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Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Lion, the Witch , and the Wardrobe

The idea of “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe"” focuses around four kids, the Pevensie siblings, who become entranced in a land of magic. Going in “Narnia” through a wardrobe— situated in a house where they are rooming — the kids enter a domain where it is all of the time winter, but never Christmas. Under the trance of the White Witch, Narnia is forever in the clasp of wickedness. The domain is occupied by talking animals [beavers, for one], spirits, goblins, sprites, but no individuals. That is until Lucy Pevensie surfaces accompanied by her brother Edmund and, later, Susan and Peter.

Rather apparently the White Witch also known as the Queen of Narnia is most interested in mortals so she resorts to all kinds of magic and hocus-pocus to entice them in. Edmund, the most impressionable of the siblings, is rapidly charmed by the White Witch and then sets out to deceive the others.

Without disclosing the plot line, the subject of Narnia clearly ponders the enslavement of this present world under the Devil, but its past and future rescue through Jesus Christ. In the form of a lion, Aslan, Lewis brings a savior to Narnia who eventually releases the land from its winter grip and vanquishes the White Witch.

For those unacquainted with the gospel message, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe may be difficult to follow. However, Lewis composed the book in 1950 instantly after the horrors of Word War II and with the Nazi air combat for London fresh in the heads of British citizenry. Lewis may have been answering to a solid spiritual hunger of his time when he composed the series as “Narnia” successfully points seekers to Aslan, much as the Bible points readers to Jesus.

I am not certain if I will read the remaining six books in this series, but I am unquestionably interested in searching several other writings of Lewis.

C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams were contemporaries who were a part of a group of authors and intellectuals called The Inklings who gathered during the 1930s and 1940s at a public house in Oxford. Tolkien, like Lewis, used Christian allegory in many of his writings including, The Lord of the Rings, another series of books that was lately published as a major movie.

Distinctly, the regenerated interest in C.S. Lewis’ works is a confident step particularly for a generation of kids not acquainted with the gospel message. Disney, for their part, is interested in formulating the remaining six books of the series into separate movies. So, expect Narniamania – as some have called it – to continue unabated for many years to follow.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

If you haven't read "7 Habits" yet, it MAY NOT be time to read it now.

This is considered a modern self-help classic.

There are concepts in this book that are so potent, that even just scanning them (without consciously putting them into action) altered how I live.
For instance, I endlessly found myself likening what was occurring in my life to what I had just read. If someone said an scornful thing to me, my initial tone would be wrath, but on the heels of that idea would come something I'd read in 7 Habits. I'd be thinking, "Hey! That reminds me of when Covey wrote about ___________." And by the time that thought was gone, so was the damaging situation.

Thinking turned a whole lot of play!

Even the first 3 Habits were decent to get me unbelievably excited about interaction with other people. You could live 1000 years and not get up with these concepts on your own.

The 4th habit was my favored. It's called "Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood". I wish I did this more...now that I'm married! But back then, this assisted me to become a very good "talker". I could talk to people and assist them not "drown for psychological air" around me. People prefer to be understood. If you argue your point all the time, no one feels understood and ideas are harder to be put into action. ANY IDIOT CAN debate! The whole world appears to place a vast importance on argumentation...and being able to destroy other people's viewpoints with your logic and humor.

But that's not strength. Like I said: any moron can debate. Not 1 in 1000 people can actually regard another person's opinion as being the correct one. Even fewer can really stop and say to themselves: "I'm positive that I'm 110% right and that other person is incorrect, but who knows? Maybe I am incorrect. Let me regard their point and listen to what they need to convey."

Now that is genuine strength.

I once shared this concept with an opinionated person. They began hollering at me and alleging I was incorrect and that if you know you're correct, you need to stand up for yourself and prove the other individual is wrong. With a smile on my face, I answered, "Maybe you're correct". LOL! They didn't even pick up on the fact I had just done to them what I was recommending.

It's amazing what occurs to people when you state back to them what you think is the point they're attempting to make. You'll end up beginning a lot of your sentences with: "...so, what you're supposing is....". Once you begin to show the person you're not there to debate, their backs fall; the urging in their voice dips; they settle down; and then they listen to your point without brawling.

