MOVIES: Redemption & second chances by Phil Boatwright

Trust Fund

New to DVD through Amazon, Trust Fund has young Reese Donahue (Jessica Rothe) betraying her father by stealing from an inheritance and running off to what she thinks will be greener pastures. When Reese returns home laden with guilt, her father's forgiveness gently teaches her the folly of moral apathy.

A prodigal parable updated to include a bit of "Desperate Housewives" intrigue, this absorbing drama is well-acted, thought-provoking and clean (unlike Desperate Housewives). Jessica Rothe has a captivating screen presence and the producers revert back to a time when a film's essentials were not CGI effects, but were story, character and performance.

The original prodigal account and the many subsequent Hollywood takes on the biblical parable serve to remind that while we all at some point make selfish decisions which have a harmful effect on our lives and those of others, God will forgive a repentant heart and restore us to a relationship with Him (Psalm 32). Though not made with an altar call in mind, Trust Fund stealthy incorporates these same spiritual principles. (PG)



I think every young girl should get this for her 13th Birthday!

Trust Fund review by Four Violet

I Love Movie reviews and this next Movie review also came with a Book....even better!  Several weeks ago we received the movie, Trust Fund from Mapelle Films along with the book, Love Was Near.  Both are intended for ages 12+, but can be appropriate for younger kiddos if the movie is watched as a family to promote discussion.
As soon as we opened the movie we watched it that very night.  Popped some popcorn, grabbed some chocolate and we were ready for movie night!  The whole family watched it the 1st time, even Kaden who is 10 and Dad.  We all enjoyed it so much we ended up watching it a week or so later just Mahala and I. We were thrilled to find out that the Producer of the Movie, Isaac Alongi was a Homeschooler back in the 80's.  It's cool to see all the different career paths our Homeschooled kids go on.

This movie is a lot like the Prodigal Son. Kaden pointed that much out to us from the get go.  But, it has a twist because it's about Sisters.  The main character and Daughter is Reese, I could relate to her in a way that I know what it's like to be searching for Love, any kind of Love.  My parents died when I was 11 and 12 years old.  Reese lost her Mom at 16, people deal with loss and many ways.  The older Sister was structured and disciplined and Reese was on the hunt for something more playing the typical 'baby" of the family that gets away with more then she should.  That was what registered in my heart.  She ended up making some pretty poor decisions because she had "entitlement-itis" and ended up losing it all.  Without giving the movie away I will say that by the end I was proud of Reese and where she was going.  The change is evident in both Sisters as they take on new rolls.

 The setting in the movie is in Chicago and Italy....boy was the scenery gorgeous.  The acting was terrific, I loved the realness and connection I felt.  There were times I forgot I was actually watching a movie because I was so invested. :)  Now the book, Love Was Near .....I couldn't wait to take it out and start reading.  And to see that it was the same title as Reese's book and of course the girl with the yellow dress on the cover is similar to Reese's book.  Mahala and I decided to take it on our upcoming camping trip.  Once we started reading we were thrilled to see it was not just a regular book, but a journal/study.  After getting some back story that wasn't shown in the movie it dives right in to questions about your place in the family.  Mahala is the middle child, but her experience is kind of unique.  She is Kaden's older sibling and she very much acts like the oldest or 1st born, way more then the actual 1st born in our family.  I think it has to do with Kaden having Autism.  The way the chapters are set up you begin reading the story and then it goes into a Diary entry with cool doodles and or snap shots and then there are some real thought provoking questions.  The questions address the what the chapter is about.  One of my favorites was Reese saying she was so focused on what she didn't have that she couldn't see all that she did have.  And then asked if we had ever done that.  Mahala and I would always both answer and this gave us hours and hours of conversation.  Another favorite from the book was to describe who we are in just 3 words and also give 3 words that others would describe us.
 Here is another golden nugget from the book...... 

How far will You go?  How much of Yourself are You willing to give up or give to someone for love or whatever it is You're chasing after?

Can I get an AMEN?!?!  We read that, jotted it down on a 3x5 card and taped it to our fridge.  Another chapter I think it was 19 talks about giving your Power away.  I have been a Co-Dependent person my whole life.  And I based my happiness on the happiness of others.  Not anymore, and my goal is to raise my Daughter to never pick up that Co-Dependent Hat....leave it, don't even look at it.  

So, I can honestly say I Loved Trust Fund and Love Was Near.  I think every young girl should get this for her 13th Birthday!  I will cherish our words written in both Mine and Mahala's handwriting in the book and I look forward to passing on this movie to friends.  If you have kiddos that are around 12, especially a daughter.  Pick these two up and have a girls night with treats.  Watch the movie and then find snuggle time a few nights a week and go through the book together.  You will be glade you did....I promise you!



