23 July 2007

Accepting Christ: a svithe

One of the hardest things for me to do used to be to accept help from people. Anyone! I was very self sufficient, and had complete confidence that I could get through anything on my own (which is generally true). I didn't realize how that very self-sufficiency created a barrier with other people or how well-rooted in pride it was.

Now, I know self-sufficiency is one of those good things we're supposed to work towards, but let me just put forth that excessive self-sufficiency is just another form of pride.

Obvious example: There is no way to salvation without Christ.

Yes, we're supposed to be working as hard as we can to Become like Christ, but we cannot forget that without him, no matter how good we are, it is not sufficient.

The phrase, "I will give away my sins to know thee" intrigues me because it seems so counter to what I understand as part of knowing God and accepting Him in my life. Why would He want all my sins? Weren't those the things he wanted me to do away with? How would giving them away help me?

I think the key here is humility. Simon Peter shows exactly how dedicated to Christ we can be, but how unwilling we are to actually partake of His great sacrifice. When Jesus was washing the apostle's feet, Peter declared that he would not have Jesus do it for him. Peter, more vocal than most apostles in declaring that they understood Jesus was the Son of God, still did not understand that to truly accept Him, he had to let him touch his most dirty members so He could wash them clean.

That unwillingness to let Christ to clean us is that old enemy, Pride. We all shrink from letting others see our weakness, our "dirty parts." It takes a lot of humility to admit that we are not completely clean - that we are not entirely self-sufficient. It is hard enough to admit it to our fellow men with all their own weaknesses; it is harder still to admit it to those Perfect beings who know it anyway.

But that is what we must do - admit our weaknesses, submit to humility, and surrender all our sins. Then, and only then, can Christ make us clean.

21 July 2007

Finished: 7 am

After waiting in line (and helping it move along) and making it home by 1 am, I stayed up all night reading. I haven't done a true all-nighter (no naps at all!) for 10 years. I'd hear some small noise, look at the clock and realize two hours had passed since I last looked up. I cried a lot. I laughed a lot. I feel smart because some of my guesses were right and some more were almost right. Some I had completely wrong.

My brain is a bit fried, so I'm going to bed. I'm not going to say more than this because I don't want to spoil it: It ends the only way it could. Now finish it so I can say more!

17 July 2007

More Rapid Reviews (Young Adult Version)

I like Young Adult Fiction. I like that I can read a book in a couple of hours. I like that there's less swearing and sex and violence. And if there is any, it's pretty tame. I read a lot of it. So here's my take on the most recent three (not counting re-reading favorites).

A Step From Heaven
by An Na

I picked this one up because it had a pretty gold sticker on the front. Imagine being the immigrant daughter of an abusive drunk father. It doesn't sound pretty. But An Na's wonderful prose as she takes Young Ju through childhood into the cusp of adulthood is worth all the melancholy and bittersweet ending.

Kingdom of the Golden Dragon by Isabelle Allende

You don't need to read City of the Beasts first, but I'd suggest you do. Action! Adventure! Mysticism! Fighting ascetic Tibetan monks! Treasure to protect! Girls to rescue! Kings to save! It's all here, and it's great fun. I really need to read it in the original Spanish. I'm still glad Allende decided to take a stab at writing YA fiction even though it's not quite as good as her other works.

The Princess Academy
by Shannon Hale

As usual, the awkward girl of the village gets to save the day as she sets her mind to win the Academy Princess-ship and first chance at wooing the Prince. Only she doesn't get the Prince! (To her relief.) Wary of all things "princess," I only read this because of the pretty silver sticker on the front. And as princess things go, it's a good one. I'd like some of that linder stone!

14 July 2007

You will lose... everything

The new Harry Potter movie isn't perfect. But it's pretty gosh-durned excellent! Book purists will probably not like it, and people who haven't read Book 5 (yes, you!) will be confused because it doesn't take your hand to guide you into the world.

