‘How to Train Your Dragon 3’ Proves How to Finish a Trilogy

While not exactly a golden rule, it is known fact that if a movie does well in the box office, chances are good that it will be followed by sequel and more often than not, we’ve come to expect that the sequel won’t measure up to the original. Add a third movie to the mix and you’re just asking for trouble. With animated movies, the expectations are often even lower. (Is anyone really surprised that the Ice Age movies keep getting worse?) But sometimes, as is the case with the Disney/Pixar Toy Story movies, we’re pleasantly surprised. Now you can add How to Train Your Dragon to that short list too.

One thing that DreamWorks Animation has understood about this series is that the story comes first, the hijinks come later. The very first Dragon movie proved that way back in 2010 with a strong story and with each chapter that has come after it, that story just keeps getting better. What started out as a cute kid’s story has become a powerful trilogy. We've seen these chara…

Beyond the Mirror

Beyond the Mirror


The other day I saw a headline that read “Kim Kardashian Poses Topless in Bed on Social Media” and my immediate reaction was, “Why is this news?” or better yet, “Why is this still news?”

In 2016, Kardashian addressed why she posts these kinds of selfies (after National Women’s Day no less) saying, “I am empowered by my body. I am empowered by my sexuality. I am empowered by feeling comfortable in my skin. I am empowered by showing the world my flaws and not being afraid of what anyone is going to say about me. And I hope that through this platform I have been given, I can encourage the same empowerment for girls and women all over the world."

Seriously? Thank you for your contribution to the world Kim. Unfortunately, a lot of girls and women are seeing Kim’s “flawed” body and thinking less of themselves.

A couple of days later Julia, a friend of my wife and mine, wrote a post on Facebook. Those who know Julia know that she is beautiful inside and out, but like many, she struggles at times dealing with her self-image, beauty and measuring up to others. Self-image is something all of us struggle with (even celebrities who break the internet) but there has to be a better way. I think my friend Julia found it and (with her permission) thought I'd share it with you:

Beyond the Mirror by Julia Ruland Eke

Went to put on my pants this morning and noticed my preset belt size was very loose. No, this is not a weight loss post about how I'm trying so hard to lose weight and be thin. This is a remarkable outcome of what happens when I finally accept myself. When I stop trying to kill myself at the gym. When I stop obsessing about what I eat. When I finally have a level of peace and happiness that drives me into motion each day. When I let God take over every part of me, even the parts I think shouldn't be that important to Him. This is then the encouragement I need to realize I'm finally doing it right this time. By letting God show me how to love myself.

I spent so many years hating the way I looked. It didn't start as hating myself at that time, just hating the way I looked, and that my friends is s a dangerous slope. After years of comparing myself to others who looked different and therefore more beautiful than me, I began to doubt even my most secure thoughts about myself as a person. I was insecure. I was sad. I was selfish. Those are the things I became because I thought I'd never be like everyone else.

Years ago I wrote a poem that started like this: "When I look in the mirror, I don't like what I see.
This distorted image is not really me..." I was putting my whole worth on the image in the mirror and It was just one more way I'd never measure up. It even says in the Bible, if you hate yourself, how can you love God? We were created by God specifically to love him, and to be a reflection of His love. We cannot love him completely if we hate even a small thing … like ourselves. And trust me, you are no small thing.

Thirty years later I can look in the mirror and not hate what I see. I can look at the reflection and think:
This is me.
This is how I am created.
This is what God sees and it is beautiful.

Love yourself the way God loves you friends. You were not designed to look like everyone else. You were not made to blend in. Let the inner beauty I know is in all of you to reflect on the outside. Because I can see in you what God sees and it is beautiful.

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