Win $40 to go to the movies!

When John and I take the very occasional trip to the movies, during previews I often note names of movies I’d like to see and type them into my phone so I won’t forget about them by the time they come out on video. Fox’s new movie “Won’t Back Down” is one of the movies I wrote down a few weeks ago. I was pleased when Fox asked me if I was interested in mentioning it here, especially when I found out it involved $40 Fandango gift cards for two of you!

The film features Maggie Gyllenhaal (from Stranger Than Fiction) and Viola Davis (from The Help). In this, they’re moms determined to do something about their children’s failing inner-city school. The bureaucracy of the school doesn’t want change – no surprise there, I suppose – and so the mothers risk everything to try something new, in hopes of making a difference in the lives and futures of their children.

The trailer looks great, and I’m really looking forward to seeing the full movie when it comes out (Sept 28th is the release date.)

The movie got me thinking about the times John and I have made unusual decisions to do what we felt was right for our family. Deciding to adopt when we already had four kids was definitely one of those decision points. We wanted more kids and wondered if we could combine that desire with another longing– to be a tiny part of the solution to the problems in the world.

We got way more than we ever could have imagined – we’re so blessed by each and every one of our children.  We know it’s not always the easiest thing to live in the middle of a big family, but we hope they’ll grow up valuing people over things, and knowing you don’t need to drive new cars or have lots of ‘stuff’ to live a happy life.  To the left is a picture of us all at the airport in 2007, the day we brought home our older girls home from Ethiopia. Then below is a picture of the youngest 6 yesterday, ready to start homeschool for the year.  (In case you’re wondering, the boys not holding signs are 9th graders this year!)


I had some personal experience with the joys and challenges of a big family, growing up as a preacher’s kid and the oldest of 8 kids in my family. The siblings that doubtless stretched my parents’ budget during my growing up years are a much greater blessing to me now than any wardrobe, or gymnastics class, or expensive trip I might have had as a kid in a smaller family.

Like any mom, I have moments where I wish we could afford this or that activity for our kids. But when I go back to the choices that John and I made that led us to this place in life, I’m reassured that our priorities are where we want them, and that we’re using our resources in long-lasting ways.

It’s up to our kids to choose how to live their own lives, and doubtless some of their choices will be different from our own. But I hope they’ll always know we did our best to honor God with our choices and our lives, and we weren’t afraid to stand for what we believed was right, even when the right thing wasn’t the easiest thing.

Like the Won’t Back Down Facebook page for more updates on the film. Get a group together and buy group tickets there too!

How can you be part of the change you want to see in your world? What gives you courage? Comment below and be eligible to win one of two $40 Fandango gift cards.
Rules: No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods: a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post b) Tweet about this promotion; including “#SweepstakesEntry” in your tweet and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post. c) Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry. This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me; otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here. This sweepstakes runs from 9/5/12-9/30/12.
Be sure to visit the Won’t Back Down brand page on where you can read other bloggers’ posts and find more chances to win.


  1. I am working to teach my kids to speak calmly even when fighting mad. Its tough but totally possible and can truly change their lives.

  2. At this moment, my husband and I are called to adopt older children (preferably a large sibling group) from foster care. What gives me courage is looking back on the milestones in my life where God has proven Himself faithful and also reading blogs of moms who have gone before me. Knowing that they are paving the way and sharing their successes and failures helps me to press on toward those unknown children we’re called to bring home. It helps me take my thoughts captive when fear creeps in.

  3. I saw this preview at another movie that I attended and was intrigued. I am an educator with both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in education and am always interested in doing everything possible for great learning outcomes. I have chosen to stay home with my kids and homeschool through their school years but have been able to teach through a homeschool tutorial option. I do long for the classroom but hope in the end that our children will be grateful for the sacrifices we have made to give them an excellent education. I love the fact that I can work around their learning styles to provide the classes that they need. My last child to homeschool is a senior and he is now in dual enrollment classes. They are wonderful!!!

  4. Jabber Jaws says:

    We focus on change in our home, in our area, and in our dreams – this means far away. We try to talk about what each of us can do. It sounds silly but right now, I am really focused on teaching respect and value – showing others that we see their value. This means kindness at the store, looking people in the eye, asking questions and listening.

  5. By leaving a legacy … by God’s grace. Right now that looks like praying for the people in our lives, building relationships with our siblings’ children, volunteering in the local school, teaching Sunday School, etc.

  6. Amber Howard-McGinnis says:

    We are currently taking care of my two nephews who were removed from my SIL home by the state. Although it has been a heart breaking situation, we take comfort in the fact they get to see what a loving family can be like; an impression we know that will stay with them for the rest of their life, no matter the outcome.

