser Tuesday – Miss Match

    teaser_tuesdays1MizB of Should Be Reading hosts the Teaser Tuesdays weekly event

    Here are the rules:
    * Grab your current read
    * Let the book fall open to a random page
    * Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12
    *You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
    * Please avoid spoilers!

    This week’s teaser is:

    “‘So I assume that purple thing over there is yours?’ Derek asks, his truck chugging into the student parking lot.
    ‘Yeah. The other cars are intimidated by it.'”
    – From Miss Match by Wendy Toliver, page 101

    I think I should confess that while I can’t seem to finish the Newberry Medal-winning The Graveyard Book, I had no problem at all sailing through this YA in one night. Lost out a bit of sleep, but it was a cute story. Fun little read.


    Monday Movie – Dear Frankie and The Miracle Match

    Since I missed my Monday Movie segment last week, I thought it only fair to offer you two movies this week. I watched them both a couple weeks ago. Got them from the library. They star … big shocker here … Gerard Butler.  🙂 Without further ado. My thoughts:

    dear-frankie1Dear Frankie

    It’s a sweet story of a mother’s love for her son and the lengths she’ll go to to protect him. To save him from his abusive father, Lizzie tells her son Frankie that his dad is a sailor and at sea. But when the ship he’s on docks in Glasgow, the kid makes a bet with a school bully that his dad will show up at the football tryouts. So Lizzie hires a Stranger (seriously, in the credits, he’s called “The Stranger”) to pretend to be the Frankie’s dad. Gerard plays the Stranger, and he forms this bond first with the son and then with the mom.

    I wanted so badly to love this movie. I had heard great things about it, and I wanted it to be everything I hoped for. I was disappointed. It was an independent movie, which was great. But it lacked something in the story. Mostly, a conclusion. It just sort of ended. There was no wrap up or hope. Just mom and son sitting on a dock with no idea if the  The Stranger will return.

    Also, I had a lot of questions that were never answered. At the end we find out that Frankie has been harboring secrets of his own, but we have no idea for how long he’s been keeping them from his mom.  Will the Stranger return and find happiness and love with Lizzie? Will Lizzie allow herself to find roots? I find questions like that frustrating, and it really detracted from the acting and imagery of the movie, which were both top-notch. With high hopes I was disappointed.the-miracel-match

    But then came …
    The Miracle Match

    Low expectations meant the movie didn’t even have to be mediocre to meet them. And it was far better than that. The true story of the 1950 US Soccer team’s defeat of England in the first round of the World Cup was truly inspiring. It wasn’t perhaps the same caliber of movie as many of the Disney true sports stories over the last several years, but it was a good story nonetheless.

    A hodge podge of soccer players–half from St. Louis and half from New York–are thrown together 10 days before they’re to fly to Brazil for their first game. They’re expected to lose, especially when their few practice games are disasters.

    And then the day of the first game of the World Cup, they stand on a US Army base in Brazil and are informed that the US has just entered a conflict with Korea. And as the men of the team, most of them veterans from WWII, accept their uniforms, they also accept that they’re playing not for themselves but for an entire country, which they serve. Very patriotic moment. It’s a great underdog story as this rag tag bunch of men go head to head with the team that was considered unbeatable.

    It was missing a stirring voice over at the end telling us how they did in the overall tournament, as we only get to see the one game. But it was still a good story with some really fun characters that I enjoyed rooting for.

    Looking for other good Gerard Butler flicks until next time. -LJ

    Friday Favorite – My Boys

    First off, my apologies for being very unfaithful in posting this week. I will blame it on my writing retreat to Estes Park this last weekend. As previously confessed, I usually write my posts on the weekends, and I didn’t do that this weekend. So I missed my Monday Movie and a lot of really fun stuff that happened this week. But I’ll try to catch you up over the next several days.

    Anyway, on to my Friday Favorite – My Boys!

    If you think I’m talking about some guys friends, you obviously don’t know me very well. I haven’t had good guy friends since college. Man I miss having dudes around …

    Anyway, My Boys is a sitcom on TBS, which just started its third season on Tuesday. It’s all about P.J. Franklin, a sports columnist in Chicago and her boys. There’s Mike, the guy who has no furniture in his home and strikes out with women at every turn. And, of course, Bobby, the adorable and very down to earth millionaire who happens to cover the Cubs for another Chicago paper. Brendan, who went to college with P.J. and is a recently fired DJ trying to open his own club.  P.J.’s brother Andy, who is the only married one in the group finally fessed up in season 1 that his wife isn’t a domineering jerk–he just likes going home at 9 to spend time with his family and get to bed early. Last there’s Kenny, who we want to succeed so much, but he too has no luck with women or most things in life.


    What could be just another show about sports and just hanging out is instead the story of friendship at every level and the love between those friends. When they’re on a high, they celebrate together. They help each other out. And at the weekly poker game, they begin to take chances by opening up.

    The third season opener started with a bang and probably one of the funniest contests yet (even better than when the boys decided they would make their own shirts). While standing around at Bobby’s wedding, Mike and Kenny and Brendan decide to have a mustache growing contest. When Andy learns that they’re each going to grow a ‘stache, he says, “Interesting … So even if you win, you lose.”

    Amy and I started laughing so hard we had to pause it because we were missing some really great parts. Anyway, don’t miss this show! It’s great and so deserves a strong fan following. It has at least one. Me!


    Until next time. -LJ

    Lost and Found

    March 17, 2009: I lost a library book. I chronicled my initial realization and the hunt for said book here. I further continued to post twitter updates about my continued search for the book. This lead to the discovery that the Pikes Peak Library District is following me on twitter and left me a message suggesting I check at the library in case it was accidentally reshelved without being checked back in.

    Imagine my worry and concern that I’m being followed by the PPLD. But that wasn’t my biggest problem.

    I’d offered Encyclopedia Brown 25 cents for the safe return of my book, but he didn’t take me up on my offer, so I was willing to make the same offer to anyone else. Still no book. I called the gym thinking I might have left it there. They said they didn’t have it. Days and weeks passed with no sign of it.

    April 1, 2009: My book was due back to the library, and I couldn’t renew it any more. It was time to bite the bullet and pay for the book. $17 for a book I wasn’t really enjoying. I had a pleasant conversation with the very helpful librarian Holly (only the third to suggest I check under the seats in my car), and she told me books always show up right after people pay for them.

    I didn’t believe her.

    After all, I’d searched high and low, torn my life apart looking for that book. It was gone. I was sure of it.

    April 2, 2009: I finally got to go to the gym after a week of snow and travel keeping me from going. On a whim, I decided to ask if my book was in their lost and found.

    AND IT WAS!!!!!

    I don’t know what the people at the desk were thinking when I called the three times before, but I promptly took the book back to the library and was refunded $15 by Holly, the very same librarian.

    Book returned. I’m only out $2. Let this be a lesson to me. I’m not sure what that lesson is yet … but I’ll think on it. If you can come up with one, let me know. I don’t want to spend too much time thinking about it.

    Reading FREE books once again until next time. -LJ