Favorites

FAVORITES
I believe you can learn a lot about an individual from the type of things they consider favorites in their life; books, movies, music, visual arts, performing arts, games, food, etc. This is not a comprehensive list of my favorites, but it gives you a taste of my character through what I like.

MOVIES
Some movies on this list are not completely made for the whole family to be entertained. Please check quality reviews before showing to whole family. Also, there are many more Disney movies that could be included on this list that are just “cute” or “fun”, but I wanted to include movies on my list that were a little more impacting than talking animals, or story lines primarily intended for children. These lists were created when I was 45 years old, and update when I felt something was worth adding. They are not in any particular order.

The Ultimate Gift – By Dean Rivers Productions. 2006. Rated PG. 114 min.
Self-Improvement Fiction. Based on a book: Book also recommended.
TO DATE THIS IS MY VERY FAVORITE MOVIE. Not because the best action, the best comedy, or the best acting, but because of the message it shares.

The Pistol: The Birth of a Legend – L.A. Film Partners. 1991. Rated PG. 90 min.
Biographical. This is the movie I saw while flying home from this mission field. Inspiring.

The Make Over – By Hallmark 2013. Rated PG. 95 min. Fiction. Drama. Romance. Amazing Grace – By Walden Media, 2007. Rated PG. 111 min.

Gifted Hands – The Ben Carson Story – By Johnson & Johnson 2009, TVPG. 86 min. Biographical. Based on a book: I also recommend the book for reading.

Temple Grandin – By HBO 2010. Rated TVPG. 107 min. (thematic elements) Biographical Beauty and the Beast, A Latter-day tale – By Candlelight Media 2007. PG. 91 min. Drama. Romance.

Forever Strong (caution: drinking & drugs) – By Go Films. 2008. PG-13. 112 min. Drama

Invictus (caution: language) – By Warner Bros. 2009. Rated PG-13. 134 min. Drama I discovered this book giving the background to the movie IN 2014: Recommended Reading: “Playing the Enemy, Nelson Mandela and the Game that Made a Nation”

The Blind Side – By Alcon Entertainment. 2009. Rated PG-13. 129 min. Drama. Sports. Semi Biographical. Recommend reading Michael Oher: I beat the Odds.

Secretariat – By Disney. 2010. Rated PG. 123 min. Drama. Fireproof – By Sony Pictures. 2009. Rated PG. 118 min. Drama “42” – By Warner Bros. 2013. Rated PG-13. 128 min. Drama To Sir With Love – By Columbia Pictures. 1967. Unrated. 105 min. Drama

Mr. Holland’s Opus– By Hollywood Pictures. 1996. Rated PG. 143 min. Drama

Remember the Titans– By Jerry Bruckheimer. 2000. Rated PG. 113 min. Drama

A Walk To Remember (caution: some crude language) – By Warner Bros. 2002. Rated PG (crudeness in some characters) 101 min. Drama

The Miracle Worker – By Disney. 2000. Rated PG. 90 min. Drama. The story of Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller, and the beginning of their relationship.

Inside Out – By Disney/Pixar. 2015. Rated PG. 94 min. Animated. Currently, this is the only animated film on my list. Many animated films are “cute” and wholesome family entertainment. However, I found in this movie a much deeper meaning than most animated features have.

Miracles from Heaven – By Columbia Pictures. 2016. Rated PG. 109 min. Drama. The Story of a terminally ill little girl, and the miracles that took place during her treatment. Based on a true story and the book written by the girl’s mother. The movie carrying the same name as the book. (I haven’t read it yet.)

Hidden Figures – By Fox 2000 Pictures. 2016. Rated PG. 127 min. Drama. The story of three African American women and their contribution to the NASA space program in a time where the odds were stacked heavily against the career success of black women in the culture of the United States.
In Search of Bobby Fischer – By Paramount Pictures 1993 Rated PG. 110 min. Drama. The story of Josh Waitzkin and his extraordinary gift for chess, and how the adults in his life reacted, sometimes positively, and sometimes negatively to this talent. Josh had to comes to term with what he wanted, why he wanted it, and the best way to get it and still be himself.

Wonder – By Lions Gate 2017 Rated PG. 113 min. Drama. The fictional story based on a Novel by the same name. Follows the story of August Pullman, a young man born with significant facial deformities as he is introduced into a more mainstream school system. A story of the strength of his character. A story of how others have hidden struggles. A story of how we can all grow with listening and actions of kindness.

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One movie I use to have on my list is “Ground Hog Day” starring Bill Murray. I liked it for its over-all message, which is you don’t truly begin to live until you learn to love unselfishly and serve others. However, more recently I have felt that other elements of the film were a little uncomplimentary to that theme, so I took it off my list.

