Monday, April 3, 2017

Beauty and the Beast vs It’s a Wonderful Life

Cimarron Legacy Series by Mary Connealy

Bonjour, the opening song on Beauty and the Beast is classic in its musical exposition. All musicals have them, and I find Bonjour to especially charming. It portrays Belle as a dreamer, a reader<<Now the reason it’s all so perfect is because…isn’t that all of us? Who among us hasn’t dreamed of, ‘adventure in the great wide somewhere?’
So in setting up this fairy tale the song touches all of us.
And that brought me to a mental mash-up with It’s a Wonderful Life.George Bailey is all of us. He has his own grand dreams. ‘I'm gonna see the world. Italy, Greece, the Parthenon, the Colosseum. Then, I'm comin' back here to go to college and see what they know. And then I'm gonna build things. I'm gonna build airfields, I'm gonna build skyscrapers a hundred stories high, I'm gonna build bridges a mile long...’
Now thing of Belle singing Bonjour. ‘There goes the baker with his bread like always.’
Okay, well, Belle honey, we all need bread. No matter where you travel you’re going to be buying ‘the same old bread like always?’

So those two thoughts were in my head.
Belle’s dreams of adventure, ‘I want it more than I can tell.’ 
George Bailey’s dreams of adventure, ‘I'm shakin' the dust of this crummy little town off my feet and I'm gonna see the world.’

These dreams are three things. 

1. They are universal

2. They are the dreams of youth

3. They are insulting. 

That baker’s life has value, to be up, 
with fresh bread to sell every morning. 

Those people living in that crummy little town of 
Bedford Falls make the world go on. 

Beyond the insult of youthful dreamers, though, both of these movies have deeper more powerful meanings. Belle learns that beauty is only skin deep. That the beautiful Gaston is a monster and the ugly beast is a hero with a loving heart.

In the end Belle gets her adventure

It nearly gets her killed…but she gets the prince, she gets the castle. She’s probably eating pretty much the same old ‘bread like always’ but it’s served on really pretty China plates.


Click to buy

But George Bailey, in It's a Wonderful Life learns a deeper lesson, a more powerful truth


He did not get his adventure in the great wide somewhere. Instead he did the right thing, every day, right in his own little town.
George learned that everyone (mostly) has to set aside dreams of building bridges a mile long. Instead we end up taking care of one house. We do our best to have a happy marriage. We have children and love them and hold them close.

In Beauty and the Beast, the Beast's unkindness cost him his beauty

The Beast was a wealthy, powerful young man before he was put under a spell. His unkindness cost him his beauty and cut him off from the world. The Beast actually could have built big buildings and long bridges. Instead he was a spoiled, graceless brat who got himself turned into a troll. The Beast has a lot to learn, too, but he does learn it.

George lived a quiet life of value

A wonderful life. He just didn’t see it as a dream coming true and the movie takes him and all of us on a journey to learn our lives are wonderful.

Both have a strong message. But I submit to you that It’s a Wonderful Life is far better. Because how many of us are really going to end up living in a castle? That’s the stuff of fairy tales.

But George Bailey lived as every man. He is us. That story calls to us to stay right where we are. We may be the baker in Belle’s little provincial town, but that is a wonderful life and we need to find joy in it and respect for it.

We are called to bloom where we are planted, to brighten the corner where we are. We stand up to trouble, face it, handle it with love and grace in our quiet corner of the world.

So we look at the books we are writing—ah, you had to know I was going to get to writing, right?

What if our characters keep eating the same old bread like always? What if the dreams our characters have never come true? What if they find love right where they are, and face the conflicts we throw at them with grace?

Many of our love stories are more of an Everyman story because most people find love and marriage. Most find friends and work that may be small but still helps the world go on.

Let’s talk today about giving our work power.


Real power to touch the lives of real people. Even if we write fantasy or regency or murder and mayhem. 

Even if we write about cowboys from long ago 

We can give our work real power by telling how our characters can bloom right where they are planted, how they brightened their own little corner of the world. How they can live with honor and generosity and find a wonderful life for themselves.

How about your own story? Is it a fairy tale? That’s not wrong. Fairy tales are enduring because they have deep truths. Or is it Everyman (except better looking).
Do you tap into the beauty of dreams that come true, or the beauty of reality when a life is well lived.
And are those two things the same?
Leave a comment to get your name in the drawing for a signed copy of Long Time Gone. And if you want

Tell me how you did with Speedbo!

Long Time Gone

Enjoy Cowboys and Comedy with Mary Connealy!
The Boden clan thought their troubles were over with the death of a dangerous enemy. But with new evidence on Cole’s shooting, Justin can’t deny that the plot to take their ranch was bigger than one man. While the doctor and his distractingly pretty assistant help Cole, Justin has to uncover the trail of a decades-old secret as danger closes in.

Click to Buy


138 comments :

  1. HAH! I'm first. When has that ever happened before???

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  2. Then that makes me second. Love your books. Would love a chance to read your latest.

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    1. Hi Deana. You're in the drawing. Good morning.

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  3. Love the story line in this series. Would appreciate winning copy.

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    1. Thanks, Susan. You like the story line? That's such a nice thing to say!

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  4. Hi Mary! Since we're both married to Cowboys I so enjoy seeing your pictures of the calves and ranch life. I would love to read this new book! Xoxo

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    1. Andie does that make you a cowgirl? Because I'm kind of a wimp. I just take pictures.

