Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Old Fashioned Novelization / Rene Gutteridge; and Devotional ~ Old Fashioned Way / Ginger Kolbaba, © 2014

Old Fashioned is a work of fiction. Where real people, events, establishments, organizations, or locales appear, they are used fictitiously. All other elements of the novel are drawn from the authors’ imagination.
Old Fashioned Novelization by Rene Gutteridge; based on the screenplay by Rik Swartzwelder.
Turning his back on his reckless lifestyle, former frat boy Clay Walsh has settled down to run an antique shop in a small Midwestern college town . . . and to pursue lofty and outdated theories on love and romance. But when Amber Hewson, a free-spirited woman with a restless soul, rents the apartment above his shop, Clay can't help being attracted to her spontaneous and passionate embrace of life. Amber also finds herself surprisingly drawn to Clay, but his ideas about relationships are unusual to say the least, and they bring to light her own deep wounds and fears about love.
author Rene Gutteridge

My Review ~ Old Fashioned Novelization:
Heartwarming. I watched the film first and reading the script novelization leaves a tilt of the head and a visual of each step on the stairs so vivid. Very enjoyable. Thinking how often Rene must have watched the movie to get each nuance beyond reading the script. Excellent.
[Note from author Rene Gutteridge: 3 hours ago thanks for the review!! And fun fact: I never saw the movie until after the book was totally done! I just used the script!]

I liked the theme of the movie and the many quotes so worthwhile.
"I know how weird it sounds . . . but a lot of the boundaries that used to be common, that we've thrown away, were there to protect us. We don't have to go around using each other, hurting each other. It doesn't have to be that way."
   --Clay, Old Fashioned, 58
You will enjoy getting to know the main characters, Amber Hewson and Clay Walsh. By what they learn from each other, others around them from Clay's college days surface with a dichotomy that is overridden by truth.

I am wooed by Clay's antique shop. To find the past and present together, restoring what was to what is. A memory to be enjoyed once again. Lives being renewed to what they can be. A rocking chair keepsake restored to its beauty for a man who says:
   "Possessions don't mean much outside of who they belong to and what they meant to that person. This here rocking chair always stood in our family as a representation of what we were capable of overcoming."
   --Ibid., 65
So many interesting people along the way. Especially Clay's Aunt Zella. People so purposeful in our life. A reaffirming, a redirecting by one who loves us so. Honoring God is always win-win. Come along as Clay and Amber find a better way to express their hearts with trust building transparent and alive.

Enjoy an excerpt of Old Fashioned Novelization by Rene Gutteridge; based on the screenplay by Rik Swartzwelder ~ Chapter 1