As Covey explains, the best means to influence other people is...to be INFLUENCED.

It's such a good book and it's occupied with principles that will help you in all your dealings, but I find you have to be in a position in your life to put it into action. It will work great if you'll be able to practice it daily in a setting as:

-a family member contending with hard situations
-a manager
-a salesperson

...or anyone who needs to deal with people every day. If you feel a strong need to know how to deal with other people more effectively, maybe you're ready for this book now.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Favorite Emily Dickinson Poetry

It is hard to believe the 1775 poems by Emily Dickinson almost never seen the light of day. An editor thought the rhymes were imperfect and edited them. Dickinson was truly ahead of her time as many women writers were brushed off. She covered many subjects but seemed to prefer death,life, and love.

There came a day - at Summer's full -
Entirely for me -
I thought that such were for the Saints -
Where Resurrections - be -

The sun - as common - went abroad -
The flowers - accustomed - blew,
As if no soul - that solstice passed -
Which maketh all things - new -

The time was scarce profaned - by speech -
The falling of a word
Was needless - as at Sacrament -
The Wardrobe - of our Lord!

Each was to each - the sealed church -
Permitted to commune - this time -
Lest we too awkward show
At Supper of "the Lamb."


Presentiment is that long shadow on the lawn
Indicative that suns go down;
The notice to the startled grass
That darkness is about to pass.

Because I could not stop for Death—
He kindly stopped for me—
The Carriage held but just Ourselves—
And Immortality.

We slowly drove—He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility—

We passed the School, where Children strove
At Recess—in the Ring—
We passed the fields of Gazing Grain—
We passed the Setting Sun—

Or rather—He passed Us—
The Dews drew quivering and chill—
For only Gossamer, my Gown—
My Tippet—only Tulle—

We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground—
The Roof was scarcely visible—
The Cornice—in the Ground—

Since then—'tis Centuries—and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses' Heads
Were toward Eternity—

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Wizard of Oz

"the Wizard of Oz" is a classic children' novel written by Frank Baum in 1906. Th story is set in rural Kansas focuses on Dorothy, an orphan girl raised by her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry. Her dog Toto is her constant companion. One day a tornado strikes an Dorothy finds herself in a far away land called OZ inhibited by munchkins. The house landed on the evil ruler, the Wicked Witch of the West.

The munchkin are happy to be free from her rule. Glenda the good witch of the North gives Dorthy pair of silver slipper, which are ruby in the movie. She tells Dorothy she will need to ask the Wizard for help in getting back home. In the meantime, the Wicked Witch of the East vows to get back at Dorothy for killing her sister. Dorothy meets the Tin Man looking for heart, a scarecrow looking for a brain, and a lion looking for courage.

On the journey to Emerald City, the Wicked Witch of the East who is over Winkie country sends all kinds of things to deter them like bees, wolves, and soldiers but they get through them. She attempts to demolish the Tin Man and Scarecrow and sends eh monkeys to capture Dorothy, Toto, and the Lion. The witch tricks Dorothy into giving her the slipper which angers Dorothy. Dorothy throws a bucket of water on her. The water melts the Witch which frees the Winkies from her rule. The Tin Man agrees to be their new leader after he helps Dorothy. Once the find the Wizard, he isn't what they think. The Wizard plans to take them home in a balloon but the rope tears with the Wizard. Dorothy summons the monkeys but they cannot make it over the dessert. Glenda reveals she could have gotten home all along with the slippers.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Heidi

Heidi is the classic novel set in the Swiss Alps written by Johanna Spryi in 1880. Heidi, whose real name is Aldeheid is a five year old girl sent to live with her grandfather by her Aunt Dete ho has taken care of her since the death of her parents. At first the grumpy grandfather resents her but Heidi manages to soften his rough exterior. Her visit turns delightful. He has been in conflict with the villagers and called Alm Uncle because of his seclusion.

