Mama [Still] Loves Her Shows

Mama Loves Her Shows logo

Once upon a time I started a TV blog. It was called, “Mama Loves Her Shows,” and it was awesome. It was also, as some of my favorite shows have been, short-lived. It didn’t take long – just a few months, actually – for me to realize I could not possibly keep up two blogs.

So since then, my many very important thoughts about my favorite TV shows have been mostly contained to my monthly What I’m Into posts. Sure, on occasion, I can’t resist telling you just exactly how I felt about the end of a TV series. And, okay fine, I tend to tell you what I’m watching every season.

But, believe it or not, I actually have more to say.

And, believe it or not, some people want me to say more. [Really? REALLY!] Friends actually come to me for television-related information and advice. And opinions. Anyone asking me about TV knows they’re going to get opinions. [Well, really, anyone asking me about anything knows they're likely to get opinions.]

All this ran through my mind a few weeks ago when a friend suggested I start a regular “Ask Mary” entertainment column here on the blog. At first I thought she was crazy. Who would even ask me questions? But then I realized that lots of people ask me TV questions outside of the blog, so why not put them all together for a fun post each month?!

Next month, I’ll post my first “Mama Still Loves Her Shows” column. But before I can write it, I need your questions! Hit me with your burning questions about season finales, summer shows, the next thing you need to watch on Netflix, or anything else you can think of!

Until then, I’m asking the questions …

What’s your favorite TV show right now?

WFMW: Antioxidants & Healthy Eating

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So, I’m back on the wagon. The weight-watching wagon, I mean.

The combination of some recent family photos and a “sign up now and get three months half off!” email was too much to resist, so once again (AGAIN.) I began eating fruit and writing down everything I eat and thinking about actually exercising.

Even though I’ve attempted to lose weight many, MANY times, I still spent the good part of today looking up healthy breakfast recipes and lunch ideas. And I read through all the materials I got with that half-off offer, refreshing my memory about which foods have more fiber or protein or both (or neither).

Because no matter how many times I’ve done this – and no matter how poorly I’ve eaten over the years – I’m always interested in learning more about food. What’s in it, which kinds have more “bang for the buck,” which ones I should avoid altogether, which ones aren’t as bad as I thought – it’s all fascinating to me! (Even if I ignore the part about avoiding sugar and bread and cheese and EVERYTHING DELICIOUS. Ahem.)

This renewed interest in what I’m putting in my body is well-timed. For lots of reasons (hello, shorts season and still wearing maternity pants situation!) – one of which is a conference call I got to be a part of last week, where I learned all about antioxidants from experts and scientists from ConAgra.

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Over the past few years I’ve read and heard so much about whole foods and clean eating and only shop at the farmer’s market and grow your own food in the backyard. You have, too, right? Sure, we all have.

But when pressed (by my husband, who isn’t always excited about my ideas about eating healthier), my definition of “clean” or “whole” food was, “You know, without all those preservatives.”

It turns out, though, that not all preservatives are bad. Here’s a video that explains:

What I learned from ConAgra is that we preserve our food for taste, freshness and safety – not to mention to reduce food waste. We preserve food by canning or freezing – or with antioxidants, a type of preservative. Vitamins E and C and citric acid are actually found in foods naturally (citrus fruits, nuts, seeds and leafy green vegetables, specifically) and are used as antioxidants. Antioxidants can also be manufactured and added to foods when natural antioxidants would change the flavor of the food.

In case you are like me and didn’t know about antioxidants, here are a few more facts.

  • Antioxidants prevent food from becoming rancid (gross.) and being wasted, as well as preserving food’s flavors and natural colors.
  • Antioxidants also slow the aging process, boost our body’s natural defense system, and hep combat heart disease, cancer and other diseases.

So, as it turns out, all antioxidants, when consumed as part of a balanced diet, are safe for your food and for your body. Ultimately, these antioxidants help us enjoy the foods that we love without having to compromise on taste or quality.

How about that? Like they say, never stop learning, right?! This week, healthy eating – and learning about healthy eating – works for me!

Where do you look for information about your food?