TELEVISION
In today’s age television is done mostly in the form of watching a show on the internet. Growing up I enjoyed Gilligan’s Island, Beverly Hillbillies, Hogan’s Heros, The Cosby Show, Bewitched, America’s Funniest Home Videos. For educational programming I enjoy NOVA and Nature on the PBS station

BOARD AND CARD GAMES
I enjoy Scrabble, Rummikube, Pictionary, among others.

SPORTS
I use to play football and soccer. I still like them but don’t watch them much. Of course, I enjoyed the sports my children participated in: soccer and cross country running. I enjoy watching Olympic gymnastics. Although I like competitive sports, I just don’t make them a priority in life.

MUSIC
I find I listen to classical music when I am doing something else of an intellectual nature, but want back ground music. I listen to 1980s pop music for exercise and up-beat work activities. I like a wide variety. However, heavy metal and rap music don’t interest me. If I was asked to choose music I would like to have as my personal theme music, a song that would announce my arrival at an event, and help define my character what would it be? I think my “fun” pick would be “I Love to Laugh” from Walt Disney’s Mary Poppins movie 1964. I think my “idealistic”, personal -theme music would be the theme song from Superman the Movie 1978. The persona of the super hero known as Superman has undergone some less than positive changes over the years. But the original Superman stood for all that was positive and good in the human character, and this music gives that lofty feeling. It would be a bit ostentatious to actual have it play as a personal theme song, but it is more an ideal to strive for. My “sophisticated” side would be “An American Symphony” from the sound track of Mr. Holland’s Opus 1995. “Believe It Or Not” from the 1970s television show Greatest American Hero is fun. And Yanni’s “Santorini”. This is a nontraditional instrumental piece. My “cool” pick would be Axel F by Harold Faltermeyer 1984. This song is associated with a movie called Beverly Hills Cop. I have never seen the movie, it is rated R. But I like the music it IS COOL. My “spiritual” side would be HMMMM…NEED TO THINK ABOUT THIS ONE. There are so many I like. I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go… You can make the pathway bright… Have I Done Any Good… My “romantic” side would be “Hello” by Lionel Richie 1983. As an assignment in English class my freshman year of high school I did a time capsule. I put the lyrics to this song in it. While typing this paragraph I decided to create a separate chapter for my life’s sound track. It will include some music that has made an impression on me during these first 50 years of life.

BOOKS
In my teen years the science fiction genre seemed to capture my attention the most. As an adult I have found that a fiction book must be very intricately written with a considerable amount of real-to-life research included to make the story plausible. For example, I enjoy several of John Grisham’s books. Non-fiction, biographical and autobiographical works hold my attention the best. However, I find that it is not the chronological type story I enjoy. Of course, there needs to be some background and historical context information, but I like those that focus on a particular aspect or event associated with the person’s life verses one that starts at parents or grand parents and catalogs that person’s life to the time they die. Here are some of those books:
The On-Purpose Person: Making Your Life Make Sense by Kevin W. McCarthy. 1992 Pinon Press. Reread. Parable.Thoughts: Worthy of anyone’s time, and permanent library.

Up From Slavery: An Autobiography Booker T. Washington by Booker T. Washington. 1937 The Sun Dial Press Inc. Nonfiction

Assisted: An Autobiography of John Stockton by John Stockton (with Kerry L. Pickett). 2013 Shadow Mountain Press. Nonfiction.

The Education of Little Tree by Forrest Carter. 1976 University of New Mexico Press. Nonfiction. Thoughts: Written with the unique perspective of a very young Cherokee boy being raised by his grandparents. His view of nature, people, and life at that age and that culture.
Mafia to Mormon: My Conversion Story by Mario Facione. 2004 Cedar Fort Incorporated. The story of a man whose new found belief compelled him to risk his life to leave an organization that is usually only exited by death. This is the second time I read this book.

Mandela: An Illustrated Autobiography. By (of course) Nelson Mandela. 1994 by Brown and Company. I found this book fascinating…what he sacrificed for the benefit of the South African people is incredible. Although it was fascinating it was not captivating for me because of the necessary political nature of the book.

Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption, by Katie Davis and Beth Clark. 2011 Howard Books. I found this book heart warmingly touching, but also sad in revelation of poverty that so many live in. The book begs the questions: What am I doing? What can I do to make a difference?

To Heaven and Back: A Doctor’s Extraordinary Account of Her Death, Heaven, Angels, and Life Again. by Mary C. Neal. 2011 Waterbook Press. After ever chapter of this book I exclaimed “Wow!” As Mary describes being killed in a white-water kayaking accident, going toward heaven, being told it was not her time yet, and the reasons she needed to return to earth. INCREDIBLE STORY! There are others mentioned in the movie section that

THE BOYS IN THE BOAT

I read and enjoyed. Michael Oher’s autobiography.
I read Secretariat, that was incredible.
Also, the story of Helen Keller was inspiring.
The list of books can go on and on, but I think this gives a good idea.
Dr Seuss books I find wonderfully entertaining in written word and illustration. At the writing of this entry I have a copy of each book he has written in my personal collection. I do not have the ones he co-wrote or illustrated with others. They are good, but they do not seem to be as captivating as the ones where he was the sole author. Marya and I read to our children growing up, and they all have become avid readers. I now look for opportunities to read to other groups of children. In honor of Dr. Seuss’ works, I created a costumed character by the name of Marco Sam Sneelock who reads to children on occasion. Marco, in honor of the main character in Dr. Seuss’ first published children’s work, “To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street.” Sam, from “Green Eggs and Ham”, and Sneelock, from the unwitting hero of “If I Ran the Circus.”