HIS DAY STARTED OUT quiet and ordinary, the way he liked and assured himself of. The morning light of early autumn rose in the east and filtered through the old, cracked windows of the antique shop, carrying with it smells of dust and wood shavings and varnish.
   Every morning for nine years, before the sun fully slipped from its covers, Clay had unlocked the old shop. The store was tidy and presentable, like a perfectly tailored suit, showcasing the uniqueness of all the antiques. Everything, as it always did, had its place.
   This morning he stood in the midst of them, carefully surveying the room and inventorying what he might need to acquire this week. Some items he found at estate sales. Others, the more unique pieces, George brought his way. Most needed, at the very least, a good buffing; typically they needed much more. They came to him as trash. But with hard work—tried-and-true elbow grease—there was rarely anything that couldn’t be restored. There was no magic in it, but sometimes when he was finished, it felt otherworldly. A piece would arrive at his doorstep hopeless and pathetic and leave him one day treasured and beautiful.
   Wax did wonders. So did sandpaper. And paint.
   But the truth was, not everything could be fixed.
   It was this early part of the morning that he loved so much, before the busyness of the day began. At the back part of the shop, through the swinging doors, was his little slice of heaven, where the smell of sawdust stirred in him a delight he’d never been able to fully explain to another soul.
   Clay set his keys and coffee mug aside, keeping the front lights off because Mrs. Hartnett had a bad habit of dropping by before the crack of dawn if she saw a light on. He knelt beside the small rocker he’d been working on the last several days. An elderly man had dropped it off, hardly saying a word, paying for it in advance even though Clay insisted he didn’t need to do that.
   “What’s your story?” he murmured, his fingers gliding over the now-smooth wood. The chair was a hard-bitten thing when it came in, chipped and cracked and neglected, smelling vaguely of smoke. Whenever he worked on an old piece of furniture—or anything else, for that matter—he found his mind wandering to possibilities of where it once came from and how it had gotten to where it was now. Most pieces had spent dark days in attics and basements and back rooms that never heard footsteps. Somewhere in their lives, they’d served a good purpose. The lucky ones stayed in the house but sat invisibly in a corner or by a couch, an annoying place to have to dust, a thorn in the side of someone who wished it could be thrown away, except for the guilt attached because it belonged to a great-grandmother who’d spent her very last pennies to acquire it, or some such story.
   Yesterday he’d cut and whittled the rocker’s new back pieces and today he would stain them. Clay grabbed the sandpaper and walked to the table saw where the slats waited, lined up like soldiers. As he ran the sandpaper across the wood, he could practically hear the creak of the rocker and the laughter of delighted children in another century.
   He sighed, rolled up his sleeves, and sanded more quickly. Sometimes he thought he’d been born in the wrong century. There was hardly a kid today who would care about sitting in a rocker on the edge of a porch and watching a spring storm blow in. The world that he once thrived in had become a noisy, clangoring, messy place. But here, in the shop, with sawdust spilling through shafts of dusty light, he found his peace.
   The sandpaper soon needed replacing, so he went to the corner of the room where he kept his supplies and reached for a new package. Then he snapped his wrist back at the sudden and sharp pain in his hand. It hurt like a snake had bitten him. Blood dripped steadily from the top of his hand and he cupped his other hand beneath, trying to catch the droplets.
   Clay searched the corner, trying to figure out what had snagged him.
   There, on the old wooden gate he’d found in an abandoned field: barbed wire. The back side of the gate was wrapped in it when he’d found it, and he hadn’t had time to cut it off yet. He looked at the wound as he walked to the sink. It was bleeding so fast that it was actually seeping through his fingers, dripping on the floor.
   What a mess.
   He ran it under the water. It was more of a puncture wound but mightier than it looked. The blood poured, mixing with the water. And it didn’t want to stop, even for the phone.
   The shrill ring cut through the still air, coming from the rotary phone he had mounted on the wall next to the sink. Keeping his wounded hand under running water, he answered it.
   “Old Fashioned Antiques.”
   “It’s me.”
   “Lisa. Hi. I’m kind of—”
   “I know, I know. Busy. As you always are. Why don’t you answer your cell? Do you even carry it with you? Don’t you text? People need to get ahold of you sometimes, you know. What if it’s an emergency? What about that kind aunt of yours?”
   “She finds me through the postal service.”
   “Anyway, I need to drop off the stuff for the thing.”
   “Are you going to be there this morning? Silly question. Where else would you be?”
   “The hospital.”
   “I might be. You never know. Maybe I got tangled in some vicious barbed wire. I might be bleeding out even as we speak, and here you are completely oblivious.”
   Lisa sighed. She never got his humor. “I’m being serious. Can I bring it by?”
   In the background, Clay could hear Lisa’s daughter, Cosie, screaming at the top of her lungs. “She okay?”
   “She’s throwing a fit.”
   “So she’s in time-out?”
   “You know we don’t believe in punishment.”
   “I know. I just keep thinking you’ll change your mind about that.”
   “So I’m coming by later, okay? And remember, this is a total surprise. Not a single word to David about it.”
   “I’ll make you a deal: I won’t tell David if I don’t have to come to the party.”
   “Clay, he would be crushed.”
   “You know I’m just there to boost your numbers, fill in the empty space.”
   “True. But you’re still coming. And not a word. I’ll see you later.”
   She hung up and Clay raised his hand toward the light. It had finally stopped bleeding. He put a Band-Aid on and started mopping up the blood droplets all over the floor.
   It was a lesson every person learned one time or another in their lives—never cross paths with barbed wire.
“Look at that, would you? Look at it!” Amber let go of the steering wheel with both hands and put her knee underneath to keep it steady. She gestured, glancing at Mr. Joe. “Nobody gets this. I realize that. I do. But see how the road winds, and then off it goes, through the trees? You don’t really know what’s around the bend, see?”