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  5. Well, I absolutely love this. I love how you compared the two and while fairy tales have their place, I love writing romances about real people finding their place and their worth in the world.... and "It's a Wonderful Life" is my favorite movie of all time.

    Did you know that Seneca Falls, a town about 90 minutes from me, is believed to be "Bedford Falls"? It's set up very much like the town in the movie, the cool streets, the old fashioned flair and buildings and churches, and the famous bridge where George contemplates his worth and his demise... they hold a Christmas festival there every year, and it's charming!

    Deb Marvin lives near there and we met up with her a few years ago. Great stories!

    George Bailey is every man. And Mary is every woman. And I love the transparency of their less-than-perfect life, but their willingness to capture their goals.

    Thank you for this great reminder that a story doesn't need a prince... it needs a hero. :)

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    1. Amen! Yes, Ruthy. We may not all be princesses, but we can all be heroines in our little world.

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    2. Ah, Ruthy, that's perfect. A story needs a hero. Even MORE important from an It's a Wonderful Life perspective, we are all heroes if we've lived life properly.

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    3. Hi Amber, WE ARE TOO ALL PRINCESSES. Thank you for letting me make that statement. :)

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    4. Ruthy, that is so cool that you live near the prototype for Bedford Falls. I want to see that town someday.

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  6. I'm writing a Beauty and the Beast story now. And so I'll cheer for the B/B team.

    It has many moral lessons.

    Perfection isn't everything.

    It's what's on the inside that counts

    Love is stronger than fear or hate.

    Dare to be different.

    I rest my case.

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    1. Totally agreeing. I love Beauty and the Beast. Beauty is only skin deep is such a truth.

      If she'd compared to anything else, I might have fallen! (except a really good baseball movie...)

      But you're right, I love a good moral lesson. I'm just partially in love with Jimmy Stewart.

      And honestly, I think Mary made that movie. Donna Reed was perfect in that role and she provided that All-American girl presence. Love her in that role!!!

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    2. I've always wanted to write a beauty and the beast story. I may just do it.
      Erica Vetsch wrote one in her Seven Brides for Seven Texans novella collection.
      And Melanie Dickerson has one.

      Now Tina!

      WHY NOT ME???

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    3. All fairy tales tell deep and important stories if they do NOT they aren't enduring fairy tales.

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    4. I can't wait to read that one, Tina!!!!!

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  7. "Thank you for this great reminder that a story doesn't need a prince... it needs a hero."

    Or in the case of Beauty and the Beast. It doesn't need a princess, it needs a heroine.

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    1. Yes, exactly. Belle made things happen. She didn't wait for them to happen around her.

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    2. What's great about Belle is, things she did NOT make happen, still happened to her. But her courage held and she got through her 'adventure in the great wide somewhere'. That was all her.

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    3. Yeah, I loved how Belle and the Beast saved each other.

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  8. Mary, your question is a great one. Do we live in a fairy tale or a life well lived?

    The writing thing is my fairytale come true. I am beyond thrilled with the chance I've been given, like over-the-moon thrilled. I don't care if I'm never world-famous or stinkin' rich, I love writing stories and being published and making people smile and cry...

    There's my dream come true!

    But the life well lived is even more important to me, that my kids are raised, healthy, kind people. I'd like a few more to find their paths to church but I bet there are a lot of parents out there who feel the same about that.... But if I were to count my blessings I'd be spending the rest of my days counting instead of writing. :)

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    1. What I woke up thinking was, "We are all the baker."
      And that's why I said those dreams of youth from both movies are insulting.

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  9. Good morning Seekers!
    Love the comparison, Mary.

    My favorite thing about Belle is her selfless love for her father.

    Have to admit though, I'm more of a Wonderful Life writer. In fact, the book I'm editing is sorta a Red Badge of Courage meets It's a Wonderful Life type of story. I love the "realness" of story.

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    1. Amber, when you say that, Belle's selfless love for her father, she also understood him. She respected him. And he was an odd character but a loving one.
      That's a good lesson. And her going off to save him. I'm a little weepy.

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  10. Hi Mary,
    What a way to begin the week. This is a brilliant post. Really. This is why we write, or should be. We write about lives transformed so they can transform other lives, all in the name of Jesus.
    I came within ONE CHAPTER of finishing my Speedbo project. "But what rough beast, its hour comes round at last, slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?" William Butler Yeats, "The Second Coming." Well, I have a "rough beast," minus one chapter. It's the pivotal chapter where the heroine forgives the mother who abandoned her and accepts Jesus Christ as her Savior, while the hero who doesn't think he's good enough to be a pastor has to lead her through the whole thing and discovers his worth in Christ, so I guess it's one I should probably take some time over, but I am pleased with what I accomplished this month. Considering it also included a revise-and-resubmit, a substantial freelance assignment and transitioning out of my day job, I'm okay with what I did. I LOVE "It's A Wonderful Life" and agree completely with your analysis. I read somewhere that Jimmy Stewart put a lot of his own angst, after returning from The War, into George B. It is a timeless truth.
    I need to mull this one, may be back later. Thanks, Mary.
    Please enter my name in the drawing.
    Kathy Bailey

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    1. kaybee that's a huge chapter. And it sounds beautiful. The thing to do with something that important is, WRITE IT. And then fix it. It'll take some revision to get all the emotions flowing in the right direction, but it'll come. Keep at it.

