Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Princess and the Goblin

The Princess and the Goblin is a cute, cute story. What brought me to it is the movie (VHS, oh ya!) that I love; if anyone has the desire to borrow it, I can get it to you. It's the story of a group of vindictive goblins who try to capture the adorable 10 year old princess and take her to their underground lair, so that one day their prince, Prince Hairlip, can marry her. Therefore, she has to be within the castle after dusk, but one day she is out to late. Thankfully, a boy named Curdie saves her. She also meets her great-great grandmother, who lives in a tall tower of her castle, but whom only the family (Princess Irene (eye-REE-nee) and her King Papa) know about. The whole story is about the progression of the goblin's plot to capture the princess.
The book and the movie vary only slightly, though a little more at the end.
However, the way that the book is written, it seemed almost alligorical. That could be because I'm in an alligorical mood from reading Pilgrim's Progress, but the belief that the Princess and Curdie have in the Great-great Grandmother Irene is similar to the belief that Christians have in God. Irene struggles with whether she actually saw her GGGrandmother or not, and is then frustrated with Curdie's stubbornness when he doesn't believe. Then she comes to the conclusion that he has to decide for himself, and she can't be mad at him, since she went through the same struggle.
I felt this was a little far fetched, but I researched. George MacDonald was a minister, and his works greatly influenced C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, and he said, "I write not for children, but for the child-like, whether they be five, or fifty, or seventy-five." Therefore, he probably did have some deeper meaning to his work, and I'm not being completely far fetched.
Anyway, I really recommend this book. For those of you on summer break, it's a lighthearted book, and you don't have to read a lot into it (though I find it really fun to figure out what authors are trying to get across). It's on Librivox.org, if you are interested.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

My Favorite Places

I greatly enjoy traveling, and thankfully have had the opportunities in the past to see many different areas from Central America, around the States, and Europe. This summer I will have the privilege of accompanying my uncle around Scotland and London, but I wanted to do a post on three of my favorite places.

The first is Ambergris Caye in Belize. Located off the eastern coast, the 25 mile island has a very familiar feel to it. The streets are sandy, and everyone rides a bike or drives their golf cart (no joke!). The beaches are lovely, and there's the largest Atlantic coral reef about half a mile out. Then, on the mainland there are Mayan ruins, and wonderful jungles. It's a very relaxing place, and I hope to go again one day.
My sister on a large vine at the ruins.

One of my uncles at the foot of the ruins.
We rented a little two bedroom house for the week, and this was our private patio and courtyard. It was a very nice house, in a simple way, with open air windows and within feet from the ocean. Shown are two of my uncles, my sister in the hammock, and my cousin trying to crack open a coconut with a hammer.

My second favorite place in the world, thus far, is Tivoli, Italy, more specifically Ville d'Este. Ville d'Este is a house built just east of Rome, with beautiful murals. However, there is a greater surprise waiting when you step into the gardens. There are tons (can't find the exact number) of fountains and the gardens are extensive- I'm sure I didn't make it through all the paths. I don't have many pictures from our trip on this computer, but unless cited otherwise, they're mine.

Sign at entrance.

One of the pathways.

My favorite fountains. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of them, and the only one I could find online in the creative commons was this one, which, though beautiful, doesn't show off the fountains that well. For a better picture, check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:One.hundred.fountain.at.villa.d'este.arp.jpg(http://flickr.com/photos/mgrimaldi/1311926010/)

My third favorite place would have to be Johnston Canyon. It's a lovely hike in Banff National Park next to a series of falls, and up to "the inkpots," which are pools of water in a valley, where you're surrounded by mountains! I've been there several times, and love it each time.

The sign at the beginning of the walk with the distances. Part of the falls- not the most impressive ones by any means, but you'll have to go for yourself to see those. :)A sampling of the trail. It's quite a hike, especially if you go all the way to the inkpots!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Opinion on FLDS Raid