 
Works for Me Wednesday :: Giving Up on Perfect

It’s time for Works for Me Wednesday. I’m looking forward to your tips, tricks, ideas and inspiration! If this is your first time linking up with WFMW here, PLEASE read the guidelines I shared in this post. Highlights include linking your specific post, not the front page of your blog, and making sure to include a link back to this site in your WFMW. Thank you!!

Photo sources: Wagon and Fruit

This post is part of a campaign with The Motherhood and ConAgra. As always, opinions are all mine.

 

When You Feel Overlooked or Forgotten

When You Feel Overlooked

My neighborhood is bursting with color right now. Our next door neighbor has a gorgeous dogwood tree full of pink and white flowers, one that delights me each spring with its blossoms (and disappoints me when they inevitably fall to the ground). The rose bush outside Adrienne’s bedroom window has tiny buds and shoots all over its branches, and barrels of tulips and daffodils can be seen on front porches up and down the street.

As winter has begun fading away, I’ve started wishing I knew more about plants. The beautiful, often unruly yellow flowering bushes I love so much are called forsythia – but I only know that after some serious googling. And I can identify those tulips and daffodils like a pro, but the other blooming plants around here are a mystery.

It doesn’t take a green thumb to appreciate God’s artwork, though. Broad strokes of fuschia and fuzzy dots of white against dark branches reaching toward the turquoise sky line the roads we take to Annalyn’s school each morning. On our short commute I point out to Annalyn my favorite blossoms and blooms, and we’ve had friendly debates about the prettiest ones.

But a few days ago, my little drama queen got herself all worked up because all the lovely plants we’ve been admiring are situated firmly in other people’s yards. “I wish WE had a pretty tree! It’s not fair! It’s like . . . like . . . we were SKIPPED!”

I laughed at her melodrama, but the truth is I’ve felt like that, too.

Many times I’ve looked around and noticed the blooms in other people’s yards and wondered, “When is going to be my turn? Why don’t I have any flowers? God? Did you . . . did you . . . skip me?”

Maybe you’ve felt that way, too?

When you’re waiting for a promotion or a second interview, when you’re praying for a baby or a spouse, when you’re hoping that this showing, this conversation, this application or this audition will be the one.

Maybe you’ve looked around at your neighborhood, your family or your small group, your classmates or your co-workers, your book club or your aerobics class or your ministry team – and wondered, “Am I the only one left? Will it ever be my turn? . . . Why does everyone else get [fill in the blank] except me?”

I don’t know what you’re waiting for today. What dreams seem to come true for everyone else for you, what hopes are harder to hold onto every day that passes. I don’t know exactly how it feels for you to wonder if you’ve been overlooked, forgotten, skipped.

But I do know this: God has not forgotten you, and He will not skip you.

The Bible says God has written your name on the palms of His hands, that He would never forget you. Jesus said, “What is the price of five sparrows — two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.”

And well before that, Moses told the people of Israel that God will not leave nor forsake you, that He won’t fail or abandon you. In other words? He won’t skip you.

I don’t say that in the hang in there, kitten poster sort of way. And I don’t say that in a comfortable, all my dreams have come true way.

I say this with the hard-won confidence and faith of someone who has been left behind and felt overlooked, someone who has felt hope slipping out of her fingers more than once, someone who will certainly feel that way again. But I’m also someone who has been surprised to find a previously plain [metaphorical] plant blossoming in her front yard.

If you’re feeling overlooked today, like you’ve been skipped when the blossoms or blessings were handed out, don’t lose hope. Your wait may be longer, your path may be curvier, but He has not forgotten you.

He has not skipped you or overlooked you.

Your spring is coming.

WFMW: Short Seasons

WFMW - Short TV Seasons

Today it was really hot – at least for April in Missouri. At 84 degrees, I regretted my choice to wear jeans and sincerely considered turning on the air conditioner. I didn’t. But I thought about it.

After school Annalyn asked me how high the temperature had gotten, and she said, “Yay! It’s almost summer! I love summer because it’s the longest.” I explained to her how, if we go by the calendar, each season is the same length. (She’s a super smart first-grader, so she immediately figured out that meant three months per season.) Here in the Midwest, the calendar is pretty accurate. All seasons are created [mostly] equal.

Of course, the same cannot be said for all TV seasons. The average full-length network television season is 20-26 episodes long. And that’s great! {For my new readers, this might be news to you. But I’m a Big Fan of TV.} Today, though, I contend that sometimes shorter is better.

