Heaven is for real, french dining, conscious uncoupling and a new member of staff

I’ve had a busy few days. Work is starting to take more of my time (I have things like subtitling conference calls for the book now) and the weekend was a whirlwind. I’ve spent the last few days catching up on some blog reading.

Saturday morning, I was invited to see a preview of Sony Picture’s Heaven is for Real.

The film, opening Easter weekend, is the true story of Colton Burpo, who at age four had a near-death experience that gave him visions of heaven. I was invited to view the film since, apparently, I am an “influencer” in the local Christian community (my ticket was free and I could have filled up at the concession stand but, given that it was 10am, opted not to!) I was not sure I’d like the film. I do not like a schmaltzy version of Christianity and do not think that theological issues can be wrapped up with a bow. I had a feeling that the movie would be emotionally manipulative and I hate feeling played.

I was pleasantly surprised.

The beginning of the film is a bit slow. I’ve seen Greg Kinnear, who plays Reverend Todd Burpo, in too many smooth and sophisticated roles (Sabrina anyone?) to entirely see him as a failing small town garage door installer and church leader. And I wanted to see more of Thomas Haden Church, who I’ve adored ever since Wings, and Margo Martindale, who is great in everything she does. The second half is sooo good, however. Margo Martindale is given a chance to use her acting chops and is amazing. And Connor Corum, who plays four year old Colton, is superb. Bring tissues. The movie asks a lot of tough questions — Why does God let some people suffer more than others? Do non-believers go to Heaven? Does prayer change a situation’s outcome? — without providing pat answers. Any flaws the movie has in the first half are very much redeemed by the end. Which is kind of the way I think God works too.

After the film, I met with my girlfriend and her friends who were all at the screening for lunch. What a delight. We ate at The 3 Brewers, which is a chain from France. One of my dining mates who learned of my French-living year, pointed out that we had a view of la Fitness.

Yes, I know it’s really L.A. Fitness, but this is my year of living french…

I had the moules frites and a brown beer (it was the chocolate tones that sold me). Yum!

 The funniest thing – given that we are all Christian “influencers” – was that when we sat down at our large table, the sound system started to play Sympathy for the Devil. When we rose to leave, almost three hours later, the sound system started to play Royals. So we started with the devil and ended with the Lorde.

Saturday night was a hockey party and I met some lovely people.

Sunday, I decided to have a God day. I’m reading Jesus Calling as my devotional this year and it’s all about listening to God and not being in control or making plans. So I got in my car with the idea of finding a gift for my mother’s upcoming birthday. I got on highways I never take and just sort of went where the spirit took me and had a marvellous and fruitful day. My travels also took me to Alphabet Chocolate in Oakville where I met a potential kindred spirit (and Parisian!) in the proprietress Corinne. I’m trying this thing where if I keep my sugar intake low in the day, I treat myself with one truffle at the end of the day. I stocked myself with a supply of handmade Earl Grey and Lavender truffles.

Then I had the chance to relax…

I was very proud of myself last night. Our GO train downtown was cancelled and instead of waiting for the next one, the kids and I jumped in the car and I braved rush hour traffic. Toronto traffic has become unmanageable. It took me three u-turns, a brief chat with a police officer, and 35 minutes to move three city blocks. But I was still home at the same time I would have been had the train not been cancelled (I was not about to miss the BF’s Santa Fe chicken!) In fact, I crossed under the train bridge in my car at the same time my train would have been coming into the station, which I think means I almost broke the space time continuum a la Sliding Doors.

Speaking of which, I’m sad for La Gwyn. She’s always been at my age and stage and I thought those kids would make it. On the plus side, I will no longer be the most entitled single mom on the planet. Even though I have my own driver…


  1. Haha! Your driver is priceless, she looks ready to roll! Interesting I might have to see that movie. Just this morning my youngest asked me what the point of prayer was if it doesn't seem to help. Trying to explain that the practice and the mindfulness is the thing is difficult. Sounds like a good weekend was had and yes good to know your title as Most Privileged Single Mother Therefore Not Real has been usurped. And good idea on the chocolates. Very French!


  2. Loved this Jen! I think my parents-in-law got to see this in Moncton on the weekend, too – how interesting – they liked it as well. At least I think it's the same film!I am a signs and wonder girl too, and though not a church-goer anymore, I am proud of my faith and find it is usually supported, even when I don't understand why bad things happen. I heard Darren Aranofsky discussing Noah on Q yesterday and now I think I am going to have to go see it – it was an interesting discussion!So glad you are safe and sound after the trip to T.O. I will never drive in a big city again. I know this about myself and am comfortable making this one of my shortcomings. I will always be driven in T.O. and NYC!The blizzard just hit here and I am sitting here in a J crew eyelet dress, waiting for my daughter to arrive home from classes because it was, and this could be a sign, the one time when EVERY freaking thing in the J Crew box, and I mean EVERYTHING, fit perfectly and looked good. I wished I'd bought lotto tickets today….As for Gwynnie, I like her, though I do find Goop a bit pompous. Having said that, I find a lot of things pompous and that may be pure jealousy as I don't have much to be pompous about! Except for a clean office!