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  11. Hi Mary, what a great post. I've lived in the every day life well lived world until the past year. April 27, 2016 God started rattling the cage of my real world. Time after time and in different areas of my life. Many of you know I've recently moved to the coast. This was a dream come true.

    Just as I was adjusting to my new life and imagining how I'd visit family back in KY, one of my sons told us they are moving to Waco, Texas! If anybody has tips for living in that area, I'd love to hear them. Thanks!

    As far as Speedbo goes, I'm so glad I participated. I was close to reaching my goal. Thanks for all you did to encourage us in March!

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    1. Jackie, way to go with the coast.
      And tell your family to hunt up Chip and Joanna Gaines in Waco! :)
      Glad Speedbo worked for you! YAY!

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    2. Jackie, my daughter and her family live in Waco. I love Waco. It's country folks living in the city type of place.

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    3. Waco is the Greatest!! I went to Baylor! They will love it! Good churches, good school districts, focus on families, & a brand new water park with a huge, long lazy river. How can I help?

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  12. What an interesting pair of movies to compare/contrast, Mary!

    You know, in some ways, I think writing romance is often writing the fairytale. Because we usually have nicely tied-up happy endings. But I like to think that with the deeper personal discoveries and changes our characters make, that we go further toward real life victories.

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    1. We've got to have the Happily Ever After to have a story, but then It's a Wonderful Life had that, too!

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    2. True, Mary. You know, there are some stories that have the ending tied up too easily, too neat and perfect. But I think maybe we get more enjoyment out of the ones that aren't tied up so perfectly. We feel we've been on a better journey while the characters struggle to earn their happy ending.

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  13. I love to read the fairy tales. Especially when I am reading to escape! I live the everyman life, so I usually don't want to overthink it. Enjoying the comments on this debate. Thanx forvthe giveaway!

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    1. Me too, Jennifer. The books are almost a fairy tale for me. But mostly my life is 'the baker with the bread like always.' LOL

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  14. Thanks Seekers for Speedbo.I didn't reach my goal but I am way farther ahead than when I started and that is success. Mary - your books have power. They have the power of making me want to read them and loving them when I do. I haven't started on this series yet but they are in my TBR. Maybe it's your writing that is the magnet - or maybe it's the cowboys.

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    1. Cindy, progress is what we want from SPEEDBO. I didn't make my SPEEDBO goals either but I had good reasons and I made good progress so I am counting it as a success. You do that, too!!!!!

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  15. I LOVE this. Sure we all would love to travel and see the world, but I feel most of us have that duty to "bloom where we are planted" and make our lives fabulous right where we are. (obviously this doesn't mean no travelling, LOL) I feel the world breeds our discontent and makes us feel like losers if we stay where we are or aren't making a huge splash on the world. We need the bread bakers and chicken farmers (I think there is an egg scene in that movie, too) to keep the world turning, as you said. I adore my small town and the fact my family has been here for generations. Thanks for a fabulous post, Mary! (and the giveaway) ;)

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    1. Susan, I love this>>> I feel the world breeds our discontent and makes us feel like losers if we stay where we are or aren't making a huge splash on the world.<<<

      That is really a DEEP TRUTH. The world does breed discontent.

      And honestly, except for almost being eaten by wolfs and being attacked by Gaston, doesn't Belle STILL LIVE IN EXACTLY THE SAME PLACE??? I mean, her father lived out of town, the palace may be a bit farther.

      And in fairness, maybe Mrs. Potts can make the occasional croissant, rather than those same old baguettes.

      But still, she just moved a few miles away.

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  16. Well said, Mary. And a good reminder for me today. As I approach my 50 th birthday next week I have been giving some thought to where my life has taken me so far. And while I didn't get the great adventure I may have hoped for, raising 3 beautiful, smart, successful young ladies has never been boring! I will be proud to be the baker that has kept them fed while they pursue their adventures. Thank you for your insights and all the smiles you bring!

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    1. Amen, Julia. I've got four daughters and even if I write 500 books, they will always be my greatest achievement. They are my 'adventure in the great wide somewhere.'

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  17. This is one of those families that you finish the book and feel like you've met real people and want to go visit them on the ranch and the few other characters in town that make the story line so brilliant. So excited to read this!

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    1. Terressa, you mean the Boden family? You really liked them, huh? What a wonderful way to put it. I really appreciate you saying that.

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    2. Yes. The Bodens. So real. I think deep down my "beauty and the beast" adventure would be on a large ranch. But I love the "wonderful life" I'm in.
      Your books fulfill that wanderlust ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜Š

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  18. Wow, Mary! I'm glad I came over to Seekerville this morning to see what was going on! It's a Wonderful Life is only my favorite movie!!! And as for Beauty and the Beast . . . I'm kind of obsessed. I went to the see the new movie (which is WONDERFUL, by the way) as soon as it came out, then I went to see a high school musical of Beauty and the Beast on Saturday night, which was INCREDIBLE and great. And I've, um, written two full-length-novel Beauty and the Beast retellings.

    But let me just say, you could do all kinds of studies based on Frank Capra movies. Oh my word, I love Frank Capra movies, all so deliciously sentimental and sweet and powerful. Love, love me some Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. But I digress. I also love your points, Mary! Definitely we can learn some humility from George Bailey and the beauty and nobility of a simple life of service.

    Now, Beauty and the Beast is so much more than learning that beauty is only skin deep. But I won't go on and on. I still want to write a couple more Beauty and the Beast retellings to explore more of the themes in that fairy tale. Which is my favorite fairy tale, BTW.