Yes, that’s right. I said it. Short seasons of TV can be a good thing! And I’m not even going to stop there. Oh no, there’s more. I’ll even confess that sometimes I think short series are a good thing, too!

*GASP!*

Now, before you start throwing your remotes at me, hear me out. I am not saying that your favorite show [insert Freaks & Geeks, Firefly, Moonlight or other one-season wonder here] should have been cancelled. I LOVED THOSE SHOWS, TOO. (Except Moonlight. I never watched it. But I’m sure I’d love it if I did.)

And I’m not talking about the short reboots or reunions or revisions or WHATEVER of old shows (The X-Files, Twin Peaks, 24, Full House, Who Knows What’s Next). Nope, not talking about that and the Lack-of-Original-Ideas-itis going around at all.

But sometimes it’s kind of nice not to be locked into a television commitment for five full years. Making it to syndication is great, but that means I’ve been stuck with a show – for better or worse – for 100 episodes. That’s a LOT, you guys.

While it drives me crazy the way that cable stations play by their own rules and produce TV shows with whatever number of seasons they feel like and air them whenever they darn well please (or so it seems), I do like the shorter seasons part of it. Earlier this year, I got behind watching Suits. I realized I had five or six episodes backed up on my DVR and I wasn’t sure I could catch up. But I could – and you know why? Because that’s ALL THERE WAS of this season. Or, season section? The winter season? I don’t know; like I said, the cable people do weird things. But my point is – I could much more easily catch up on a show I really enjoy because it was six hours of TV, not twenty-six.

A more popular example might be The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, which an entire nation of TV lovers devoured in one week. Because it was 13 episodes and no more. (For now. Don’t panic. Netflix signed the show for two seasons from the get-go.)

Also, as excited as Mark and I were to start watching The West Wing together, we’ve spent more time watching Sherlock. Why? Because there’s so much LESS to catch up on! The thought of seven full seasons is so overwhelming! (Especially when we remember how long it took us to get through Friday Night Lights, which was five seasons long but each of those seasons included just 10 or so episodes.)

So I like shorter seasons. Sometimes. But I also like the trend of short series. Not the series we love that were cut short (I’m talking Veronica Mars, I’m talking Pushing Daisies, I’m talking Arrested Development before the weird online episodes.). Those are in a special category of their own.

[Side note: I finally read the second Veronica Mars novel, and when I finished it, I literally said out loud, "I hate you, Rob Thomas!" Because reading the books was exactly like watching the movie, which was exactly like watching the show. And I WANT MORE. And according to all the googling I could stand, THERE WILL BE NO MORE. Pass the tissues?]

So, I’ve been thinking about this short season/short series thing, and I thought I should probably make a list. And since I miss old-school blogging, when listing my favorite things WAS A WHOLE, REAL POST, I’m going to go ahead and do that right here.

Short-Lived TV Shows

Ready? Here goes:

TV Shows I Loved That Planned Short Seasons

  • Marvels of SHIELD: Agent Carter (I’m hoping for a second season but okay without it.)
  • Hindsight (thankfully renewed for another [probably short] season – whee!)
  • Galavant (Honestly, I only enjoyed this one BECAUSE it was short.)

Cancelled Shows I Loved That Ended Well

  • Missing (This one had Ashley Judd who was Just a Mom! Looking for Her Son! – remember? I really liked it but didn’t mind it being just one season. It wrapped up the main storyline in the finale, so I was satisfied with was honestly felt like a long movie.)
  • Last Resort (Did anyone else watch this one? With Scott Speedman and Andre Braugher? I really liked it but wasn’t really looking forward to them stretching it out long term. One [season] and done was good for me.)
  • Better Off Ted (I think I’ve rewatched this show three times. If you like dark comedy, dry humor or workplace funny business, this is for you. The good news about it only being two seasons is that you can watch the whole thing in days. Maybe even while you’re at work.)
  • The Crazy Ones (This was on last year and starred Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar. They worked in an ad agency, and as someone who’s done that, I liked the show a lot. It didn’t end abruptly so I guess I won’t complain. Too much.)
  • Allegiance (This show was cancelled, but NBC is showing the episodes that were filmed online and On Demand. I’m really hoping they wrap it up well and don’t leave us hanging. That would be super annoying.)

