Friday, August 31, 2007

The Grasp of Fate

She had run from her past. She did not stop until the time came, this time in which fate snatched her up in the cold grasp of its hands. It had the power to do anything with her life, anything at all. At its worst, it could even take away her life. She had run into fate's grasp, and now it was up to fate to decide her future. Fate, however, takes kindly to playing tricks on a person’s mind, and so it did with Ginger Kate Tucker.

It was a quiet day in Ginger's life, one that seemed to have no end. As she stood in the familiar garden, she could feel the faint, icy chill of fate's hands on her shoulders. Fate touched her in such a way that she had no other choice. No matter how painful it would be, she would have to remember. Yet fate was not done with her; oh, no, it still had deceiving plans in mind for her.

A strange headache made her dizzy and sure of nothing. Her thoughts circled in her mind. Fate had no mercy. In an effort to relax, she found her way to what looked like a comfortable bench and sat there. The soft feel of the wind eased her in a way she had not known before. Her environment was strange to her.

As she became increasingly familiar with her surroundings, her memory began to kick in. She looked to her right and to her left. It was fall: the leaves were falling, the wind was blowing, and it was cold. The sun prevailed over the dark clouds for the moment, but rain was on its way. She looked about, her sharp, skinny blue eyes rolled from place to place, and all she saw was peaceful. Fate had begun its deed.

A young girl appeared a short distance away. The image was skipping along the paved path, singing a silly song or two. It had a small, cute, rosie smile, skinny blue eyes, and short, brown, braided hair. It looked like a smaller version of her, but in her confusion, she did not recognize the scrawny figure that was once her own, along with the bangs that never stayed straight.

Ginger shivered a little, pulling her jacket tighter. Fate had her where it wanted. She was in a state of madness. Somehow the image of her younger self that Fate had created in her mind awed her. Fate took away what little confidence was left in her. Ginger took pity on the happy, yet lonely, innocent child.

"Child, come, sit next to me. I am in great need of a cheerful song," came the soft tone of her voice.

"Shall I sing for you?" Fate's creation of a younger self asked her.

Fate took up the part of the child and immediately began to sing a song about memories. It knew this would torture the fairly aged woman.

"Do sit," Ginger interrupted.

"Tell me a story,” the young girl asked, “one that is during a happy time, spring, maybe? One that has sad things in it, one that brings pain to one's soul. I can see many things in your eyes. Tell me your story. Does it hurt?"

"Yes, I suppose I could fit a story under all those. I miss my young, innocent days. They were taken away from me, you see?" was the calm reply.

"How was it taken away?" Fate inquired.

"Fate did not agree with me. It left me in misery for some time. After my mother died, my father had a hard time raising me, so he gave me away. I was put up for adoption. Times were hard. The orphanage was not the greatest place to live, but it was there that Fate came back to me," her tone of voice rising a little.

"Do tell me.” Fate was enjoying its hold on her life.

Fate laughed at what she said and refused to leave her be. It would not lose its grasp on her; playing tricks was too much fun. It was pride, as well, that kept fate's grasp. The war would not be lost.

"I met Joseph at the orphanage. We became good friends, and never left each others’ sides," she continued. "Those were sad and tiring times, memories that I will not say out loud. They were all unhappy moments."

Fate continued to laugh at how well all its plans were going and decided to relax, and listen to her telling a story which reminded Fate of the many proud achievements of its grasp on her life. Fate enjoyed hearing it from her. It was all the more painful for her and all the more joyous for it.

"Do tell me more," the image begged, "why were they sad times?"

A tear rolled down Ginger's cheek. One single tear was all it took for Fate's laughter to grow even louder, sharply cutting into a person’s heart and soul. It laughed at her several times as its control over her grew tighter every second.

"Joseph was…," she gave a long sigh. Another tear rolled down her cheek, fell off her chin, and quickly found its way to the pavement beneath her feet.

Fate, it having been a long time since it last meddled with the young man's life, did not at first remember who this Joseph was, and what it had done to his life.

"Yes, I remember!" Fate said to itself.

"I loved Joseph dearly, "Ginger continued. "He died when he was 19. I was 18 at the time. He had proposed to me only a month before. We were going to be married here, in this garden. The doctors could not tell what had caused the death. At the time it seemed that fate did not agree with me."

"Fate has its own pride. It holds every single living person in its hands. It uses the fate of people around you to bring misery to your heart," Fate poured its unloving words out of the image's mouth.