For some reason, the raid on the Fundamentalist Church of Later-Day Saints in Eldorado, Texas has really interested me. Removed from the whole religious perspective, and the polygamy (a whole other discussion in itself), the child custody case and government right balance is an interesting case study.
For those of you who have not heard anything about this, last week a 16 year-old called from the ranch and said she had been abused by her much older husband. She has not been found. This triggered a raid of the ranch, and a removal of 413 children and over a hundred mothers who chose to go with them. On one hand, there is then the possibility that the whole thing was fabricated. In hindsight, the raid may not ever be substantiated. Though this is a possibility, how, as a government official do you deal with that. I have watched a lot of lawyers tackle this question in video interviews from news stations, and they all say that it is the major point for the defense. However, nobody has pointed out that it is the duty of the government to investigate these situations.
That is my main point for the government's side. Beyond that, I think it was a overwhelming overreaction to a call. I have no doubt that abuse is occurring in the compounds. The whole basis for their second warrant was that they saw several pregnant teenage girls once they were on the compound for the first warrant. However, I think each case should have been treated individually, as large a job as that is. Just because a group practices a common religion doesn't mean that all the marriages are under-age (despite the religion's tenants, for those alone are not enough evidence to pursue the case).
At the same time, though the mothers are experiencing trauma like no other with their children away, it's hard to believe some of the things they are saying. At one point, a lady was asked if it is true that "14, 15, 16 year old girls married here?" and she replied that "this is about our children," and "we need to talk about our children and what they are doing." In several interviews, women have avoided this question by changing the subject, or saying "Not to my knowledge." When asked how old they were when they were married, they won't answer. When asked if they are in polygamist marriages, there are varied answers of "yes", and "I cannot say at this time."
The trial, the largest child custody case in the history of the US, begins tomorrow. Could you all please pray for the judge and lawyers as they prepare for the case, the children who are overwhelmed, and their parents.

Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/slopjop/942931893/

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Need for Organization

Calgary is starting to be brown more often than white, which means spring is here. I can't believe it's already halfway through April! As you know, I've been trying to land a job for months now, and I am pleased to say that my first day of work will be Saturday! For privacy purposes, I'm not going to post detail here, but it's a good job, close to my house, with good hours and pay (it's mostly commission, so it really depends). If you want to know more, you can send me a message.

Though it's exciting to finally have a job, it means I'm going to have to tie up my laces and stop lollygaging. It must be the time of year, but I've felt a need to clean and organize, and waste less time. I'm probably going to have to come up with some sort of schedule for myself to prevent that, at least till I get back in the habit. I feel like I'd be a lot more productive if I organized... I'm in the process of so many books- school, personal, or borrowed- that I need to sit down and determine to finish one... one at a time. I'll probably finish A Streetcar Named Desire tonight (for school) just so that it's finished.

Coming up I have two school trips, and my Biology AP test (May 12th, I believe). I need to crack down.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

I and II Samuel

I actually read these two books quite a while ago (about, oh, two weeks) but between school books, procrastination, and a lovely trip to Texas :) it has been put off till now. Therefore, I'm going to group them together.
I definitely think it's amazing reading books right through, because you really pick up the author's style and certain points they're trying to emphasize. Then again, it may be that Saul and David's lives were picked out by God to carry these themes as a lesson. Who knows. What matters is, there is a definite theme that carries through these books and is a valuable lesson to all of us: Giving God the control.

It shows up a lot when they murder someone (or don't).

When David and Saul are chasing each other around in 1 Sam 24, David says "May the Lord judge between you and me. And may the Lord avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my had will not touch you." (v. 12)

When Nabal is rude to David, and God kills Nabal, David says "Praise be to the Lord, who has upheld my cause against Nabal for treating me with contempt. he has kept his servant from doing wrong and has brought Nabal's wrongdoing down on his own head." (1 Sam 25:39)
When David spares Saul's life again, he says "Don't destroy him! Who can lay a hand on the Lord's anointed and be guiltlss? As surely as the Lord lives," he sad, "the Lord himself will strike him; either his time will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish. But the Lord fobid that I should lay a hnd on the Lord's anointed." (1 Sam 26:9-11)

When Saul, David's enemy, is murdered, David killed the man who murdered him. (2 Sam 1)

Later, when men murder Ish-Bosheth (Saul's son), David says, "As surely as the Lord lives, who has delivered me out of all trouble, when a man told me, 'Saul is dead' and thought he was bringing good news, I seized him and put him to death in Ziklag. That was the reward I gave him for his news! How much more- when wicked men have killed an innocent man in his on house and on his bed- should I not now demand his blood from your hand and rid the earth of you!" (2 Samuel 4:9-11)
The theme is, [out of context] "The Lord will do what is good in his sight." (2 Sam 10:12)
Constantly, David is looking for the right thing to do in God's eyes, not man's. Yes, Saul was wicked, but David knew that it was not in his place to carry out that killing. Furthermore he is just, and punishes the man that does end up killing Saul.
So what does this mean for us? It takes a lot of faith to just leave things up to God, as well as patience, but I believe it's a reminder to be the "bigger person." Personal justice (I'm not getting into the judicial system here) should not be left up to the individual, but to God.