Double Feature: Do You Believe in Miracles?

We are halfway through the Silmarillion Award Presentations. I hope you are enjoying them as much as I am, dear Reader! So far we’ve seen:

Wisest Councillor - Gandalf brought his fireworks!
Least Competent Henchman - many shenanigans over there. Not sure if Kyle has been able to get rid of all his houseguests yet..
Most Silver Tongue - presented in the form of a riddle. Most appropos!
Most Epic Hero - chronicled by a most entertaining short blogger.
And today we will see who has the dubious honor of being named this year’s Strangest Character!

And next week the fun continues!

But until then… today’s regularly scheduled programming…

Favorite Family Films Header Graphic

This week’s movie is the sort of movie that always inspires me, particularly when I start to feel down. I think I may need to re-watch one of them this weekend, because that’s just the kind of week I’ve had. It’s been a stressful, emotional, roller coaster of a week, and I am WORN OUT, y’all. By Wednesday morning, I was ready for the week to be over. And it wasn’t… it just kept going. Thankfully, it is finally Friday! Huzzah! *halfheartedly throws confetti because I am too exhausted to properly celebrate*


But you didn’t come here to listen to me whine. You came for a movie recommendation. And this week, you get two!

You are probably familiar with this movie. It was a big hit when it came out. Miracle a movie based on the true, epic story of the 1980-USA Olympic Hockey team. I grew up watching the story of the 1980s USA Olympic Hockey team, and even though I wasn’t born yet during that amazing year that held the country — and the world — spellbound, I have loved this story for my whole life.

Miracle is a beautiful, heartwarming movie about a team that faced down the odds. It is about a group of young men who worked extremely hard. It is about a group of individuals who became a team and overcame the enormous obstacles in their way.

Featuring the brilliant acting of Kurt Russell (hmm, are we seeing a bit of a trend here?) as Herb Brooks, the coach of said team, and a fabulous supporting cast, this movie will have you on the edge of your seat every single time you watch it. Knowing the end does not make it any less of a thrilling or gripping tale.

With an unforgettable script filled with lines like this one:

“Pretty lofty goal, Herb.”

“Well, Lou, that’s why I want to pursue it.”

This movie will bring you to tears. It will make you jump up and down. It will make you want to become a hockey-fan… even if you don’t usually care about sports.

One of my favorite things about this movie, however, has nothing to do with hockey. It is Patricia Clarkson’s beautiful rendition of Patti Brooks, Herb’s wife. Her support and understanding of her husband and his passion and her willingness to cheer him on to the finish line throughout all the ups and downs is one of the best things about this movie.

If you like movies such as “The Rookie” or “Remember the Titans” or “We Are Marshall” – you will love this one! You can rent it online at various places… but seriously… just go buy it. This is one you’ll want to watch over and over again.

But, wait, Jenelle. Miracle only came out in 2004. I mean, that was the year you graduated college! You can’t possibly have grown up watching this movie! So… what did you mean?

That is an excellent question, and I’m so glad you asked it!

In 1981, only a year after the event itself, a different movie was produced about this amazing team. It was called Miracle on Ice, starring Karl Malden as Herb Brooks. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve watched this movie. But I can tell you that it stands the test of time. Netflix used to have this movie available to stream and I introduced my husband to it a few years back (who is rather a bit pickier about the quality of movies than I tend to be) and upon watching it, he said he would be hard-pressed to say which one he enjoyed more.

There is a lot of overlap, of course, but there are also parts in each movie that the other does not have. This makes it very hard for me to even decide which I prefer. And I like that, because it means I can watch both movies, and get something different out of each one.

While the 2004 version gives you an amazing amount of insight into the life and struggles of Herb Brooks himself, the 1981 version focuses a lot more on the team. Particularly Mike Eruzione (Rizzo) – who is my favorite. (I won’t lie, this movie MAY just be rather influential in the reason why I have such a soft spot for the Cubs’ current 1st-baseman, Anthony Rizzo). It also goes a bit deeper into the struggles that Herb Brooks experienced with each cut he had to make from the team and how he agonized over those cuts.

One of my favorite parts in Miracle on Ice is when Herb Brooks is telling Eruzione that he is being hard on him for the sake of the team. I can’t find the quote exactly… so I’m doing this from memory:

HERB: “Tell you what, if I call you Eruzione, it’s for the team. But if I call you Mike, then you know the heat’s on you.”

Mike glares and gets up to leave.

HERB: “You can tell Craig that, as well.”

RIZZO: “Yeah? Who do you want should tell him? Mike, or Eruzione? And who do you want I should tell? Jim, or Craig?”

It’s priceless. Particularly with the thick, Boston accent. Sigh.

The other fun thing you get in Miracle on Ice is a ton of actual footage from the actual 1980 Olympics and the sportscasters. So that is fun.

Unfortunately, this is an extremely hard-to-find movie, like I said, it used to be on Netflix, but isn’t anymore. If anyone happens to find it on DVD and wants to send me a birthday present…. I wouldn’t turn it down!

So, in conclusion… no, there is too much. To sum up, then:

I love both these movies very much. I recommend them both as highly as I can.

Talk to me! Have you seen either of these movies? What are some of your favorite quotes from either of these movies? Do you have any other based-on-a-true-story movies you’d recommend?

~ jenelle

Belated Nightstand Books: July 2017

Well, it’s not the first Wednesday of the month… and we’re over halfway through July (WHAT?) but here we are with another round of “What’s on YOUR Nightstand?”