"No!" Ginger screamed out, waving her hands wildly.

Fate had her in denial. She was running again from her past, from the truth. However, this was not the direction Fate had her headed for. Oh, no, it had barely begun its deed. This was but the first step of torture. Now, it knew, she must really call out for her memories, all of them, even the bad ones. This would be the climax of Fate's dealings with her.

"Leave me alone!" Ginger repeatedly yelled.

The image disappeared, but Fate did not. It held its grasp firm.

Ginger sat quietly now, echoes of the past surrounding her. The wind softly blew her once dark, brown hair. What little sunshine was left shined in her deep blue eyes, and the smell of burning firewood brought a strange grin to her face.

Fate whispered in her ears, telling her dark things that made her frown. She knew Fate surrounded her, she knew Fate twisted her thoughts, she knew she had no choice. The past was prying into her heart, her very mind. Like the sly lioness seeking out her prey, Fate crouched low and made its attack. Her past revealed itself. Fate had made its call to Past. Past also enjoyed playing with the mind, sometimes for good, other times for bad. Pride, too, does this, along with Death, Life, Fear, Pressure, and Dreams. However, whatever their powers, Fate is the master of them all.

The orphanage was a dirty, terrible place. It was surrounded by fields that went on and on, fields that never turned green and seemed to be the very earthly image of death. The only place nearby was an old cemetery, but a mile away. It was death; no one dared step foot onto its grounds. The place held mysteries unknown to many. No one had been buried there for years. At night the dead seemed to wail, but the mistress of the orphanage warned the orphans that it was just the wind, and if she heard any more complaints there would be no dinner the next day. Still, there were rumors of the horrors it held. Some said that Fate and all that went about doing its will lived there. Whatever the truth was, no one took to it; the rumors were too entertaining to ignore.

Ginger’s final year at the orphanage was almost good, but Fate hardly plays the role of good; rather, it uses good to make evil even more torturous.

It was spring time. Over the years the Mistress had softened. She was much kinder than when Ginger had first come to the orphanage. They had become friends. The mistress had given Ginger permission two years before to plant a garden. The garden, now finished, was peaceful and relaxing. It was the lone place of beauty in a world without sign of life, the one place the orphans actually wanted to be.

Joseph, once his final year was up, had stayed an extra year to wait for Ginger. He was a sweet, gentle, good, young man. He had taken up a job at the orphanage helping with various tasks. It was not much of an income, but it kept him close to her, and it was an opportunity to stay and wait for her.

This was the special day he had planned very thoroughly. It would plan out to either a good or bad result, hopefully good. It would all take place in the garden.

“Ginger,” called the Mistress.

“Yes, Mistress,” was Ginger’s calm reply.

They were in the kitchen cleaning dishes, one of Ginger’s daily chores about the orphanage. Ginger did not always have to do her chores. She had completed her studies two years before that; there was no more school work to be done. Sometimes she would serve as an aide in the classrooms; other times she would do various chores about the orphanage. There was not much else to be done about the dreary, uncheerful place. This was how she filled her time. She could not legally leave the orphanage until she was 19.

“Ginger, we are almost finished with the dishes, and there is not much else that needs to be done, why don’t you go for a walk and enjoy yourself a bit,” the mistress said.

“Nonsense. I could not well leave you here alone, now, could I?” Ginger replied.

“I keep good company by myself, child. Now get along with yourself. Have a good day and whatever comes with it. And see to it that Fate toys not with your mind today, for there are good things ahead for ya’. I can sense it,” she lectured.

“But...,” Ginger protested.

“Off with ya’. I won’t have you hangin’ round here all day near the dirt and rags of an old lady and her dishes.”

The mistress was a kind woman. She had not always been, but being around children had softened her heart. Ginger had made an effort to see into the woman’s dark, hate-filled eyes. She had been successful and found her way into the lady’s heart over the years, as had many other of the orphans. The days she had spent at the orphanage had been harsh and hard at first. Joseph had come when she was about the age of 11. They had become friends at once. She was his personal tour guide about the old, musty place. Ginger had brought cheer to the orphanage. Even with the bad memories of what had taken place there, it had been worth the effort to soften the mistress. Now all that was once sad and dreaded, had become the very light of love. The surroundings and settings of death did not change, but there was enough change to add a bit of happiness to all that was there.