    Thanks for this, Mary! Great food for thought.

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    1. I love your Beauty and the Beast stories, Melanie. When I was writing about fairy tales I was thinking of you and how wonderful your work is!

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  19. I loved this post. It reminded me of the struggle I had for a few years as I read all the romance happily ever after girl meets boy in first chapter when in real life that never happened to me. I wanted to write what it was like for me and to have the characters face reality that even if there was no husband or boyfriend, life could be okay and then in the end give them the wish they desired. But alas I've learned that the publishers want that formula of boy meets girl in first chapter. So my stories have ended up becoming reality but not in the romance genre but in Women's fiction. Although my very first one I was able to rewrite it enough so it could fit the formula but still have the character I wanted to instill in my characters If this makes any sense.

    I would love to win a copy of your book.

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    1. The "formula" can be off-putting, Wilani--I totally understand. Romance novels tend to move the love story along so much quicker than it usually happens in real life.

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    2. Wilani, this is such a great point. You know in It's a Wonderful Life, George Bailey did get his Happily Ever After and he got it pretty fast, too. He and Mary were young when they got married.

      HIS problem was, honestly, for that one awful day. He had a wonderful life almost all the time. And his dreams are universal dreams of going wonderful places and doing big things. And then settling down and living a life full of love with one woman and doing good, honest work.

      One thing about that movie is, I think it's easy to come away from it thinking George Bailey was ALWAYS disappointed in his life.
      But mostly he was a happy man.
      His unhappiness really only happened that one day when Uncle Whoever lost that money.

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  20. Mary, I agree with you. "It's a Wonderful Life" is far better. How many times have I rushed through something not appreciating the process only to find I missed the most important part? This is so true of raising my oldest. I couldn't wait for her to crawl, then walk, then talk, etc. I found I didn't appreciate the quite times of just holding her and watching her sleep as much as I should have. I hope my impact on her life reaches beyond what I think it does-does that sound arrogant? I don't mean for it to be- I just mean I hope my impact is more positive than I perceive it to be. George Bailey's impact was far beyond what he thought. I want that too. Thanks for sharing your talent of writing. I enjoy your books and humor very much.

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    1. Jackye, I catch myself doing that. Thinking, 'just get through this. Just finish that. Just get this kid toilet trained. Just do...whatever.... and then I can relax and enjoy life.

      I think of it as 'wishing my life away'. And I try to NOT do it.

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  21. I can't leave this alone.
    The beauty of It's a Wonderful Life is that George Bailey touched so many people with his selflessness, with being such a good person. A baker who just bakes bread is fine, but a baker who makes a difference by going the extra mile, baking extra bread for the poor, or in some other way helping others, now that is a Wonderful Life well-lived. ;-)

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    1. You nailed it, Melanie!

      Janet

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    2. And Melanie I want to hear more about Beauty and the Beast. You've set me to thinking of all there is in that story. I really do love it. But I'd like to hear your take on it.
      Tell us more if you check back.

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  22. Thought-provoking post, Mary! I lean both ways--is that even possible??? Sometimes "blooming where we are planted" is the right and best thing for us. But what are we without our dreams?

    And where would the world be today without the dreamers? Probably still living in caves, with no internet, central A/C, Starbucks, or microwave ovens. Blech!

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    1. So true, Myra. I mean George Bailey didn't build bridges a mile long or build buildings one hundred stories high, but someone did, right? So the dreamers matter, too. I think as authors we are more dreamers than a lot of people.

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  23. Will try to come back later and formulate some thoughts about Beauty and the Beast, but right now I have an appointment! Love Seekerville! Love you, Mary!!!

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    1. I have definitely touched Melanie's sweet spot today. I want to hear more!

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  24. Inspiring post today Mary. Loved that you pointed out how we can accomplish so much in just our ordinary lives. Very poignant. Didn't do Speedbo as March is a crazy month for me. Did meet my daily writing goals though. yay. Have a great day.

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    1. Good for you, Sandra. Daily writing goals add up to books faster than anyone even expects...until they've done it for a while.

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  25. Like Melanie, I'm a Frank Capra fan! "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" is full of that youthful enthusiasm we see in George Bailey, but when Jefferson Smith comes face to face with the realities of politics and his dreams are shattered, he picks himself up and soldiers on, holding fast to his ideals.

    I think you can tell that I'm on the "It's a Wonderful Life" side of storytelling. While I love fairy tales and know they have deep truths to teach us, the stories I write are about plain, everyday people.

    After all, the greatest heroes are the bakers!

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    1. Yes yes yes!!!!!! Jan, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is amazing! I LOVE that movie!

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    2. I urged my daughter, a millennial!, to watch 'It's a Wonderful Life' and she thought it was such a boring, downer of a movie.

      All I could think was, "I raised you all wrong."

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    3. LOL! Mary! How could she have turned her back on your wonderful example!

      But then, she's still young. Maybe she'll appreciate It's a Wonderful Life eventually. :)

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    4. She might, Jan, if she can ever be tricked into watching it again!!!

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  26. Mary, what I love about Its a Wonderful Life is that circumstances/problems bring out George's heroism. He thinks he wants to travel and build but discovers he wants to do something way bigger and save the town. Then when the stakes are raised again, he's broken and the town saves him.