Shows I Wish Would’ve Lasted Longer But You Can’t Win ‘Em All, So At Least We Had a Few Episodes

  • Selfie – #ineedclosure #thisturnedouttobesogood #sadsadsad
  • Benched – decent end to its first season, but I sure hoped for a second.
  • Breaking In – I’m a sucker for any TV show starring Christian Slater, it seems. And he’s a sucker for shows destined to fail.
  • Samantha Who & Up All Night – before these shows, I didn’t know Christina Applegate is so funny. She is. And I hope she finds a new show that lasts more than a couple seasons soon. Or at least gets to be a guest judge on So You Think You Can Dance, because that’s fun, too.
  • Traffic Light & Perfect Couples – these two sitcoms were on the same time as Happy Endings. They were also shows about young-ish, professional-ish friends doing silly things and figuring out life. Much as I enjoyed Happy Endings, I still wish these two shows (especially Traffic Light, which I discovered tonight is on Netflix and will probably take up my next two or three free evenings) would have had a chance, too.
  • A couple old ones – The Class (just look it up on IMDB and check out the all-star roster! HOW did it not make it?) and Miss Match (Alicia Silverstone as a matchmaker. It was adorable. No, really.)
  • A couple surprising ones – Don’t Trust the B– in Apt. 23 (I know. It sounds awful, but it was funny. James Vanderbeek is pretty funny playing himself.) and Whitney (which I said at the time was horrible, but then I kept watching it and laughing and DARNIT, it turns out I liked it.)
  • And a few more that fall into no category at all – Trophy Wife (worst case of Wrong Name for a Sitcom since Cougar Town), Enlisted (funny and sweet and a shame nobody watched it), Against the Wall (family of cops on a Lifetime TV show – what more could you want?), Privileged (Joanna Garcia tutors rich kids. I think on the CW. So of course I liked it.) and Bent (the show that made me realize I will, apparently, watch David Walton in many, many short-lived TV shows)

So, there you have it. Short seasons (and series) sometimes work for me. [Short posts, it seems, do not. I have lots of words.]

What’s your favorite short TV show?

 
Works for Me Wednesday :: Giving Up on Perfect

It’s time for Works for Me Wednesday. I’m looking forward to your tips, tricks, ideas and inspiration! If this is your first time linking up with WFMW here, PLEASE read the guidelines I shared in this post. Highlights include linking your specific post, not the front page of your blog, and making sure to include a link back to this site in your WFMW. Thank you!!

Photo source

A Time for Grace and Starting Fresh

A Time for Grace and Starting Fresh

It makes sense that we celebrate Easter in spring. Even more than New Year’s Day, this is the time of year that’s full of fresh starts and new possibilities.

Today, the day after we remember that the tomb is empty, that He is risen, that we have been saved by God’s all-encompassing, incomprehensible love, is the perfect time for starting over.

Of course, though the timing makes post-Easter spring ripe for change, for growth, for hope, actually taking those steps can be a little harder. Monday mornings don’t necessarily feel as warm and fuzzy as Sunday mornings, do they?

But the Bible reminds us that, even after the pastel glow of Easter has faded, the Lord has an abundance of mercy for us – and those mercies are new every single morning. I wrote about how He’s been teaching me about that kind of grace lately at Mothers of Daughters.

[I should tell you, though, that the entire time I was writing it I was thinking of this commercial from Walmart. I guess in my pop culture-soaked brain, it’s not a big jump from “grace for everyone!” to “gigs all around!”]

*******

Months ago, as my husband and I talked AGAIN about our older daughter’s behavior, I confessed something I’d realized about the situation. “I can’t start fresh,” I whispered. “My frustrations just keep building and building, and there’s no break, no relief, no blank slate.”

The conversations about our daughter’s disobedience and disrespect had begun bringing other issues to the table – namely, our tempers. We realized that our short fuses were contributing to the problem, but we didn’t know how to fix it. And I knew that this fresh start thing was part of it.

Without a fresh start, there’s no forgiveness. I couldn’t find my way out of the garbage heap of anger. I couldn’t see the light of grace.

To read about what’s given us all a lot more fresh starts,
join me at Mothers of Daughters.