She left the room after giving the mistress a small hug, and headed for the garden. As she sat on a small bench within the peaceful place, she could not help but look all around her. However, something strange seemed to draw her attention to the old, lifeless grave yard that layed less than a mile away. It seemed to call to her: Fate was calling her there.

“Surprise!” came a starling voice from behind.

“Joseph! What gives you the nerve to come up behind me and startle me like that?” Ginger questioned, turning around to see the young man with his handsome, green eyes and dark, black hair.

Joseph stood tall. Although he had a scrawny figure, he was still very strong and a sight to see when he was proud of himself. He chuckled a little and then came around to where she sat and took a seat next to her.

“I have every right to scare the girl I love with all my heart,” he said with laughter.

“Oh, if that is how you feel about me,” Ginger scolded, turning away from him, also giving a short giggle.

“So what are you doing out here all alone?” Joseph inquired.

“Well, I came to get some peace and quiet, if you do not mind!” she told him with a smile on her face.

“Alrighty then, I guess you don’t want this.” Joseph revealed a small rose that was just a bud. “Open the bud,” he gently ordered.

“What? Is there another scary surprise in it?” she asked.

“Just open it,” he ordered again.

She looked down at the small bud and slowly opened it, careful not to ruin its beauty. Inside there was a shining ring that had a jewel shaped like a flower on it. The ring did not consist of a genuine jewel or of real gold, but it was beautiful.

“Once we start make a liven’ for ourselves, I will be able to afford a real ring. I hope this is enough for now,” he told her.

“Are you asking me to marry you?” Ginger questioned.

“Sure I am,” he answered.

“Yes, of coarse it’s enough! It will last us a life time!” she cried out.

It was a happy moment for both of them. Her smile shined brightly. When she returned, everyone in the orphanage could tell what had happened. They knew it would happen sooner or later, but now it had.

They had planned to hold the wedding two months later in that very same garden.

However strange it may have been, there was still that calling to go to the graveyard. The calling replayed in her mind continuously: that feeling she had had right before Joseph had surprised her. The cemetery called to her. It had been Fate. It was her turn to be taken hold of by Fate, her turn to have her life ruined.

The graveyard was a smelly, gruesome place. It was death in every possible way. Ginger wandered about looking at the gravestones. Each told a story of the person buried there. The stories were all very similar. This seemed strange to her.

“May I help you, young lady?” A strange, unknown voice asked. It sounded like the voice of Fate itself.

“I was just observing all these gravestones. They hold much history,” she replied.

“Yes, the history of criminals can be very interesting. That is why I took up this job. I am the caretaker of this graveyard. I am a lonely man myself. Not many take to my hobbies, so I live a comfortable life out here doing my job,” the old man that had now appeared told her.

Ginger, already having been in a fearful mood, did not think to ask him any further questions of what he used the money for if he never left the place, or where he got his food from. None of these questions or even the thought to suspect something crossed her mind.

“Criminals?” she inquired.

“Yes, criminals. All buried here, away from the respected, good people. Suppose they deserved it. Somethin’ bout this place spooks me in wonder and awe. Sometimes I think they haunt the place with their ghosts, but I’ve never seen em’,” the crooked man mentioned.

Fate had entered her life for good at that moment. It had beckoned her there to show her where her fate in many ways lay.

A sudden shadow had come over her at that moment that made her want to leave immediately. She knew that she had to, but how? The old man seemed crazy and out of his wits.

“I really must go. They are waiting for me back at the orphanage,” she told the man kindly, but with a distinct tone to her voice that made her sound tense.

“So soon?” the elderly man asked.

“Yes. It was nice meeting you,” she told him, and quickly ran from the place back to where she knew safety was.

As she arrived back at the orphanage, a chill came over her. One of the younger orphans ran up to her mumbling words at a fast pace that she could not understand.

“Slow down, child,” she said, putting her hand on the child’s shoulder.

“We don’t know how it happened so quickly but...” the child paused to catch her breath.

“Yes, what happened?” Ginger said anxiously.

“Joseph, he has come down with an awful temperature, Miss Tucker. He is very sick. The mistress has called for a doctor, but seein’ that we be so far away from any place with medical resources, it will be a day or two before we can get any help,” the child finished.

“Take me to him,” Ginger said, “at once.”

The doctor came three days later. They did their best, but within the month, Joseph had died of an unknown cause.

“We have no money to bury him all fancy and like,” the mistress told Ginger.

They were sitting in the hallway outside of the room where Joseph’s dead body lay.