    Janet

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    1. Ah, Janet, you gave me chills. I swear I'm not sitting in a draft. Yes, let's remember, George DOES come back to himself. He does go back to face whatever is coming, jail, anything, because he knows he lived a wonderful life and he'll take this terrible thing rather than erase his life.

      But the town. The friends that come through for him. Yep, chills again. No man is a failure who has friends.

      And that awful old Mr. Potter. Wealthy and vile and alone. Enjoy your money you awful man.

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    2. Exactly! Yet the movie was panned when it came out. Too sentimental.

      Janet

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  27. Hi Mary! This is a great post. In the book I'm writing I have a character who probably fits the George Bailey mold although I hadn't thought if it in that way. He is thinking he needs to be "moving up in the world" but decides he's quite content to stay where he is. I didn't use the "bloom where you're planted" phrase but alluded to it.

    I met my Speedbo goal of 1k a day for 31 days!

    Please enter me in the drawing.

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    1. Sandy way to go on the SPEEDBO. I saw you reached your goal on the Weekend Edition. I'm so delighted to call you a fellow Nebraskan!!! LOL

      And of course we have different stories but so many of them come down to people doing the right thing, right where they are.

      Okay, I'm getting a little weepy.

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  28. Mary Connealy! You have a lot of HOPE & WISDOM here! My life has had times of Fairy Tales & times of Drought. The times of drought have turned out to be the Biggest Victories! So it’s a win-win.

    In times of drought, I’m learning I have to close my eyes to see God. Sometimes it’s too hard to see the fairy tale if I’m looking at the drought.

    “For we Live by Faith, not by sight.” 2 Cor 5:7
    “So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”
    2 Cor 4:18

    *I know this isn’t exactly what you wrote about, but it’s what I got out of it! So Thank You!

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    1. Jana, what I wrote, inspired you to think of such great things, and talk about the victories you've had through times of drought. I love that this came to you and you shared it.
      God bless you.

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  29. I love both movies.

    I see George Bailey as a reluctant hero. He always does the right thing, but is still not happy.

    Belle's father was a great secondary character. Inventing things to help people even though the town thought he was nutty.
    Gaston was the opposite. People loved him and craved to be around him even though he was a jerk.
    I'd say that can be true in real life.

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    1. All Gaston had to do was marry one of the village girls who adored him.
      WHY did he have to be such an idiot over Belle, and where did that sort of every day arrogance, twist itself into true evil?

      GASTON you did NOT have to destroy yourself.

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  30. LOVE your examples, Mary. I could watch either movie any time. Ahhh... :-)

    And I love a great princess tale. (Which...BTW my nickname in high school was Cinderella... ;) ) Anyway, I digress.

    Your points are so spot on. Creativity and a story well-told will always rank high in my book. While there are some genres that might not be my cup of tea, I applaud authors who bring their stories to life in new and different ways.

    This is such a great post, Mary!

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    1. Hi Cynthia. Cinderella in high school? seriously?

      I probably was nicknamed ... oh, you know ... Stinky or something.

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  31. There's a big difference between how George and Belle are treated in their hometowns. Even though he didn't see it, George was well-loved and respected by all but a few in his community, whereas Belle didn't have that support system--only the bookseller really appreciated her. There was no nice boy next door to have a hand in changing her dreams--only Gaston.

    A lot of us might have more in common with the baker, but we don't have to be rude like him. He blatantly ignores Belle after asking her a question. Her adventure was inevitable (if she wanted to find her father), but it may have changed her attitude if her neighbors had actually cared about her.

    Regardless, both the one who stays and the one who goes on the adventure have value. We all know what would have happened if George Bailey hadn't been home to help his town. But if Belle hadn't gone off to find her father and rescue him, there'd still be a man trapped as a beast, never to move beyond his selfish, angry ways; a little boy who would never grow up, never get a chance to make a difference because he's stuck as a delicate china teacup; a feather duster who would only ever be burned by the fellow she likes . . . (okay, so being a feather duster might be better for her morals. But it takes away her free will). God calls some to adventure, and some to bake bread. Some lucky ones might even get to do both.

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    1. Rachael I love this. You're so right. The townspeople didn't treat Belle nicely. Didn't RESPECT her differences.

      You know I'd say for many of us, as writers and readers, 'her nose stuck in a book' Belle is like a lot of us. Dreamers, readers thinkers. That's why beauty and the beast touches so many of us. (one of the reasons!) LOL

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  32. Wow, great, you're forcing me to actually think. Ummm... is my story a fairy tale or an Everyman? Could it be both? Because while my characters are certainly very Everyman (and my story even starts off like that), their situation certainly is not and is more like the fairy tales with enchantments, and castles, and princes. Though, I'm pretty sure that if it came to a toss up it would lean more in the fairy tale area just because it is way too fantastical.

    My characters dreams are not actually for adventure, but to get back home (the adventure is an unfortunate addition). So I guess while their dreams do come true their dream was to live a life well lived and to get back to normalcy, so I guess in a sense they could be the same thing in certain situations. I really don't know, though.

    My Speedbo went well, I got 53,150 words done, though I didn't finish my book (approximately 65,000 words left) and so I'm carrying my goals into this month and the next in the hopes of finishing it before summer.

    No need to enter me for you book, I already have it.

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    1. 53 THOUSAND WORDS!!!!!!!!!! WOW, NICKI, GO GIRL GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    2. And this is not me saying one way, the everyman way, is right and the other way the fairy tale way, is wrong. I'm too big a Melanie Dickerson fan to ever say that.