   Amber put her hands back on the steering wheel, then gave Mr. Joe a quick scratch behind the ears. She’d temporarily let him out of his carrier, though he tended to get carsick if left out too long. “You’re unimpressed, as usual. But there’s something beautiful about roads. They’re so full of possibilities. . . . Of course, you can always die in a horrific crash, too. But mostly, it’s just about going somewhere. Anywhere. It’s about what’s around that bend, Mr. Joe. What’s there?”
   Amber’s Jeep whizzed around the curve, clearing the trees as the road straightened. Her windows were down, the wind tearing through her hair so fiercely that it was going to take a good hour to comb it out, but she didn’t care. She turned the music up. “Lovely Day” was on the radio, and she nudged her cat like he might sing along with her.
   Then she saw it. “Whoa.” She slowed and craned her neck out the window for a better view. “Mr. Joe, look at that!” Large stone buildings seemed to rise right out of the earth, sprawled across several acres. White concrete sidewalks disappeared into rolling hills and hazy light illuminated the branches of all the trees, like a scene out of some kind of fairy tale. The entrance read Bolivar University, but it looked like medieval England.
   She leaned toward Mr. Joe and gave him a wink. “Apparently we’ve stumbled across Camelot. I told you I knew what I was doing when we hung a left back there.”
   Mr. Joe meowed in agreement.
   As she drove on, Amber squeezed the fingers on her right hand. Her wrist was starting to throb, probably due to the cast more than the injury. It should’ve healed up fine by now. On the top of the cast was Misty’s name, scrawled in red with little hearts.
   She focused her attention back on the road. She couldn’t spend emotional energy missing those friends left behind. But as she passed Camelot, she had to admit, it was always hard not to glance in the rearview mirror.
   Still, she had to be resolved to press forward, find whatever was around the bend. She kissed Misty’s name and left it at that.
   This was beautiful country, and having spent much of her life on the road, she knew it when she saw it. Amber gazed at the trees. Some of the leaves were starting to turn that fiery-red color she loved so much. Soon, a cool wind would sift through them, lifting them into the air and then cradling them to the ground.
   Ahead, a sign said, “Welcome to Tuscarawas County.” How did you even pronounce that?
   The speed limit indicated she should be going much slower, so she let off the gas. The last thing she needed was a ticket, and small college towns were notorious for planting police officers everywhere. It was probably how they made half their annual budget. Past the university by only a mile was the beginning of the town attached to it. It looked like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting. She was probably somewhere near Amish country too. She’d have to look at her map at some point, but her best guess was she was in eastern Ohio.
   “Charming little place . . . like old-Coca-Cola-sign charming.”
   The car lurched and lurched again, throwing Mr. Joe off-balance. His ears flattened. Then the engine sputtered and gurgled. Amber smiled but kept driving.
   She made it through the town square, going less than twenty-five miles an hour, in ten minutes. A small gas station ahead had a flat, yellow carport extending over only two gas pumps. It looked like it had been built sometime in the 1950s and seemed to be the last stop before the road stretched ahead and turned out of sight.
   She deliberately drove on by, her gas light glowing yellow.
   Then the engine died. With the momentum she had left, she pulled to the side of the road and let go of the steering wheel. The gas station was a five-minute walk behind her, no more.
   Mr. Joe was purring again, wrapping his body around the empty glass jar he shared the seat with. Amber took the keys out of the ignition and relaxed into her seat just a bit. The temperature was so perfect. It reminded her of Monterey in April. The sky, bright and blue, was totally cloudless.
   “What do you think, Mr. Joe? Home?”
   The cat blinked slowly like he was fighting a nap. Amber got out and looked around. The trees were still lush and dense, so she couldn’t see far.
   At the back of her Jeep, she opened the hatch, careful not to let everything spill onto the ground. Boxes of clothes, gently packed dishes, bins full of photographs. And on top of it all sat a huge bulletin board, the colorful pushpins she’d bought somewhere in Michigan still stuck into the cork. It amazed her that her whole life could fit into the trunk of a car. She grabbed her purse from under her travel bag, found her red plastic gas can, and closed the hatch.
   Through the open passenger window, she picked up Mr. Joe and put him in his carrier. “All right. You know what to do. Don’t be afraid to bare your fangs if you need to. Try not to look so sweet, okay? That’s not going to keep anyone away.”
   As she walked toward the gas station, Amber tried to take it all in. She didn’t see any stoplights. She liked towns that were more partial to stop signs. The buildings had character but also had an air of vacancy to them. Over the tree line, puffs of factory smoke rose like ascending, transparent jellyfish. Toward the east and across a small field was an area that looked a little more developed, with some houses and restaurants, as best she could tell.
   At the gas station’s convenience store, a bell announced her arrival. It smelled like coffee and motor oil with vague hints of diesel. The man behind the counter wore a stained blue mechanic’s jumpsuit with a patch that read Larry. He smiled pleasantly, setting down his newspaper. “What can I do you for, young lady?”
   Amber put a five-dollar bill on the table. “Just need some gas.”
   “Five dollars ain’t gonna get you very far,” he said. “There ain’t another town—gas station either, for that matter—for sixty-seven miles.”
   “I’m staying here for the moment.”
   Larry grinned. “Is that so? Well, welcome. We got a great catfish place—serves it up all you can eat—just around the corner there.”
   “Sounds fantastic. I’m looking to rent a small apartment.”
   Larry pointed to a stack of newspapers by the door. “That’s our little publication round here. It’s got a section for renters.”
   “Thank you.” Amber grabbed the paper and walked outside to fill her gas can.
   When she returned to her car, Mr. Joe’s face was pressed up against the wires of his cage, his unblinking eyes staring her down for leaving him behind. She popped the gas tank open and stuck the gas can’s nozzle in. Then she spread the newspaper across the hood of her car.
   She had two criteria—cheap and furnished. “All right, boy. We’re gonna go see if we’ve got a place to sleep tonight.”