I remember thinking when Prisoner came out, "Wow! Dan Radcliffe can act!" I felt a similar sort of leap in ability when I saw him in this film, "Wow! He can ACT!" The same cannot be said for Miss Watson. She's using the same huffiness and eyebrow twitches that she's been (over)using for the last 3 films. I don't believe her - ever. Ok, I believe her when she's laughing during the post-first-kiss chat.

The sets were beautiful and amazing. Especially the Ministry. And everything exploding in it. The effects for the wizard battle were cool. The montage of the D.A. meetings (and outsmarting Flich) were great fun.

Times I laughed out loud: Many. Especially when Umbridge announced that students must maintain an 8 inch distance from each other. (Ever measured that BoM length?)

I liked Evanna Lynch as Luna Lovegood, and I agree that Imelda Staunton almost stole the show.

What most disappointed me was the music. Goblet of Fire had glorious music. I had hoped Patrick Doyle would be back again. This time, the music was fine when it was well in the background, but when it was being showcased, I cringed. It clashed with the general tone of the scene and lacked an epic quality which I've grown accustomed to (starting with John Williams).

The 2 scenes that fell far short of my expectations were when Umbrige gets carried off by the centaurs and when Harry and Dumbledore are talking in D's office after the Ministry. But I've never really liked Michael Gambon as Dumbledore anyway.

Most interesting additions that weren't in the book: Voldemort egging Harry on to use Avada Kedavra on Bellatrix after she's killed Sirius and Harry telling Voldemort he felt sorry for him.

Go see it. And then see Ratatouille!

13 July 2007

Just like Magic!

After laboring like Cinderella after a hard day, the Wife hopes to hear something like:

"Wow! The house is clean! And you washed, folded and put away everyone's clothes! And there's dinner on the table! And the children are alive! May I just say that I am not worthy of you! Is there anything I can do?" and then perhaps get a kiss on the nape of the neck.

What really happens: The Husband walks in, wolfs down the food, then meanders into the living room to collapse in front of the Screen. The next morning, he's getting dressed and he thinks, "Looks like the Laundry Fairy visited again! Cool!"

11 July 2007

Center of the Universe located in the Bay Area

Today the Dude proclaimed himself the "winner" of the "race."

Never mind that it was against the Cita, who just started walking 2 weeks ago.

Never mind that she doesn't understand the idea of winning. Chasing, she's got chasing down. She thinks she's winning if she's being chased.

Never mind that he made it so only he could win according to his rules.

Carpe diem, my boy! Your days of total supremacy are numbered!

08 July 2007

Beauty of the Earth

Camping in the Redwoods was wonderful. Hiking through them was even better. Something about being surrounded completely by God's creations without too much tinkering... and thereby distancing from the original was just thoroughly relaxing.

I hadn't even thought of myself as particularly tightly wound until I began to unwind. One hike in particular, I felt all my anxieties and frustrations being siphoned off into the Greatness that I was surrounded by - like some type of stress osmosis. An overwhelming peace with simply Being that I don't find in my day-to-day life in the hustle and bustle of Getting Things Done.

I feel refreshed, and that is a lovely feeling. It makes me appreciate why God called His prophets up into the mountains to speak to them. I also appreciate all of our modern (in)conveniences, but there is something irreplaceable about being somewhere His work is so abundant that I don't feel in the urban jungle, no matter how well-tended it may be.

06 July 2007

Jiggity Jig

No, we haven't dropped off the planet. No, we were not brainwashed to believe that computers are evil. We actually have been doing things. Interesting things. Really!

The most impressive one: We lived away from the internet for a whole week, and not one head imploded from withdrawal symptoms. (Although a lot of books were read and sleep caught up on.)

Then we lived in a house with only one computer for 6 internetting adults. And we didn't get into wrestling matches over whose turn it was. The Princess Tent provided the necessary incentive for us to behave decently.

04 July 2007

America the Beautiful

"Whose birthday is it today, Mommy? Is it Daddy's birthday?"

"No, it's our country's birthday."

-Blank look-

"It's America's birthday."

"Oh. Is she coming over to share the cake with us?"