This is a powerful film…more powerful, certainly, than I expected. 


This is a powerful film…more powerful, certainly, than I expected. 

Review by KGB That's Me!

I have to admit that although I’ve been a Christian for over 20 years, I’ve always struggled with the story of the prodigal son.  It’s so easy to relate to the feelings of the older brother, who did right all the while that his younger brother was squandering the family’s riches.  It’s the same with the daughters in this film.  As humans, we can completely relate to how the older sibling feels.

Even more, though, I think I struggled with how the father could welcome the prodigal child home with celebration. Of course, he’s glad his lost child has returned to the fold and is contrite and sees the err in his ways.  And so it is with this film.  As a parent myself, I think I would have seen the need to punish the daughter for the purpose of correction…at least to express some words of disappointment.  I have no doubt I would have those kinds of thoughts to share with my child in this situation.  But the ending of this film totally blew me away.  The younger daughter, Reese Donahue, makes a speech that brought me to tears instantly.  It was her speech that made me finally understand the reason her father showed her nothing but love and gave her no harsh words.  It’s what was needed for her to see the light, understand the mistakes she’d made, and make the decision to turn her life around.  It was the love in his actions that taught her the most.

And so it is with Jesus.  Aren’t we amazed that He forgives us?  Aren’t we amazed that He loves us, despite our sinful natures?  Don’t we try to do right but often make the wrong choices?  Yet He gives us the opportunity to repent and come back into the fold.  And He does so with open arms.  And we love Him all the more because He loves us anyway.  All that hit me like a ton of bricks as Reese made her speech at the end.  And finally, once and for all, I understood the story of the prodigal son more fully and why the father acted as he did.

This is a powerful film…more powerful, certainly, than I expected.  And it inspired me to go and sit down with my teenage son and my husband and spill out what I’d learned…that light bulb moment I had at the conclusion of the film.  I would really recommend this film for family viewing, and I think it could be used in conjunction with the study guide as the basis for a group bible study of the prodigal son parable.  


Trust Fund



It’s officially summer and kids have a lot more time on their hands, which means a lot more time spent in front of the TV. Are you wondering, how can there be so much content and so little to watch? Is anyone creating content with your kids in mind? They're bombarded with stories of violence, darkness, and hopelessness, but if you dig a little deeper, you can still find some good options. Trust Fund is about family, forgiveness, and love. 

Family movie night is a fun way to relax and can open up much-needed conversations. Take every opportunity to talk to your kids about relationships, their self-image, and plans for their future. 


A new telling of an old story.


Out of all the writers and storytellers, I have a favorite. It’s who I look to for inspiration. He was able to hold an audiences’ attention like no one else: he drew large crowds. He’s a bestselling author and has been for quite some time. I can reread his work and each time I find new meaning behind in his words. Jesus was the master storyteller.

He used parables to relate to his listeners, making it easier for them to understand his teachings, while also hiding truth: what a beautiful mystery. The subject matter of the prodigal is still relevant today, but unless you’re familiar with farming, and have been around a pig pen, how would you know what slopping the pigs is like, or what kind of desperation it would take to want to eat their food? You might ask if it’s organic, or do they have gluten free options?

The prodigal story tells of one son wanting his inheritance before his father is even dead. But today Inheritances are often replaced with Trust Funds, and children are getting money before their parents die. So, what if, a father was concerned that after his wife’s passing, his adult children were not ready for the responsibilities that come with a large inheritance. What if he wanted them to grow up, find their own way, and not be paralyzed with the knowledge that they were taken care of.

Many wealthy parents and grandparents today are finding what they worked so hard for their entire life, is not only being taken for granted but literally lost. Many are deciding to keep fortunes out of reach until these adult children are ready to be not only fiscally responsible but socially responsible. Philanthropy is very high on many of the wealthy’s list.

I wanted to keep all the themes of the prodigal story: rebellion, greed, bitterness, grace, forgiveness, and redemption because they still exist today! And most of us who have a sibling may know what sibling rivalry is. It’s not just you; it’s all families, just read the Bible. I had to start with Cain and Able, because they were the first siblings. But there's Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his brothers, and in comparison, the prodigal brothers don't even seem that bad. And it's not just the guys, what about Leah, she slept with her sister’s fiance'. We probably wouldn't let our kids watch that movie!