“There you go—good as new,” Clay said, rocking the chair back and forth. “Well, maybe not as good, but look, you’ve been through a lot. I’ve given you a pretty good face-lift. Let’s face it: you’re never going to be twenty again. But ninety is the new forty.”
   Clay stepped back. The varnish would need twenty-four hours to dry, but it looked really nice. He checked his watch. Ten minutes until time to open. He sighed, sipped his coffee, and drew stick figures in the sawdust with a scrap piece of wood.
   Sometimes he attributed it to caffeine jitters, but other times he knew it was nothing of the sort. There was a restlessness scratching him from the inside. Not even a quiet workday in the back of the shop cured it. He worked hard to be content, happy even, where he was in this world, making a simple living and being a simple man. It was, however, the slightest tickle of discontentment that edged him into unwanted thoughts about the state of his life.
   The quiet of the shop that usually tamped the needling hum of his thoughts was suddenly undone by . . . blaring music? That was nothing new in this town but unusual near the town square. The college kids were more likely to go down the strip, where the bars and restaurants were. At night. Clay checked his watch again. It wasn’t even 9 a.m. Who would be blaring their music at this hour?
   The bass rattled the more delicate items sitting around the shop. The little figurines that usually stood perfectly still, frozen in their poses, looked to be dancing ever so slightly.
   Then, as if it had been blown away by a breeze, the music stopped.
   Clay lifted the rocker, carefully placing his hand underneath it to avoid the new varnish. He wanted to put a few screws in the bottom to make sure it was secure, but he could do that at the front of the store, where he needed to be during store hours.
   He was headed for the front counter when he saw her. She didn’t notice him at first. She was browsing, her fingers delicately brushing over a lamp, a frame, and then a pile of old books. Her attention moved to the hand-crank phonograph that he’d estimated to be over ninety years old. She stood for a moment looking at its detail, and he stood for a moment noticing hers—curly brown hair, a little wild, like she’d just blown in with a tumbleweed. Bright, playful eyes. Beside the phonograph, in a square, woven basket, he kept two dozen 45 rpm EPs, sometimes more if he hit a good garage sale. Her fingers walked the tops of them, flipping them one by one, before she slipped one out of its black cover and gently guided it onto the turntable, then gave it a crank or two. It came to life, warbling and slow at first, but then a light and pretty piano solo began to play. Dave Brubeck, easy to spot for his unusual time signatures.
   Without warning, she turned toward him. For a reason he couldn’t explain, Clay raised the rocking chair up a bit.
   The woman smiled. “You look like you’re in prison.”
   He blinked. Then realized he was looking at her through the slats in the back of the rocker. He quickly lowered it. Why was she staring at him? Her big brown eyes searched him like he was some interesting antique. He felt like an antique, so it was fitting.
   “I like your little store,” she said. “Old Fashioned. Cute.”
   She gave him one more long, concentrated look as though something entertaining might happen, then continued to explore the shop.
   “Can I help you with anything?”
   And then he heard the scream. So familiar, yet it always made him cringe and clench his teeth. Two seconds later, the door flew open and the pint-size tornado blew in, her arms whirling, her face wild with excitement.
   A second after that, Lisa came charging after her, carrying something plastic under her arm and a great deal of exhilaration on her face.
   The screaming stopped as Cosie leeched herself onto Clay’s leg. She looked up at him and grinned, scrunching up her nose. “Hi.”
   He patted her head. “Hi, Cosie.”
   “You gotta see this!” Lisa said.
   Clay sighed. That sentence was almost always followed by something that he not only didn’t have to see but usually didn’t want to see either.
   Lisa set the plastic thing down in the center of the shop.
   It was a training toilet. Pink and white. Shaped like a castle. Some princess character on the side looked inflamed with an enthusiasm that was apparently supposed to encourage peeing on ancient structures.
   Clay knew from experience that once Lisa set her mind to something, there was no use fighting it. He gave the woman standing in the store a sheepish grin and an apologetic shrug. Weirdly, she seemed unaffected and totally interested in what was about to happen. Maybe Clay was missing the extraordinary part of this moment.
   Surely not.
   Lisa had now squatted on the floor and was beckoning Cosie over with gestures big enough to get an elephant’s attention. Her voice rose three octaves, a technique supposed to induce compliant behavior in a two-year-old.