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  33. I'm hoping to see the new Beauty and the Beast movie when the grands come to visit later this week. The original followed Christopher Vogler's THE HERO'S JOURNEY, which is basically the journey each of us takes. I'll be taking notes as I watch! :)

    I do hope the new B&theB follows the same story line.

    Haven't seen IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE for years, but I always loved the movie.

    You asked about our own stories, Mary. I like to focus on universal truths and usually include forgiveness and redemption issues into my plots.

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    1. Debby, I just saw it on Friday. The story changed VERY little--just a few new characters and fleshing out of relationships. I really liked how they added more about Belle's father and what happened to her mother. Very touching.

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    2. Thanks for the update, Myra!

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    3. My daughter went to Beauty and the Beast and said it's the same movie. But like Myra said, more fleshed out secondary characters. She mentioned Gaston being more evil right from the start.

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  34. Great post, Mary, and it shames me to say I haven't watched It's A Wonderful Life all at one time. Catching spits and spurts as I went through life. I'm definitely going to purchase it and take the time to watch it.

    As for B&B, I have seen the first movie, and will go see the new one. I've always loved fairy tales, but maybe didn't watch them for their messages, but for enjoyment. All the comments are making me look at how I watch movies differently.

    While I didn't reach all my Speedbo goals, I did finish my synopsis, which I think helped me move forward with my story. I'm definitely not a pantser!

    I'm working on a contemporary western, so my h/h are going to find love right where they are, and learn to trust one another, and face their fears of loving again.

    Congratulations to all who met their goals, and the winners! I won one of the "first scene" critiques. Can someone tell me what 'first scene' means, and where I send it to? Thanks!

    Blessings,

    Marcia

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    1. Marcia, the trouble with writing cowboys is, they will NEVER leave their ranch! Oh, once in a while you get a wandering man, but mostly their staying put so you'd better figure out how to deal with that. No great adventures in the great wide somewhere. Only gunfire and long horn bulls.

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    2. That's a whole lot of adventure!

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    3. Well, Mary , mine has been away from his hometown for ten years living his dream, but has to come back to take over the ranch after his father dies.

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  35. I'm going to be completely honest, though, the life of the Everyman has never had much appeal to me. Call it youthful dreams, but I've always related with Belle and it felt like she was reading my mind when she sang, "I want adventure in the great wide somewhere."

    As much as I love the movie It's a Wonderful Life, it always scared me silly. Watching it I would feel so bad for George and fear that someday I would end up like him and have to give up my dreams as well.

    Do you not think that perhaps Belle and even George looked down on their "crummy" and "poor provential" towns, and the people in them because they were frightened of ending up just like them?

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    1. Nicki, great points.
      I keep hearing, "George Bailey never went to war."

      Now none of us want war and no one wants to get shot at, but think of the strange experiences soldiers have in the great wide somewhere.

      Maybe you'd come home from that changed and knowing the world is much bigger than Bedford Falls.

      I'm speaking as a woman who lives ten miles from the home I grew up in. And My Cowboy Husband lives three miles from his childhood home.

      So we haven't really gone far afield.

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    2. Oh, and Nicki, it makes me feel a little better about my own daughter not liking it.

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  36. I have not seen Beauty and the Beast yet, but plan to.

    Mary, I love secrets and your stories. The new book sounds great!

    Janet

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    1. I'd love to see it, just to hear the songs and see how they made it live action. It's so fun.

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    2. The really great thing about it is that it fills in some blanks left by the original movie and shows more interaction and progression in the relationship between Belle and the Beast. And I LOVE the new songs they created for this new version. It's just gorgeous too. :-)

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  37. Okay, I had to come back and defend Beauty and the Beast a little bit! LOL! There's nothing wrong with having dreams, first of all. I grew up in a tiny town where the other students at school literally talked about me behind my back and called me "weird" because I read so much. Can you imagine? And I absolutely couldn't stand those guys who went out deer hunting every weekend. I WAS BELLE! And all those boys were Gaston! To me, anyway. I wanted adventure!!! So God let me do mission work one summer in Germany, and then I spent a year in Ukraine. And then, can I just say that I was done with adventure? LOL!

    But I digress.

    I wanted to say that Disney totally diverged from the original tale with this part of the story. In the original Beauty and the Beast fairy tale Belle did not have dreams of leaving her small town. And there were at least two other siblings who were very selfish. And that was kind of the point, that Belle was the unselfish, kind-hearted one. And then the beast, of course, had to learn to be kind--and when Belle sacrificed herself to save her father, it has a big effect on the Beast, and Belle is a big influence on him--in my mind, anyway. Which is part what I love about it.

    And another thing I love about Beauty and the Beast is that the Beast kind of opens up to Belle and becomes vulnerable by falling in love with her. Then when he releases her and lets her go home, he knows it may lead to his complete doom, not to mention that she may break his heart. But he lets her go because he loves her. And she realizes that she loves him in spite of his appearance, that he's become her best friend, someone who understands her. She loves him and it doesn't matter that he's a beast. I just love that! Then when she returns and he's dying, he is able to be thankful that she came back. Oh, that shows so much growth! I love that too. So romantic. Sigh.