Trust Fund is a new telling of an old story. The prodigal story with a twist; it's a love story. Trust Fund brings to life the story of Reese Donahue, a young woman who betrays her family and questions everything they stand for when she chases after what she thinks is love. Only when she loses everything will she finally discover what she was looking for.

Don't miss out on the lessons here. Take advantage of the opportunity to talk to your daughters about choosing the right guy, and trusting their family over a guy they just met! In the movie, Reese is vulnerable; she misses her mother, she’s in that in-between place, where she isn't quite sure who she is and where she's going. She's so focused on what she doesn't have; she can't see what she already has. Look for Trust Fund coming to DVD/Digital July 18th.






1. You’ve survived another week of scrolling through negative political posts accompanied by hateful comments and listened to countless depressing news stories. You deserve a few hours of reprieve! I dare you not to smile while watching Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling dance through Griffith Observatory!

2. La La Land isn’t just a love story, it’s a story about believing in your dreams. Here’s a shocker, you can take your family to see this one and you won’t feel awkward or have to hide anyone’s eyes.

3. And last, but not least. Trust Fund's, Jessica Rothe, is one of Emma Stone’s roommates! Mia has three roommates who all share the same dream of being discovered. They sing and dance around their apartment in the tradition of Hollywood classic musicals, to the number, “Someone in the Crowd,” which is well worth the price of admission!


Can Love Be Bought?


Can Love Be Bought?

I had a slue of dating relationships. It’s not something I’m necessarily proud of, but it taught me what I was looking for in a long-term relationship, and equally what I wasn’t.

I remember my ah-ha moment when a very clear line was drawn between what I would take from a partner and what I wouldn’t. This relationship was….well, interesting to say the least.

I was in my twenties and (of course) thought I had everything figured out.

We met under less than favorable circumstances. I was getting a divorce and he was – well I still don’t exactly know.

Just hang tight.

This gets interesting.

He looked much older than me, but swore he was barely pushing 40. (You’d think the AMAZINGLY TIGHT SKIN around his eyes, super heavy spray tan and highlight job would have sounded LOUD alarms screaming in my head. But, NOOOO. I apparently knew everything.)

For our first date, he took me to a swanky club/restaurant in a trendy part of town and we ate French food and laughed over dinner.

I’m not gonna lie, people. It was an impressive start.

One date led to another and before long, I was introducing him to my friends.

We were full on dating.

Throughout the course of our relationship, he made a habit to somehow always include shopping in our evening. Now, don’t get me wrong, this girl LOVES to shop just as much as the next. But, what was interesting was the longer we dated, the more extravagant the gifts became.

Almost uncomfortably so.


The gifts eventually evolved into trips and hotel stays and beautiful vacations.

Which all needed shopping beforehand!!!

It was fun.

It was expensive.

Did I mention it was fun?

Yeah. It was really fun.

But, like any relationship, over time his true colors showed. And they weren’t always pretty.

Like the time he got really controlling over the way I parented. Or the time he wouldn’t let me to go out “without him”. Or when he made me feel like he didn’t trust my friends and acted like he was “better” than my family. Or when he HIRED A PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR TO FREAKING FOLLOW ME.

(Yes, this really did happen)

Although the veneer smile and shady birthday on his driver’s license didn’t grab my attention, those things did.


I didn’t like it.

And I no longer liked him.

When any relationship hits a breaking point, one person must do the inevitable and break it off.

Seems easy enough, right?

Like, yeah, just tell him good-bye and be done with it.


Not when you’ve been bought.

It doesn’t work like that.


Let me explain:

I tried to break it off. I even forgave the private investigator thing and offered to just part ways peacefully.

That didn’t go over so well.

It ended in him crying (sobbing actually) in the middle of a restaurant and me painfully trying to comfort him. Somehow, in the middle of all of that he talked me into staying with him.




Apparently I was a sucker for a kind word.

This was immediately followed by (you guessed it) MORE extravagant gifts.

Clothes, electronics, you name it.

And, at this point, I genuinely did care for him. I honestly did. I felt responsible for him emotionally (which sounds odd even as I type this, but I don’t know how else to describe it). I felt for the guy.

Not to mention, after receiving ALL the gifts, it was hard to walk away.

A few weeks passed and I just couldn’t take it. I had to break it off. I knew I didn’t care for him the way he did for me (no matter how unhealthy it was) and I had to move on.


So, I broke it off.



It went badly. Again.

But, I stuck to my guns and walked away.

I felt like I’d put on my big girl pants and had won some award or something.

It was empowering.

Until the next morning.