   “Come on, Cosie. Go tee-tee.” She tapped the potty with her other hand.
   But as usual, Cosie stared at her, completely disinterested in the event.
   “Do it for Mommy. Go tee-tee. Go tee-tee.”
   Clay glanced down at Cosie. She wasn’t budging. For some odd reason, it made him smile inside. He kind of liked that she balked at the unusual way her parents were raising her and instead preferred the status quo of peeing in private.
   Lisa’s voice was rising by the second. Her eyes were growing large. Real large. Large enough that if there weren’t a potty and an antique shop involved, one might think she was about to be killed in some horrific manner.
   “Cosie! Go tee-tee!”
   Apparently Cosie was also going deaf.
   Then movement. Cosie took one step, setting off the strobe lights in her tennis shoes. If Clay watched them too long, he got a headache.
   Another step. Clay swore he saw tears in Lisa’s eyes. Lisa clapped precisely twice and nodded. Another step. Then another. Cosie stood over the potty now, gazing into the plastic hole. A smile slight enough to be mistaken for a gas bubble caused Lisa to beam like a searchlight.
   Then Cosie lifted her leg, and for a second Clay thought she might be going the way of the dog. But instead she kicked the potty. And kicked again. The castle tumbled across the wood floor. Now the small smile had broken into a full-fledged grin. And Lisa’s had dropped off her face.
   She rose and gasped. “Cosie! No!”
   Clay couldn’t resist. He walked over to Lisa and put his arm around her. “I am so proud.”
   She shrugged his hand off, clearly wrecked. Her whole life’s worth at this moment hinged on whether her kid could use a castle potty in public. Clay wasn’t about to say it, but the fact that the kid had enough sense not to go in the middle of an antique shop made him think Cosie was going to do just fine in life.
   Cosie finally noticed the woman who’d come in, recognizing her as unfamiliar. She gave the potty one more nudge with the side of her shoe, clasped her hands behind her back, and grinned at the lady.
   Lisa grabbed the toilet with a huff, acknowledging for the first time that there was someone other than Clay in the shop. “Who are you?” she asked.
   “I live in the apartment upstairs.”
   Clay’s mouth dropped open. “Wha . . . ?”
   Lisa glanced at Clay, gave him that same old look: You never tell me anything. Clay scratched his head, equally perplexed. Cosie ran to him and he picked her up. She mindlessly combed the back of his hair with her fingers, like always, as they all three looked at the woman.
   Lisa was gesturing that he should explain himself, but he wasn’t sure what to say. Nobody lived up there. He would know. He was the landlord.
   “Just needed to get the key,” the woman said. There was a childlike quality to her, a mischievous twinkle to her eye that reminded him of Cosie. She looked to be about thirty, but he was never good with ages.
   Clay cleared his throat. “The key?”
   She only smiled, gave Cosie a wink, and walked out of the shop. Clay hurried after her, handing Cosie to Lisa.
   “What’s going on?” Lisa said, a hand on her hip, but Clay just went out the door, trying to figure it out himself.
   The woman stood on the sidewalk outside. She took something out of the bag over her shoulder. A pen. Then she held out her hand and he saw the cast on it.
   “Sign, please.”
   “Um . . .” Clay’s face suddenly started itching—a sure sign he’d landed out of his comfort zone. He scratched it lightly, hoping it would go away. She just stood there with her arm out. And she was smiling at him. Blinking with those awestruck eyes.
   So he signed. There seemed to be plenty of space. He glanced at her Jeep and found a cat perched on the passenger window, watching him closely, its tail twitching with sharp disapproval.
   When he looked back, she was studying her cast. “Clay what?”
   “Walsh,” he said. “Clay Walsh. . . . You have a cat?”
   She held out her hand to shake. It was awkward with the cast, but they managed. He gestured to it. “What happened?”
   “Amber Hewson.” And then, without another word but still with that engaging smile, she got her cat from the car, tucked it under her arm, and walked toward the stairway that led up to the apartment.
   Clay stayed where he was, trying to get his bearings, blinking in the sunlight, realizing that the loud music earlier had come from her car. He watched her climb each stair, wanting to look away but not able to. He swallowed. Not enough spit. Then too much. And why was he blinking so much? He stuffed his hands in his pockets because that’s what he did when he didn’t know what to do with them.
   Amber was at the top now, staring down at him. “The key?”
   “Oh. Yeah. Of course.” Clay pulled his key ring out of his pocket. And then he started up the stairs, trying to twist the apartment key off the little circle, trying to get her brown eyes out of his head.
Rene Gutteridge; based on the screenplay by Rik Swartzwelder, Old Fashioned Old is New, LLC, © 2014.

