>Baby News and Movie Reviews

>First the Baby News: My Goddaughter, Hannah (Mashburn) Snowden, had a baby boy yesterday afternoon! (Hannah is the one who is pictured in my last post, GREAT with child.) His name is Peter Cuthbert Snowden. Hannah and her husband, Matthew, went to England last year and learned more about Orthodox saints from that country. Like Saint Cuthbert. Bede’s Life of Saint Cuthbert is here. You can see icons and read short lives of several British Orthodox Saints here.

So, Hannah called me (yes) from her hospital bed yesterday afternoon, having been awake for like 36 hours and having just given birth. We talked for about 30 minutes as she held Peter in her arms. I’m going out to visit them this afternoon. Can’t wait!

7 p.m. addition to morning post:

Photos from visit with Hannah & Peter this afternoon.

He’s awesome!

So is Hannah.

This morning with my Morning Prayers I read this wonderful quote by St. John Chrysostom, from Daily Lives, Miracles and Wisdom of the Saints Calendar that we keep at our icon corner. It’s long, so I’ll excerpt it a bit:

If artists who make statues and paint portraits of kings are held in high esteem, will not God bless ten thousand times more those who reveal and beautify His royal image?—For man is the image of God. When we teach our children to be good, to be gentle, and to be forgiving—all attributes of God; to be generous, to love their neighbor, to regard this present age as nothing, we instill virtue in their souls, and reveal the image of God within them.

I thought about Hannah and Matthew as I read these words this morning… because Matthew is an artist and Hannah is a musician and also just got her Master’s in Education (or some sub-specialty of Education) and will be a teacher some day when Matthew is in seminary. They understand about the beauty of images. Matthew has painted icons. Hannah has chanted and sung in the choir in the Divine Liturgy of the Church since she was a child. And performed in musical productions. I can still remember the chills I got watching her in “Godspell” at St. Mary’s when she was in high school. And they were both raised by kind and gentle parents who love God and taught them these things that St. John Chrysostom says, to be good, to be gentle, and to be forgiving… All this to say that baby Peter Cuthbert is in good hands. And Many Years and Congratulations, Hannah and Matthew!

It almost feels like sacrilege to write about movies in the same post as the birth of baby Peter, but hey—life isn’t always about mountain top experiences. Sometimes it’s just families hanging out and relaxing together during the holidays, right? So… this is the beginning of my Pen and Palette Movie Review:

Atonement” was nominated for 7 Golden Globe Awards… I love Keira Knightley…and the cinematography was amazing. It’s a morality tale … with an element of surprise (yes) at the end, which was good…although I’m a sucker for happy-ever-afters, which this movie definitely did not have. Still, two thumbs up for Atonement. I went to see it with my husband, and we both thought the writing and acting were excellent.

Next I went with my 30-year-old son, Jonathan, to see “No Country For Old Men.” Jon and I both like the Coen Brothers … more about them here. We both really liked “O Brother Where Art Thou?” and Jon liked “Fargo” (1996) and “The Big Lebowski.” (1998). I liked “Raising Arizona,” (1997). Anyway, back to “No Country For Old Men.” We were both a bit surprised by it. Not because it was dark (which it was). Or because we found ourselves laughing at its dark humor (which we did.) But because it was slow. And the ending was disappointing. So, we give it two thumbs down, actually. Although the New York Film Critics and National Board of Review both gave it “Best Picture” awards. But what do we know. We’re just the consumers, right?

Next, when Beth (my 25-year-old daughter) got in town, she and I went to see “P.S. I Love You” with Hillary Swank. We loved it. Swank is a great actress, I think. She really becomes the characters she plays. Lisa Kudrow, an actress Beth and I both like, played one of Swank’s charcter’s best friends. But she seems to be the same character in most of her roles. Maybe all those years on “Friends” got under her skin. But she delivered some great lines and we laughed a lot. The scenes in Ireland were beautiful. Harry Connick Jr. was lovable. Kathy Bates was believable as Swank’s mother. The plot wasn’t too predictable, either. We give it two thumbs up.

Thursday afternoon I went with hubby and both boys (Jason is 26) to see “Charlie Wilson’s War.” We all thought it was great. Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts can’t do anything wrong in my book. Roberts was great in this because I kept forgetting it was her. She transcended her “Pretty Woman” image… not that she wasn’t pretty because she was. But she was, well, different in this. And strong. And smart. And sexy. (Okay, so she was all those things in Pretty Woman, too.) And Philip Seymour Hoffman was great. It was a bit surreal, though… sitting next to my son, Jon, who flies helicopters for the Army and will return to Iraq in a couple of weeks… and watching helicopters being blown up by stingers. Later I asked him if it didn’t scare the bejeezies out of him watching it and he said no, that usually they won’t “waste” an expensive stinger on a Kiowa (the chopper he flies) with two men in it… they’d rather blow up a Blackhawk or something big with lots of guys in it. Comforting words for a mother to hear, don’t you think? Anyway, two thumbs up from all four of us.

Jason and I still want to see “The Great Debaters” … and he and his dad want to see “I Am Legend” … and Beth and I might want to see “Margot at the Wedding” … so…. Stay tuned. The holidays aren’t over yet!

Please share!