On my doorstep, was a pile of gifts. Not only for me, but for my daughter also. And this was when I realized what this relationship really was all about.


I had been bought.


Oh, I wouldn’t have admitted it the ENTTIRE TIME. Not at all. Not until that moment.

Because, the sick part, was in that moment I realized why I had stayed so long: I believed I owed him.

And that felt GROSS.

How did I come to a point in life where I’d allow myself to be bought? Where I’d let myself cave into money and trips and gifts? When did my value plummet so far as to accept bribery as an acceptable term for my heart and my body???

I think previous hurt had led me there. Believing lies from other not so good guys that I just wasn’t worth valuing.

They say money is the root of all evil….well, I don’t know that I believe money is actually evil. But, the love…the need and the false security it provides can be.

Although I didn’t keep his final gifts and I did walk away, the price I paid for that relationship stuck for quite some time.

He still tried to control me. YEARS LATER I continued to deal with being followed by private investigators and him trying to meddle in my personal and family affairs.

The price was high.

But, what I now see that I didn’t see then, is the true value of myself. My honor. My integrity and my character. You see, where he got it wrong, was in thinking that those could be bought.

Those should never have had a price tag.

And real love never puts one on it. 









Implications of sibling position for Millennials.

Birth Order Theory has been researched for decades; the very premise of which is sibling position and its effects on personality and differentiation in childhood development.  Studies have shown that in general, FIRSTBORN children tend to be more “A” typical; focused on perfection, authoritarian in relationships and risk adverse. Middle born children are far less egocentric, more artistic and social.  YOUNGEST born children tend to be endearing, pampered and protected from adversity and therefore struggle to launch as independent adults. Coping skills are pivotal to successful launching and those are hard earned through trial and error. This requires that parents allow a child to fail and suffer consequences and then try again, all free of shame.  Herein lies the problem of birth order. 

Sibling position is the first role children learn in life and provides a template for how to interact in other relationships.  Siblings tend to assume the same roles in relationships outside of family life.  So, if a younger sibling is used to being sheltered from adversity both by parents and an older sibling, launching without the coddling and clean up of either can be rather difficult.  

Most firstborns struggle through some hardships together with their parents.  Both learn how to navigate the parent/child relationship by trial and error.  By child number two or three, parents, despite their best intentions, are more cavalier, spread thin by life and responsibilities.  And, despite their best intentions, parents are quite incapable of raising multiple children exactly the same.  Research shows that siblings are actually quite aware of this partiality in light of parental efforts to minimize the disparity by making sure all their children feel “equally” loved. 

There is often a triangular relationship between siblings and their parents.  Parents will often qualm their anxiety about one child by lassoing the other child into the situation.  Often the older sibling will engross the parent system in conversation or agreement about the pathological nature of the younger, less independent sibling.  This can look like a behavioral grade report when a parent gets home from work.  These experiences are often internalized as a lack of confidence, which limits the younger child’s ability to build intrinsic motivation, spark creative problems solving and develop a belief in self-improvement.  The more individuated sibling, often the oldest child, has learned to be self-supporting while the less individuated child, often the youngest, becomes more emotionally entangled with the parent and less able to differentiate and develop a clear, confident sense of self. 

So how is birth order related to the recent research on Millennials?  According to a New York Times article published in 2010, Millennials are behind in all five milestones of adulthood including: completing school, leaving home, becoming financially independent, marrying and having children.  Does it make sense why Millennials can’t seem to grow up? 

The 2010 Census offered some sobering statistics on the difficulty of launching in the 21st Century.  Only 50% of Americans currently in their mid-20’s are financially independent which was defined as earning enough to support themselves and a family.  Not to mention, 63% of men and 52% of women between 18-24 years live at home with their parents.  While a Newsweek poll from 1993 found that 80% of parents interviewed believed their children should be financially independent by 22 years, a similar pole today found that parents have raised that expectation to 25 years or more.  Call them shallow.  Call them self-absorbed.  But, Millennials might actually just be suffering from younger sibling syndrome.  Maybe parents today are less inclined to deal with their own fear and anxiety and more likely to use their children as a distraction, excuse or mediator in some pretty challenging times. 

Millennials are struggling to learn resilience.  When their parents and older siblings step in to prevent danger and difficulty, Millennials are blocked from real self-discovery.  It also sparks jealousy and conflict in sibling dyads.  Both resilience and self-actualization are paramount for successful launching.  


Julia Harkleroad, MS, LMFT is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist based in Prairie Village, KS.  Julia serves children and families and runs groups on launching children for both the parents and their children.  She can be contacted at or 913.638.4791