The Old Fashioned Way: Reclaiming the Lost Art of Romance ~ by Ginger Kolbaba; based on the screenplay by Rik Swartzwelder. Official companion to the novelization/film.

Contrary to popular opinion, being "old fashioned" doesn't mean you're dull or unromantic. In fact, a true old-fashioned relationship can be more exciting and romantic than anything you've ever experienced! So what does it mean to do things The Old Fashioned Way? Sure, it means opening doors, holding out chairs and taking things slow. But a true old-fashioned romance goes much deeper than that. Inspired by the motion picture OLD FASHIONED, this book shows how to reclaim the lost art of romance by introducing romantic love as God intended it—for all of us. Regardless of past experiences, where you've been, or where you are now, you can find and create a love that will last a lifetime.
Image result for ginger kolbaba
author Ginger Kolbaba
The goal, the noble end, is the same for all of us: moving closer to God, closer to how we're called to live. The goal of this book is to inspire and create a hope and longing for us to be our best selves, regardless of how fractured we are.
   ...Ultimately, this book is about grace—what we offer and what we can receive. The old fashioned way starts with how we treat others—before we even begin with romance.
   --Ginger Kolbaba, introduction The Old Fashioned Way: Reclaiming the Lost Art of Romance, xiv

My Review ~ Devotional, The Old Fashioned Way: Reclaiming the Lost Art of Romance:
Expressing beyond the film, this conversational forty-day journey interacts with hearing the stories and reflection questions and journaling.

My husband and I have been married thirty-one years; he still opens my car door. Years ago he told me, "If you want a gentleman, you will need to allow me to be one." And he is. I was drawn to him by how he treated other people. He is still the kind and caring man he ever was. He loves the Lord and prays over our family for immediate needs, and during his quiet time every morning. He is a gift. Just a couple days ago, our youngest daughter sent me a message ~ "How did we get so blessed to get a man like him in our lives?"

I liked in the movie how Clay and Amber asked questions to learn about each other. In Appendix B there are conversation starters. Appendix A shares getting started ~ to becoming a strong potential mate; supportive guidelines, choosing in advance.  As our pastor says, "What you believe matters." Turn a fictionalized story into joy for your life. And freedom.

Enjoy an excerpt of The Old Fashioned Way: Reclaiming the Lost Art of Romance by Ginger Kolbaba; based on the screenplay by Rik Swartzwelder ~ Days 1, 2, and 3


what’s right about
today’s dating scene

CLAY: I don’t believe our job is the looking, it’s the becoming. Once we are the
right person . . . when we’re ready . . .
AMBER: But if you don’t ever date, how will you know?

MY FRIEND TODD HAS BEEN MARRIED FIVE YEARS. He and his wife have built a strong relationship that has carried them through job loss and several other challenges. They’ve started a family, and whenever I talk with him or hear updates on him from other friends, the news is always good. He’s happy. He’s satisfied. He’s still deeply in love.
   Todd and his wife met through an online dating service.
   Wait, an online dating service? How is that old fashioned?
   After Todd spent years searching for the right woman, going on numerous dates—some he initiated, others initiated for him through the infamous blind-date system—he felt more and more discouraged at his prospects.
   “Nothing felt right,” he says. “I wasn’t dating anyone, was scarred by past hurt, and felt pretty lonely. I began wrestling with why it seemed that every woman I met was not a right fit—it was always a dance of square pegs and round holes. Maybe, I thought, the selective matching of online dating would present not just a wider pool—but prescreened compatibility.”1
   That it did. And after a month of talking over the computer and phone and learning more about each other’s character, likes, dislikes, temperaments, and personalities, Todd and his now-wife decided to meet each other. They had a good foundation to start building a relationship on. And the rest, as they say, is history.
   Technology, the improvement of life, and our contemporary dating scene have a lot of great things going on. Some Internet dating sites—such as eHarmony—have hit upon an important aspect of building the basics of relationships. Rather than focusing on physical attributes and sexual chemistry as the main determinants of relational worthiness, these sites center on personality and character, understanding that marriage needs more than physical attraction to make it last.
   Modern dating also allows people to focus on building friendships. I know many couples who date in group settings, for instance, in order to allow their trusted friends and family to help them see their potential beloved in a more objective light. Singles groups, church groups, and hobby groups allow for interaction and connection in a (hopefully!) nonthreatening way.
   To be sure, nothing is perfect in the world of dating, so you may have tried these options and found them lacking.
   Where Todd and his wife got it right was in not idealizing romance. The good thing that many online dating services have going for them is that they push their users to address things that may never get out in the open in a dating relationship: who the other person really is—not the facade he or she is presenting, the issues that are important, deal makers and breakers. Dating websites and similar opportunities allow the user to bring these issues to the forefront so that prospective dates can get a quicker understanding of what makes a person tick—issues that may not come out in a relationship until further down the road or even never at all—until meeting the divorce attorney after a marriage has gone sour.
   I am not implying that today’s dating scene or Internet dating sites or church singles groups are holy ground, nor am I suggesting that you sign up for an online dating service. I just wanted you to know that even though I’m advocating the old fashioned way, today’s dating scene has some old fashioned similarities that are worth considering and affirming: namely, getting to know the other person beyond appearance and physical chemistry.
If you live a life guided by wisdom, you won’t limp or
stumble as you run.
   • List some of the good aspects of today’s dating ideas and methods. Then explain why you think they are good. For instance, if you list personality compatibility profiles, offer reasons for needing to know about someone’s personality before you get too involved in a relationship or why the other person needs to know about your personality.
   • Think about what you can offer another person. What are your strengths, not just in a romantic way, but in a lifelong- partner way? What are some weaknesses that you need to work on? Write those out, and then discuss them with God.