She makes friends with Peter, the goat herder. Three years later, the Aunt comes back for her so she can spend some time with a wealthy disabled girl named Clara Sesemann. Hedi becomes homesick and is at odds with their strict housekeeper. Issues with sleepwalking become concern for her grandfather becuase her mother had epilepsy. the docotr suggests Heidi be taken back home to avoid any more health issues. In the meantime, she teaches Peter how to write and read. The docotr suggest Clara visit Heidi for the summer much to the chagrin of Peter. He feels denied Heidi's attention and pushes her wheelchair don the mountain side. Amazingly, Clara walks without it.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Romeo and Juliet

"Romeo and Juliet" is the classic play by William Shakespeare about two star-crossed lovers. It has been made into motion pictures, musical,s and adaptations a.all over thew world. Most of us had to read it in high school and perhaps otherwise would not have read it. Not many high school kids are interested in romance literature. Girls will like it more than the boys. The language can be hard to translate but the plot is simple. The play centers on the forbidden romance of Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet. Romeo is 17 and Juliet is a ripe old 14.

The play is set in Verona, Italy and the opening begins with the Montagues and Capulets have a falling out in the first scene. The play starts with the men of each family meeting on the streets and a fight breaks out. The Prince arrives and states the guilty will be punished if there is anymore fighting. Romeo is upset during the brawl and Benolvio, his cousin, has to find the cause of his sadness. Romeo is in love with a girl names Rosaline who wants to live a life of purity.both young men get invited to the enemy's party by mistake.

After being talked into going by Benolvio, he first lays eyes on Juliet.The fall in love right away unaware of the bitter blood between the families.After identifying themselves, they are disappointed but already in love. The play continues with the famous balcony seen with Juliet saying "Wherefore art thou Romeo?" the two secretly marry without the parent's knowledge. Juliet was to marry a man named Paris when she got older but she will not comply. Friar Lawrence tells her to drink this potion t maker look dead. The plan does not get to Romeo and obviously backfires. The tragedy reunites the two families. Really, you think someone could come up with a better suggestion than playing dead. It should not take a tragedy to correct bitter blood.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Scarlet Letter

I haven't read The Scarlet Letter since high school mainly because it was required reading in the 11th grade. Now, I look at things with a different perspective and appreciate the scope. The Scarlett Letter is a classic romance novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne written in 1850 set in Puritan Massachusetts. Hester Prynne was sent ahead to America by her husband while managing business in Europe but later presumed missing or dead.

She had an affair with a church minster by the name of Arthur Dimmsdale. and conceived a child which is not her husband's named Pearl. Of course , this was a big no-no in those days. She wore a red letter A for punishment of adultery. Hester never would tell them who the daddy of Pearl was. The child turns out to be an imp thought to be because of sin. Anything of this nature was the woman's fault and she was ousted by the community. The men received no punishment. It goes to show you the treatment of women in those days.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Elsie Dinsmore

"Elsie Dinsmore' is the first book in a series about an 8 year old girl who struggle with her Christianity. This series was written in the mid-1800's pre civil war era by Martha Finely. The last book was published in 1906.The series has enjoyed a rebirth in Christian circles.I had never heard of these books before until someone mentioned them on a forum. They are in the public domain which can
be downloaded from Project Gutenberg. The series has as many critics as praise.

I just read 'Elsie Dinsmore' on kindle and could see where the critics come from. unless one is into legalism,it won't be appealing. Elsie is the only daughter of the late Elsie Grayson and Horace Dinsmore.In the first few chapters, Elsie awaits
the return of her father. The grandfather and his second wife was left to raise her at Roselands mansion here she attends school with her young aunts and uncles;
Arthur, Walter, Louise, Enna,and Lora, half siblings to Horace.

She tries to win the affections of Horace Dinsore who is cold to her most of the time especially in the beginning. She suffers at the hands of the teasing
by Arthur and the ill treatment from the governess Miss Day. Her only friends seems to be her maid Chloe and Adelaide, Horace's oldest half sister, is rather fond of her. I find her character a bit unrealistic. She chides herself for the slightest infraction and cries on most pages. How many 8 year olds are this pious and concerned for their souls? Nothing really happens in the book. Christian publishers have reissued this series but leave out a great deal of details. Elsie is regarded the paragon saint of virtue but who would want to copy her? It is only interesting for historical value in my opinion. I plan to write a more thorough review.