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    1. Also, the Beast was once a very wealthy prince. Back then, he was spoiled and selfish and would not have taken any interest in Belle, who was not rich, now that her father's ships had been lost and he'd lost all his wealth--in the original fairy tale at least. And yet he falls in love with Belle--REALLY falls in love with her. So he also looks past something in her--her lowly status in comparison to him--while she looks past his monstrous appearance. They fall in love with each other's heart. And that's how true love should be.

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    2. I do love the way he lets her go. The self-sacrifice of that hits so hard. It's a beautiful moment of true goodness from the beast. He's learned to love and give.

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    3. Aw, Melanie that's so beautifully put. I love it. Keep writing! I mean here in Seekerville, but in life, too.

      LOL

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  38. Mary, what a great post. I admit, I've always loved Beauty and the Beast. Belle, with her selfless heart and yearning to experience more of the world resonated with me. But I think it was mostly because she chose kindness and to see beyond the Beast's hardened, "ugly" exterior than because of her desire to get outside her provincial town.

    And, George Bailey. LOVE that character. Giving up his dreams to do the right thing for his family, and his community. And discovering that some dreams are satisfied in the building up of young hearts and nurturing relationships. Yes, I love It's a Wonderful Life, too.

    My story is definitely more about the common man than a common girl meeting a prince (although she may meet a professional NFL player). But, I hope my story conveys hope and the message that there is worth in living life well, whether it's a glitzy life or a "common" life.

    You asked: "Do you tap into the beauty of dreams that come true, or the beauty of reality when a life is well lived.
    And are those two things the same?"

    I think these things can be the same. Sometimes learning to live our dreams creates the beauty of a life well-lived.

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    1. And Jeanne, it's about HOW we live not where or with what amount of comfort or money. And George's life was beautiful in every way honestly, his wife and beautiful children!!!
      It was just watching him doubt it, and then realize it and embrace it.

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  39. I love your thoughts on these two stories and how our perspective on life is what gives it meaning. I'm enjoying the beauty of my reality- raising kids, working from home- but also fulfilling dreams- just visited Hawaii for the first time! Some dreams are on hold until the time is right (owning a house).

    I love reading stories set in the everyday and celebrate the happiness that can be found there. In fact, I've found myself resenting characters where the author repeatedly refers to their physical beauty, as if that is more important than deeper characteristics, or it validates them for romance more than someone who would be considered less-than because they don't meet a visual standard. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with being attractive, but I appreciate when authors avoid fixating on that. Maybe that's why Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairy tale ;)

    Please enter me in the drawing for your new book!

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    1. Heidi, Hawaii? Really? I doubt I'll ever travel that far. Huge, long air flight isn't that fun for me. In fact it's UN-fun enough it stops me from longing for far off places.

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  40. Well done, Mary!

    Glory to God, by His grace I met my Speedbo goal! I'm writing nonfiction these days but love your work and would be thrilled to win the drawing.

    May God bless you and all of Seekerville!

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    1. Hi Phyllis. Good for you for letting a new direction catch you. Good luck with it and God bless you as you write it.

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  41. Hi Mary! What a great post! I read this early this morning, before the day job, but I didn't have an opportunity to respond. Thanks to you, all day long, my head has been filled with "Buffalo gals won't you come out tonight." I LOVE It's a Wonderful Life! It's second in line behind Gone With the Wind. As a little girl, watching IAWL, I cried for George Bailey when the pharmacist smacked his bad ear until it bled. Once I was old enough, I understood that he really did have a wonderful life...it just took him a while to realize it. My stories are definitely Everyman.

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    1. Jill, I touched you with the reference to that movie. YAY ME!!! :)
      I like it that you didn't quite get the happy part when you were young. It gives me hope for my daughter!!!

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  42. I have recently been fascinated with exploring derailed dreams in my stories. Perhaps my favorite is about a man named Kristian who doesn't understand why God never seems to answer his prayers and give him his heart's desire- namely, his first love. In fact, he ends up accidentally married to her cousin! But I love exploring the concept that God's desires for us are way better than ours for us.

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    1. I like this, Boo. That you're exploring things in your writing.
      I think that's very normal. To have a really baseline passion for a topic and come at it from different directions.
      I heard someone call it your 'fire circle'. Something like that.
      I may have the wrong term.

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  43. Mary, love this! You said: We are called to bloom where we are planted, to brighten the corner where we are. We stand up to trouble, face it, handle it with love and grace in our quiet corner of the world. AMEN!

    I sang "Bonjour" all day when I first read this post at 8:00 a.m. (sorry just now responding)

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    1. I hope you can shake the song eventually, it's stuck in my head, too.

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  44. Gosh, Mary, you're making me think about what I write. I'm not used to that. I think I write a blend of the dreamer and everyman -- involved in daily life but also helping accomplish his dreams. Maybe it works because the dreams he has are for the place he lives and loves? Must ponder ...

    This is a super discussion. Enjoying everyone's comments!

    Didn't reach my Speedbo goal, which is fine. I took advantage of an opportunity to go to San Antonio and Austin. Amazing how my writing mind clears and focuses when I'm away from the computer.

    Don't enter me in the drawing. I'll soon have a copy :-)

    Nancy C

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    1. Nancy, I have been to San Antonio once and really loved it. Except...it was JULY. We couldn't go in January, oh no!

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  45. Okay, so now I hear Garth Brooks singing ... "Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers." Story ideas flowing ...

    Nancy C

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    1. Nancy, I'll take the blame for Sharee and Bonjour, but how can I be blamed for Garth?????????