God, I’ve gone in so many different directions, trying to find the right person I can share my life with. I’m often discouraged and frustrated because no one seems to fit or truly connect with me. I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way.
   Help me to see beyond the typical dating scene and look to the type of person who can grow my character and love me for who I am, and whom I can love as you love. But most of all, keep me attuned to your desires for whom I should allow into my life in a deeper, more committed way.


what’s right about
yesteryear’s dating scene

I know how weird it sounds . . . but a lot of the boundaries that used to be
common, that we’ve thrown away, were there to protect us. We don’t have to go
around using each other, hurting each other. It doesn’t have to be that way.

I REMEMBER WHEN I FOUND OUT my friend Amanda (not her real name) was moving in with her boyfriend of two months—a man who had a string of ex-girlfriends (with whom he had also fathered children). In fact, he was still living with his most recent ex-girlfriend and their baby and was now dating my friend.
   “Amanda, why would you do that?” I asked. “He’s still involved with his ex!”
   “Well, not really,” she told me matter-of-factly. “He’s still living there, but that’s it.”
   She informed me that they were moving in together because it would be cheaper, plus it would help them know better if they were compatible enough to get married.
   I pulled out every reason I could think of for them not to move their relationship in the direction they were headed. I told her that statistically speaking, couples who live together before they marry are more likely to get divorced and to experience domestic violence, and they actually experience less satisfaction in their marriages than if they wait to live together until after they marry.1 I told her that as Christians we are called to live differently—counterculturally—from what the world says is acceptable, that God’s boundaries were put in place for healthy, good reasons.
   Her response: “I don’t set myself up for failure.”
   Life in the “good old days” seems passé and prudish. Our culture tells us that if we love someone, we should be able to be with that person immediately and experience all the benefits of married life without actually being married. Our culture continues to try to eliminate sexual behavior from discussions of morality.
   To a crowd of civil-rights activists in the black American community, comedian Bill Cosby recently said, “No longer is a person embarrassed because they’re pregnant without a husband. No longer is a boy considered an embarrassment if he tries to run away from being [a] father.”2
     Although Cosby’s comments drew criticism, he makes a good point. Yesteryear’s way of dating and commitment in relationships may have been more difficult, but it was ultimately set up to protect us from undue harm and shame. It kept our consciences and actions in check. Part of being old fashioned is having a realistic view of sin, the world, and human nature. To be sure, the church throughout the years has in many ways overcompensated on the shame part, but being truly old fashioned is a balance of understanding sin and forgiveness, shame and grace.
   Abolishing shame completely signifies how much we’ve lost the moral compass that God designed for us and that society, for so long, held us accountable to.
   Instead, today men who try to act chivalrous are often accused of being sexist. We talk about “friends with benefits” as though we can separate the physical actions from the emotional, spiritual, and psychological consequences. Old cultural norms and assumptions are not necessarily true: men and women are now both “players.” And without beating up too much on Hollywood or pop culture, many would acknowledge that we send a confusing message to ourselves and to the rest of the world.
   Going back to the traditions of our past isn’t a bad thing! Although they are counter to what our culture (and even some churches now, sadly) says is “normal,” they also safeguard our hearts, minds, and bodies from regret and hurt. These traditions keep us pure (an old fashioned word!) and protected for the person who will ultimately become our spouse.
   But you may be thinking, Well, I’ve blown it. I’m not “pure.” The beauty of this ideal is that through forgiveness, God can clean up your past and make you pure again. Purity really isn’t just a one- time cleansing and then you’re done; it is ongoing. And thankfully, God offers us a better way to live and relate to others—and with that comes a clear conscience and, ultimately, peace.
Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think
about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the
Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.
So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads
to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads
to life and peace.
—ROMANS 8:5-6
   • What are some things current cultural attitudes would believe are old fashioned in relationships? Do you believe those things are old fashioned? Why or why not?
   • If you’ve struggled with living out old fashioned ideals, has it been because of pressure from others? Some other reason? How were you swayed?