  7. Rebecca Jacobson says:

    We focus on creating a loving family that in turn will love others around us. When we become more Christ-like, we change the world for everyone that comes in contact with us. We try to follow the J.O.Y. idea of Jesus first, others second and then yourself after. 🙂

  8. I try to set a good example for my children and family by showing a dedication to fitness and nutrition. I hope to inspire others by writing about it on my blog.

  9. I try to teach my children to make a difference and to love all people. My courage comes from my knowledge of God’s plan for me.

  10. I have had a passion for children and adults with disabilities. I have dedicated my career to this area and God blessed me with my own biological child with a disability. I hope to advocate, educate and encourage people with and without disabilities about acceptance, love and hope!

  11. Teaching kids (and adults) to READ! Yes it is important for many reasons but the biggest one for me — what lit my fire so to speak – is how else are they going to learn about God if they don’t posess skills they need to read His Word?

  12. Making the best choices for your family is often about looking at the long term instead of the short term. Like for my family it seemed crazy that I would quite my job and stay home with our first child because my husband made far less than I did, but in the long term a child having mommy us way better than having money.

  13. I just sponsored two kids through World Vision and Compassion to try to make a small difference in the world (but a big difference in their worlds!). I am still trying to figure out how I can best help and serve my community closer to home, but I think it has to do with mentoring kids.

  14. I think simply talking to your kids about the world and others around them will help to change the world. Demonstrating patience, acceptance, compassion and love will also help encourage them to be the best they can be.

  15. I’ve recently made the choice to sponsor a child through Compassion International. I greatly admire the organization but had been hesitant to participate since I’m on a rather strict budget. I finally decided to trust God and committed to the monthly donation… and have been surprised at how well my “child” has fit into my expenses! It takes so little to do so much in her life! I find my courage through the reassuring omnipotence of God!

  16. We try to involve our children in discussions about current world issues. A year or so ago when there was an earthquake or tsunami, our then 4 year old son remembered for months to pray for the people of that area, long after my husband and I would have remembered. I think by sharing with our children the needs of the world, it allows them to develop compassion and a heart for such things. They haven’t yet developed the cynicism I sometimes feel and bring a fresh perspective of, “Why CAN’T we make a change?” It reminds me that YES, we can make a difference!!

  17. I have had it on my heart to volunteer at a local soup kitchen. When I was growing up, my mom would bundle all the kids into the car and we would go slice and chop veggies for the local soup kitchen. I haven’t done that in a while, but it’s such a basic way to honor Jesus’ teaching that we should feed the hungry.

  18. we give a lot of our income to our church, sponsoring kids in El Salvador, missionaries to the Middle East–and we hope to make an impact through this!

  19. I’ve been a stay at home mom for (nearly) 16 years because we feel that is where God has called me to best serve our family. Certainly a second full-time income would have been nice (I work part-time and freelance) but it was well worth the sacrifice.

  20. I am an agent of change by stepping out of my comfort zone and constantly looking for ways to “be better” by how I interact with others . last night I began teaching religious ed class (as a volunteer ) at my church – always looking for ways to take the road less traveled and that makes me feel strong .

  21. I think that living life by God’s rules is the most important stand you can take – that no matter what may be going on, you don’t know better than God.

  22. tia bennett says:

    I had not heard of the movie, but it looks great! I love “feel-good” movies 🙂

  23. The movie looks great. My change is very small and very personal – I hope to overcome reluctance and focus issues with one of my boys, which may mean some difficult schooling decisions.

  24. I pray that all the hard work helping my #4 son overcome the disadvantages that dyslexia has placed in his way and grow confident in who God made him to be will have an impact far beyond one boy learning to read.

  25. For me it requires small steps taken every day. Having just returned from the mission field I was/am in a state of perpetual confusion. Am I useful at “home” when I don’t know where “home” is anymore. The answer is emphatically yes, so I am coming up with ways to serve tangibly in areas I feel most passionate about. Instead of feeling sadness or guilt every time I drive by a homeless individual, as many do, I’m going to roll down my window, ask their name and get to know them. I’m going to take them breakfast, lunch or dinner. Little things. I’m going to tell their stories to people so they know they aren’t just statistics, they are people with faces, names and stories-just like us.
    Stories of triumph, bravery and overcoming great obstacles gives me courage. That coupled with that still, small, voice of God that constantly whispers in my ear saying, “This is the way, walk in it.” 🙂

  26. I am trying to show my kids that we can be ‘part of the change’ by extending kindness to others, and by dressing in ways that honor ourselves. It is hard for them to go out and see so many other kids obsessed with appearance and ‘being sexy’ (a recent study of 6 year olds showed that they thought the ‘sexy’ doll would have more friends) but I hope that this will help them think past appearances and make better choices with their lives.

  27. A date night w/ my hubby would be so fun :)! It’s been yrs since we’ve been to an non dollar theater movie :)….since that’s not high on our priority list 🙂

  28. I hope to make my children aware of others around the world who are in need. Our society is all about comparing. If we would all compare ourselves to situations and people that have less than us, we will have more compassion, be more grateful, and hopefully reach out beyond ourselves.