AUDIO BOOKS/RECORDINGS
While doing work in North Dakota I began listening to books on compact discs and from an internet site connected with the local library. Here are just a few I enjoyed:
The Secrets of Happy Families by Bruce Feiler. 2013 HarperCollins Publishers. Self Help. Audio book by Dreamscape.
The John Bytheway Collection by John Bytheway. 2008 Deseret Book. Gospel Talks. Thoughts: John has a great skill in mixing quirky humor, stories, and gospel teachings to make for and entertaining and uplifting talk.
The John Bytheway Collection #2 by John Bytheway. Deseret Book. Gospel Talks. Thoughts: This collection is more readings of his books than live talks. Still valuable in inspiration and entertainment.
Out of Darkness: The Story of Louis Braille, by Russell Freedman, Recorded Books Inc. Biographical . INCREDIBLY INSPIRING STORY about the man who invented the braille system of reading for the blind. He was only 15. This system opened up the world of the written word to blind people.
Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation, by John Carlin. Recorded Books Inc. Historical. An incredible story of how skillfully Nelson Mandela helped diffuse volatile political tensions through respect, wise visionary insight, and the sport of rugby.
Lighting Their Fires: Raising Extraordinary Children in a Mixed-Up, Muddled-Up, Shook-Up World by Rafe Esquith. Recorded Books Inc. Informative/Self-Help. Useful information on how to create an engaging learning environement.
Father Joe: The Man Who Saved My Soul, by Tony Hendra. Recorded Books Inc. Non Fiction. I have mixed feelings about this audio book. The figure described as Father Joe is incredibly insightful, noteworthy, and divinely charitable. However, his pupil, Tony was for a great deal of life an irreverent, comic satirist, consumed a great deal in selfishness…and, as I think Father Joe would describe him, a child of God. Bad language near the end, sexual references in the beginning. Sully, My Search for What Really Matters by Chelsey B Sullenberger. The story of the pilot who landed a plane on the Hudson River after both engines were destroyed because of hitting birds. All 155 passengers survived the incident.

PLACES
I enjoy being on dirt trails and in the mountains. I also love the ocean. There are a lot of magnificent, beautiful places, but I enjoy the Oregon Coast line the most.

HOBBIES
I think of covered this elsewhere, but in summary: hiking, kayaking, nonfiction reading, and as of the last few years in my forties, public speaking has gone from being a dreaded experience to an enjoyable hobby.

QUOTES
There is no way to include all the quotes I like, but here are a few…
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” -Winston Churchill
“There is more hunger in the world for love and appreciation than for food.” -Mother Teresa

“Men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He can deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls and pour out peace.” Ezra Taft Benson

“God does not begin by asking our ability, only our availability, and if we prove our dependability, He will increase our capability.” -Neal A. Maxwell

“The larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder.” -Ralph W. Sockman

JOKES…
I enjoy cleaver humor and corny humor. Jokes that you have to think about for a second, or that they make a person groan a little because of a play on words. This tendency has earned me the nick name of “dork” with my family, because of these types of jokes and puns.

“If you wear cowboy clothes….your ranch dressing.”

“What does a dentist get on his one-year work anniversary?”…..”A little plaque.”

“I buy my guns from a guy who calls himself T-Rex…..He is a small-arms dealer.”

“When is the best time to go to the dentist?….Tooth-thirty.”

“I have tried to tell jokes about unemployed people…But, none of them work.”

Laugh, chuckle, or groan…that is what these types of jokes are about.

FOODS
One of my favorite combinations of food for a meal is baked chicken (I don’t like fried stuff.), mashed potatoes with white gravy, and corn on the cob. I also love garden fresh green beans. I always ask for tacos for my birthday meal, but I enjoy plain ground hamburger on it instead of seasoned meat. A medium well steak with a hint of pink is enjoyable. I hardly ever drink anything but milk, water, and fruit juices.

SNACKS
I would rather eat chocolate chips than most cookies. Although I do have a weakness for chocolate chip, pumpkin cookies. Ice cream, I like most flavors. Doritos dipped in cottage cheese. Home popped popcorn. Most other snacks don’t get me too excited. For my birthday I would rather have a bag of jerky than a cake any day. And, I can’t forget to mention ice cream. I really enjoy most ice cream flavors.

ANIMALS
I have always liked the otter. They are playful, intelligent, and cute.

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