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  46. I loved this, Mary. I'm a huge fan of It's a Wonderful Life (and Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed and Frank Capra) and watch it every year at Christmas, and some years more often than that. It's one of those movies (along with Mr. Smith goes to Washington, To Kill a Mockingbird, etc.) that I watch over and over again. I'm not savvy enough yet about plot, structure, story arc, etc. to explain why, but they touch me heart-deep. I love fairy tales, too. But I'm definitely a "Everyman" fan. Thank you for such an interesting post.

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    1. It's interesting to realize that Beauty and the Beast follow the Hero's Journey, but doesn't It's a Wonderful LIfe do that too? When he denies that he was never born, thanks to Clarence, then accepts it and goes on his journey of change?
      Of course that's sort of the end isn't it?
      So just forget it.

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  47. Mary, I love It's a Wonderful Life! I love all three movies Frank Capra made with Jimmy Stewart (I am a huge old movie fan), and I think you made a great point about how George Bailey finds the adventure (with a lot of help from Mary and then more help from Clarence) in his backyard. Fitting that you talked about the bread as I love the scene in IAWL where Mary gives the family the bread and salt and other housewarming gifts.

    I pretty much reached my Speedbo goals, but my kids are on spring break. I discovered a peanut butter and jelly sandwich while I was cleaning out my daughter's closet today. Whoever said bread was the same old thing was not with me this afternoon. So during the days this week, I'll be cleaning and working at night trying to make my April goals.

    Golly, now I want to watch You Can't Take It With You with Jimmy Stewart and Jean Arthur, directed by, yep, Frank Capra.

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    1. Tanya, that's another one of my favorites. Frank Capra was such an incredible director.

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    2. Laura, I'm a huge Capra fan! I love It Happened One Night and It's a Wonderful Life and so many more of his movies. He was incredible.

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    3. Tanya, there goes the baker with his tray like always, except the bread is horribly GREEN! LOL
      Was this your child trying desperately not to starve while you wrote?
      Or is the lesson here, you haven't been deep cleaning your closet? Because that's me, too and it's not Speedbo's fault.

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  48. Gosh, Mary, you had me at Beauty and the Beast, one of my favorite stories (and musicals) of all time! I love your comparison between it and It's a Wonderful Life, because you are SO right -- we need to "bloom where we are planted!"

    You asked: Do you tap into the beauty of dreams that come true, or the beauty of reality when a life is well lived. And are those two things the same?

    For me, tapping "into the beauty of dreams that come true" and "the beauty of reality when a life is well lived" are the same thing.

    You see, as a bitter child from a dysfunctional family, I always dreamed of a loving family that supported and encouraged each other. My dream came true when I came to Christ and then subsequently married the man God blessed me with. Between a loving husband and a loving God, I have learned how to have a "life well lived," which was always my dream.

    It's that "well-lived" life from which I draw my stories, infusing into each all the beautiful lessons God taught me in order to have and maintain a "well-blessed life."

    Hugs!
    Julie

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    1. Julie, your testimony gave me chills. You said, "My dream came true when I came to Christ and then subsequently married the man God blessed me with. Between a loving husband and a loving God, I have learned how to have a "life well lived," which was always my dream." Amazing how God can work things out. So happy for you.

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    2. JUlie that is so wise, to see that you can't change your past, but you can find a beautiful present.

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  49. Good Evening Seekers! MARY, I enjoyed your post! I'm excited to read your newest release!

    Please enter me in the drawing.

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    1. Hi Caryl, you're name's in the drawing!!!

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  50. Definitely a It's a Wonderful Life fan.

    I don't think I e ever tried a B/B story. All of them are Everyman stories.

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  51. Mary, great post! Sorry I'm just now commenting. I was out of town with my mom. I love Beauty and the Beast! Will need to watch It's a Wonderful Life again. It's been too long. I'm not sure why, but I'm thinking of Arsenic and Old Lace. Those little old ladies thought they were doing a great thing. Helping people. How was I drawn to their characters? That's what I need to find for mine! I'll just say I am so glad March is over. Ready to start a new month!

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  52. hi Mary
    missed this post because of work busy-ness (didn't even get to look at the 'net all day :( ), and then the Gupster had a baseball game and then there was homework and THEN it was time for bed.
    just plugging away, making my little corner a little better each day (hopefully).

    I LOVE this post. I'm loving Long Time Gone so far.

    Love this post. Thanks Mary!

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  53. Checking in late, too. I saw B&B last night and my husband & I watch IAWL every year. I so enjoyed your contrast of the two. Everywoman is good and so is an entertaining fairy tale.

    Last night I saw Belle as one heck of a rider because of the sequences where she rides hell-bent to rescue dad and then the Beast. Her riding so expertly made me think Disney is trying hard to show women as somewhat independent in our new world. She's tough and handles what life throws at her. This is not your main point, but fairy tales do morph.

    I'd love a signed copy of your book,
    Laura

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  54. Since I am a reader, I have lived in fairy tales, I have suffered great lossess and I have exerienced tremendous grief. I have enjoyed great parties and traveled to exotic locales. My life, however, has been lived as a Everyman and I wouldn't have it any other way! I have been content bring a daughter, wife, mother, gramdmother, farmer and librarian!
    Thanks for a thought provoking post!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. And yes, I would love to win your book! Thank you!!
      Connie
      cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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  55. I think you can be realistic and still have the fairy tale too. You just learn to take the good with the bad, and remember to look for rainbows!

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