  3. Just wait until Scout gets her license! One of my favourite pieces on the subject of prayer comes from – of all sources – Dawson's Creek:Jen: How can you have so much faith in prayer? Just because you pray doesn't mean it can change God. Grams: Oh child, you've got it backwards. Prayer doesn't change God. Prayer changes me.So happy to have GP take the title. You just know she's going to be the most zen divorcee in the whole wide world. I actually like her and her recipes but know the haters will have a field day.


  4. Keep safe. Sounds like the blizzard is a doozy. Great news on the J. Crew front. It's great to not have the hassle of returning anything! The eyelet dress looked like a good one! Looking forward to Noah although I can't imagine the same people attending both films unless Aranofsky has dialed things way back. I was trying to explain this to someone on the weekend by saying that Black Swan was his tame and mainstream film lol. Noah was a rascal before being redeemed so I suppose there is lots of material there.A clean office is worth bragging about indeed!


  5. I do hope there is a heaven…Might check out the movie to see.Of course in England we had to smirk at the conscious uncoupling but then it must be so painful to say the D word so any swipes were immediately retracted on my part.


  6. I actually liked Gyn a lot more after I read a very long interview with her – she actually exercises twice a day to be able to eat a decent meal. Kind of admired her resolve. Also kind of clear they had an open marriage which in the end I've never seen work for celebs or mere mortals


  7. Sounds like a great couple of days!Poor Gwynnie. I walk past her house on my way to my sister's, and it looks the most bleak building imaginable … I guess that's on purpose, but it always makes me think of the woman who said “I would rather die than let my kid eat Cup-a-Soup” rather than her sunny smile on the front of the cookbooks. (Which, incidentally, I am always drawn to in the bookshop … even though aubergine is possibly my favourite food on earth).Anyway, I am rooting for both of them and their kids. Relationship break-ups are sad, even if just as a sign of greater sadness underneath.


  8. Hi Jen, would it be too bold to think of you as a girlfrien? I'd love to tell you (over tea) the two direct experiences I had with God, one a direct payoff on “listening to God and not being in control or making plans.” Oy, your traffic, your “brief chat with a police officer” made me laugh (as does your driver) but Santa Fe chicken is *not* to be missed, I'm certain. I'm a signs and wonders girl too but there are times I look forward to being played and know a purse pack of tissues won't be enough.


  9. I'm a big fan of being straightforward, so I'm divorced, not consciously uncoupled. But I cannot imagine having to do all of that in the public eye with kids who are able to read. Awful for anyone.


  10. Thank you so much. A lot of people are surprised to find out I'm a Christian which, these days, is somewhat of a compliment. I've suffered a lot at the hands of fellow “Christians” and know a lot of people are suspicious of faith, but it has carried me through a lot of sorrow too. I simply try to share what works for me in life, and faith is part of that.


  11. I like her too. Given the rarified circles in which she travels, it's cool that she wants to cook and make a home for her family. She seems to be trying her best, which is all any of us try to do in the end.


  12. I think a lot of those glamourous looking lives are sad. I used to work on the edges of that business and know that a lot of perfect-on-the-outside masks a lot of dysfunction-on-the-inside. I don't understand why people assume that just because someone has money and good hair, they don't have regular human emotions. I think that divorce happens when two people feel broken at the same time and one can not carry the other through the trials anymore, so yes, sad indeed.


  13. You are a kindred spirit indeed. I'd love to hear your story. The Santa Fe chicken was worth the wild ride into the city. And yes, sometimes a good cry is wonderful even when you feel a bit set up!


  14. Hi Jen, just made a discovery – apologies if I haven't always commented. I had no idea how Google plus works so just always went to the post there, maybe it wasn't always the most recent. Anyway have now pressed “following” so hopefully it will bring me to you! I am not good with technology!!


  15. How'd I miss this. I follow but blogger must be playing tricks. Fellow bible thumper here, not a thumper but a believer…and no I did not say belieber. Sorry a few days late. Glad to see. Christian movies that aren't preachy. My favorite is still Simon Birch. Ah poor Gwennie. She has since placed her foot in her mouth AGAIN. She's a tough one to give a rats ass about. So glad you have given your Most Privileged crown away 😉


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