  29. Bonita Timmons says:

    We have 3 children 4 yrs old 15 yrs old and 20 yr old
    God is soo good he has allowed us to adopt and we defintely feel privileged to be parents. We are trying to raise our kids to love the Lord and to honor HIM

  30. I am trying to make a difference by foster parenting and my kids are definitely what gives me courage.

  31. This, a simple rendering of an excruciating time of suffering endured while death stalked our family over the course of the last 6 years.

    Courage is granted by being given the tremendous privilege of still being here while my older children blossom into adults and there are still toddlers and babes finding their way into the world through our home. I might have missed this, and those babes might not have been born. Teaching them that all of life is a gift, and new life, especially, a gift to be welcomed, a treasure to be protected.

  32. Summer Sheldon says:

    This may sound simple, but my current goal is to just live life well. To have a good relationship with Christ, to be the best parents we can be, to honor God with our finances, to have a good marriage, to love those well who are in our lives. And to keep up with the laundry. Someday, I hope our service can extend beyond us more, but for now, I feel that this is my calling.

  33. My kids give me courage. I’ve taken on 2 hospitals that our kids needed surgery at. Both wanted me to show adoption papers as proof they were mine, plus some other papers, all very personal information. A quick chat with the representing lawyer about how that was discrimination if they didn’t ask every parent for proof caused a change in policy at both places. Without my kids, I never would have challenged it. As a mom, I know I’ll fight to the end for them.

  34. Mindy Kroesche says:

    I focus on change first in our family with how we influence our children, then in my neighborhood and community with how I interact with my neighbors and others around me. What gives me the most courage is knowing that I’m a child of God and He has put me where I am for “such a time as this.”

  35. if you see something you’d ilke changed, start with your county council

  36. I have four children at home and four children in heaven. Those heaven babies give me courage I never thought possible to love without reservation my children at home. I have a Masters degree in children’s ministry, but I choose to spend my days at home with my littles as a stay at home Mom in order to change their lives and ultimately change my world.

  37. We are trying to teach our children about budgeting and wants and needs. Every child wants things but trying to get them to understand do they need it.

  38. I’m instilling in my kids the sense of compassion and gratefulness. Without these two emotions, it is very difficult to want to help make any changes.

  39. Homeschooling, a whole new chapter in my young family, has begun this week. I take courage that the time invested in my daughters is more important that how extensively I cover any given subject in a day, or if I chose “the right” curriculum, or if I am teaching is the best sequence.

  40. Teaching my offspring by example that we should put others first, see the needs of those around us, and help to alleviate those needs if at all possible.

  41. I head an annual drive for the Christmas child shoeboxes for our mops group- its such an awesome feeling to be able to help someone around the world

  42. We are intentionally living in an “undesirable” zip code to be a light and help bring the stabilizing that the presence of families does naturally.

  43. ‘Stranger than Fiction’ has to be one of the most provocative shows ever. We studied this show for six weeks for a college sociology class and boy were the interactions fantastic.
    Living by example is the one tenet that teaches our children more than any other.

  44. We have nine children.My prayer is that our children will be godly men and women who will serve God in ways that my husband I never could. I want to teach them to love and obey God,above all else,no matter the cost.

  45. Four years ago we made the decision to open a martial arts school…in our garage. We committed to training modern-day warriors who live with integrity and honor. Today, that school (still in our now-remodeled-to-be-a-dojo garage!) has a weekly population of about 10-15 students, some who have been with us since the beginning. We have the opportunity to show these people the love of Jesus and speak truth into their lives — most of them would never set foot inside a church, yet they willingly listen to the Bible-based lectures that end each class. It’s amazing! What began as a hobby has become a ministry, and we are so grateful God has allowed us to be a part of what He’s doing here.

  46. Stephnie B says:

    We are making a difference by adopting and sharing with others! I love getting phone calls or emails asking for more details and being able to encourage others.

  47. I am trying to make a difference by helping kids through Scouts. I lead a girl scout troop and my husband leads a cub scout den. We try to reach out to kids who may not have to same opportunities that our kids have had.

  48. Looks like a great feel good family movie! In a world that seems to look for the negative first we just try to see the positive in people and situations. Currently opened our home and helping 2 young people to get back on their feet. Tried to teach our kids to ift others up instead of tearing them down – even when they didn’t want to – never know what the other person is going through and struggling with.

  49. Start with the appropriate elected official… and I find courage if I don’t have to stand alone.
    kmassman gmail

  50. What gives me courage: inspirational stories, both fiction and non-fiction. Moms that are intentional-consistent-do-the-hard-things, people that dare, people that notice and care about a specific problem in the world.