The apostle Paul offers one of the best yeses in the Bible. Read Romans 8:5-6 (today’s Scripture verse) and consider: Is this true in your life? Think about the times in your life and your relationships when you said yes to God’s Spirit leading you. Did that decision give you peace? Write about those times as reminders of the power and importance of saying yes to the right things.
   Now think about the times in your life and your relationships when you went your own way, pressured someone to cave in, or caved in yourself to the pressure of others around you. How did those decisions make you feel? Did they provide peace, or regret and angst? Write about those times as reminders of the importance of staying true to God’s call for morality on your life.


but the old fashioned way
is so old fashioned

There are no knights in shining armor, but you think you’re Cinderella,
don’t you?
IN OLD FASHIONED THE CHARACTER LUCKY CHUCKY is a radio shock jock who doesn’t agree with pursuing an old fashioned way of life. He believes that life is meant to be enjoyed without bounds. He sees the hypocritical nature of people who say one thing and act differently. He observes that those in the church often seem as lost and confused on this stuff as “the world” is, that chivalry is dead, monogamy is outdated, and abstinence is for, well, no one. If you feel it, do it. Don’t allow the emotional or spiritual side to get tangled up in the mess. Relationships are first and foremost about chemistry, he believes. Or simply personal pleasure.
   Apart from any spiritual or religious boundaries, let’s be honest: what Lucky Chucky believes makes sense. The physical side of romance feels good. Why not enjoy it without the strings of commitment and responsibility? Besides, as the cliché goes, everyone else is doing it.
   But when we throw out the sacred traditions of the past, we lose something in the process. “You can tell a lot about a society by who it chooses to celebrate,” a TV reporter says in Woody Allen’s film Celebrity. I think the reporter is right. The traditions of the past encouraged us to love and respect our neighbors, to offer kindness and service to others in need. We once praised Neil Armstrong, police officers, and Mother Teresa. Now we can’t get our fill of Jersey Shore, TMZ, and Glamour magazine.
   Aside from his cynical view of love and relationships, there’s some truth in what Lucky Chucky says. It isn’t pleasant, but his assessment of a lot of things is dead on. He sees the superficiality of contemporary love for what it is and doesn’t pretend that it’s anything other than what it is on the surface. He says, “Women are just like men; everyone wants it both ways.” In other words, a woman might want the rebel, the “bad boy,” but she also wants someone who is faithful. We might be drawn to someone for all the wrong reasons, so we shouldn’t act brokenhearted when that person behaves as we might expect him or her (this goes both ways) to behave.
   This is true even in church. I see young, quiet, sincere guys who are trying desperately to live authentic, God-honoring lives and beautiful, young, Christian girls who say that’s what they want. But then the girls pursue someone who has more charisma and maybe has been blessed with more social skills but may or may not be pursuing God with his whole heart. Obviously, I’m oversimplifying here, but imagine the Christian guy who’s trying to live a godly life, but at church all the girls are talking about how awesome Channing Tatum (or fill in the blank with some hunky movie star) is. Every time I’m in a situation where I hear that, it breaks my heart. The women aren’t saying that Channing Tatum (or celeb of the month) is awesome because he’s pursuing God in his life. They’re saying he’s awesome because he’s got a great body and he’s handsome and charismatic. And that’s it. It has nothing to do with his values, his level of integrity, or anything that matters at all.
   Part of the reason old fashioned values can seem so old fashioned to us is that we’ve bought into the world’s way of viewing relationships. What we say we want and what we actually want are often different things, and so we become confused as to what it means to follow God in our romantic relationships.
   As we consider pursuing the old fashioned way, may the blatant honesty of Lucky Chucky remind us of the truth of who we are and who we don’t have to be.
Since God chose you to be the holy people whom he loves,
you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy,
kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
   • Read back over some of Lucky Chucky’s attitudes I mentioned. Do any of those ring true in your actions, thoughts, or relationships?
   • If they are true, why do you think that is? What do you think needs to happen in order to change that thought pattern or behavior?

God, I don’t like the things that Lucky Chucky and people like him recognize and say. But some of those things are true about me. Point those things out to me when I’m tempted to go that way. Give me wisdom and discernment to see that attitude or behavior and then give me the strength to walk away from it and toward attitudes and behaviors that please you and honor those around me.

Ginger Kolbaba; based on the screenplay by Rik Swartzwelder, The Old Fashioned Way: Reclaiming the Lost Art of Romance Old is New, LLC, © 2014.

Review link of movie DVD ~*Old Fashioned*~ romantic feature film

Amber Hewson (Elizabeth Ann Roberts) and Clay Walsh (Rik Swartzwelder) discuss their developing relationship on the steps to her apartment during a scene from "Old Fashioned." Swartzwelder, a native of New Philadelphia, wrote, directed and portrayed the lead male role in the movie filmed in Tuscarawas County.

a nice prize package for one of

 Lane Hill House's readers

Package Surprise! Propeller / FlyBy Promotions is offering all three products ~ DVD, novelization, and devotional, to one commenter here at Lane Hill House.

Leave your email[at]address[dot]com for winner notification with your comment below. Winner will be selected by ~*in the ballcap shuffle*~ on July 8, 2015.

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
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  1. Do these kind of men even exist anymore?

    1. Yes, I believe they do! Gatherings seems to be the way to know and be known ~ a group invite to come over for food and football or movie; those who can come and know they are included. Kathleen