Nightstand Books

I hadn’t done a nightstand books back at the beginning of July because I really didn’t have anything new to show you! What with spending most of my spare time editing Minstrel’s Call and doing all the behind-the-scenes prep for the Silmarillion Awards, I haven’t had a ton of time for reading. This means that I am still working my way through The Aeronaut’s Windlass from back in May… I renewed it from the library TWICE and maxed out my ability to renew the book and had to take it back. Thankfully, I have an amazing husband who went to the bookstore over his lunch break and bought me my very own copy! (Young ladies, take note… jewelry is nice, but a man who will take time out of his day to go get you the book you are bummed about having to put down… #dreamy)

I have had a couple of nights at the pool watching our girls take swim lessons and have gotten a bit more time to read lately, which means two things. 1) Sadly, I am nearing the end of the book I am currently reading. 2) I can start thinking about new books to read!

So, here’s what is in my near future. From the bottom up:

How to Study Your Bible for Kids by Kay Arthur & Janna Arndt – this is something I’m going through with Leiana and Nathalie this summer. It’s a really neat way to introduce your kiddos to the concept of inductive Bible study. It frames everything in “detective lingo” and has fun things like crossword puzzles and fill-in-the-blanks and word searches to make it more kid-friendly. So far, we are enjoying it.

Alora: The Wander Jewel by Tamie Dearen – this was the Fellowship of Fantasy’s June book club book. I have… fallen behind a bit on the book club readings. But that doesn’t mean I won’t catch up at some point!

When Hope Springs New by Janette Oke – I started re-reading the Canadian West series last year and realized the other day that I hadn’t finished it. So this is a re-read, but I enjoy Janette Oke.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer – With the characters from the Lunar Chronicles making a solid appearance in the Silmarillion Awards two years running… I figured it was high time I started reading them to see what all the fuss is about. Haven’t started it yet, but am expecting to enjoy this series.

More Stories from Grandma’s Attic by Arleta Richardson – the book I’m currently reading out loud to the kids through the summer.

The Miserable Mill by Lemony Snicket – Derek is currently reading through the Series of Unfortunate Events to the kids in the evenings. I’ve read them before, but it’s fun listening to them again.

Not pictured, because I couldn’t find it, Nathalie and I are reading a book she won at the library in their summer reading program called Wildborn: Spirit Animals book 1 by Brandon Mull. I was a bit leery about it at first, but two chapters in and it seems like a pretty fun fantasy. We shall see how it continues.

And that’s about it for reading plans for the near future.

I hope you’ve been enjoying the Silmarillion Award Presentations! So far we’ve been entertained at this year’s Wisest Councillor and Least Competent Henchman presentations. Today we will get to attend the ceremony for Most Silver-Tongued Bard… which is one where I am really hoping for a certain outcome. Though Kiernan Kane didn’t make it into the top five this year, there is a certain bard I am very much hoping rises to glory and receives a Silmaril of his very own this year, because he greatly deserves it. Also, this is my favorite category… as bard-characters are rather near and dear to my heart. THE LINK IS NOW LIVE!

Have you been enjoying the Silmarillion Awards? Have you been pleased with the winners? Surprised? Which award presentation are you most looking forward to? Don’t forget, the fun doesn’t end on July 28th… we are having a celebration of LOTR’s 63rd birthday on the 29th and you are welcome to participate with a blog post of your own celebrating Tolkien or Lord of the Rings. We will also be announcing the winner of the One Grand Prize to Rule Them All giveaway on that day!

And what’s on YOUR nightstand, dear Reader?

~ jenelle

Super Heroes Giveaway

No, no, no… not a giveaway of or by SUPERHEROES…. a SUPER HEROES GIVEAWAY! I do understand the confusion, I do, but there is a very important space in there.

Because July just somehow wasn’t quite epic enough this year… the Fellowship of Fantasy has banded together to giveaway one awesome grand prize, focused on the Hall of Heroes anthology that they just released. I did not manage to write a story for this one, but I already have ideas percolating for the next one, and I will tell you all about that at a later date.

Hall of Heroes Giveaway-Covers & Prizes


Look at all these fabulous books you could win – and all of them have a HERO of some kind in them. In addition to these books featuring various heroes, we’re giving away a beautiful journal. Perhaps those blank pages are calling you to create a hero of your own!

But wait… this isn’t just an ebook giveaway! Many of these books are being offered as PAPERBACKS (such as the Hall of Heroes anthology itself, and King’s Warrior by Yours Truly), which just makes the giveaway that much sweeter… like homemade ice cream on a hot summer day.

For my hero, I’ve chosen to feature BRANT from King’s Warrior. Those of you who have read the book will most likely agree that Brant is about as epically heroic as it gets. Enigmatic and brooding, strong of both arm and character, noble and quick to act… with a streak of dark humor, Brant is the sort of hero you would definitely want on your side in a battle. But don’t take my word for it… because all through this week, you can get the ebook of King’s Warrior for FREE!

The Hall of Heroes anthology is also permanently free in ebook form, so you should definitely check that out. The Fantastic Beasts anthology was amazing, and I have no doubts that this one is every bit as good. I can’t wait to read it, myself! 

So, what are you waiting for? Enter the giveaway and then head on over to Amazon and start reading one of those free books today while you wait for the winners to be announced!
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And in addition to all of that… the Silmarillion Awards Ceremonies have begun! Head on over to ADVENTURE AWAITS to attend the presentation of the Wisest Councillor Silmaril!

~ jenelle