“Not even anywhere nice and full of life. I am sorry Ginger,” the mistress said.

Tears rolled down Ginger’s face. Her eyes no longer had happiness in them.

“Mr. Drob, who lives down at the old cemetery has offered to bury him there.” The mistress knew this would not make anything better.

“Buried with criminals. What history would lie on his gravestone? Here lies Joseph, a good man, not a criminal. But not rich enough to not be buried with such terrible people. May his ghost haunt with them forever!” Ginger yelled out.

“At least then he’d be buried. His corpse is no thing to be left to disappear in the wind, nor placed upon fire to burn to its crumbs of ashes,” was the remark of the mistress.

“I will not see him dishonored by those criminals!” Ginger’s tears doubled now.

“I am sorry Ginger. I know you love him, but this is the best thing there is. I know it will torture you to see him buried among such others, but just as much as to see his body burn in flames.” The mistress leaned over and gave Ginger a hug. “Ginger, you have brought love and life to this dead, forsaken place. Do not let the loss of Joseph ruin your life forever.”

Ginger had eventually consented to the deed. She had known in her heart that it was the best thing. However, she could not dwell on her memories forever, and when the chance came, she had left the place, intending to never come back. She had run.

Now she sat in that same garden near the orphanage that was filled with so many memories. She did not dare visit the place because it scared her to let herself dwell on her past once again. She had let her past get to her, she had cried out for it, and now Fate held its grasp tight over her life. The graveyard stood within walking distance. She could make out the very gravestone which stood above the burial place of Joseph, the man she had loved for so long. Fate had made her remember. That was enough for her. She did not wish to go any closer to the haunted cemetery which contained her beloved.

“No!” she cried out, screaming as hard as she could.

The image of her younger self appeared once again. She could see the child, so innocent, so brave.

“Go away, do not let Fate get you, too!” she yelled.

All was a blur now. She could not see well enough to distinguish what anything was.

Then came the silent pause of a moment or two. Not long afterwards, the image said in a low, evil tone, “Are you mad? I am Fate.”

Ginger screamed. The image changed shapes and circled in her mind. Everything was changing shape and colors, and Fate revealed itself to her now. Continuously she screamed. Her cries could be heard from miles away.

“I am Death!” she cried out louder and louder, “Fate has entered my life and will not let go!”

There was a sudden silence. Fate had lost its grasp.

Ginger fell to the ground in shock. She was dead.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

When Daddy Smiled

Everything seemed to be going so well. My brother got saved at church that Easter Sunday. Daddy was able to go too. Daddy was so excited about seeing my brother get baptized, but he was getting weaker. He was too weak to go to church. We doubted that he would last long enough to even be alive on the scheduled date. So we brought out a horse trough, filled it with water, and brought dad outside to see brother get baptized. Daddy's eyes were still closed. It would all be pointless if dad wasn't even conscious of what was happening. When it finally took place, daddy stood up and opened his eyes. He didn't seem to care if people wanted him to stay sitting and resting. He had that attitude where he was determined that no one would get in his way. For the first time in a long while, tears of joy streaked down my cheeks. Our family was happy. Light seemed to shine from heaven. Daddy was looking better after that. His tumors didn't show so much. Our prayers seemed to be answered for a short while. It didn't last long though. Daddy died four days later. I sent my son home. Six is not an age to be troubled with such things. My sister brought her son to the funeral. I remember just watching him as he stood and stared at the vase that contained daddy's urns. Sis sent him home after that. He was only five years old. Sis wanted to put coffee beans in with daddy's urns. Daddy loved to drink coffee. When it got to where he couldn't drink it, we got him some coffee beans just so he could smell them. The funeral was beautiful. Daddy would have liked it. Still, no matter how sad things may have been, God had answered our prayers, just not in the way we had expected. I'll never forget that day when daddy opened his eyes, stood up, and smiled. Even though the happiness only lasted a short time, it was a happy time, and I'll never forget it.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Silence - A response to the sudden stop of a bird's squawking

Why the sudden silence?

Coming so swift and so fast.

Nothing to warn.

Just a quick entrance,

leaving all behind.

Show me your meaning,

dear sir.

I know not what it is.

This strange moment,

it fills my ears with nothingness

I hear nothing.

I see nothing.

I feel nothing.

I am alone in the world with you.

You who jump from around the corner.

You who bring fright to all,

and at other times peace.

So, why not tell me your meaning?

I am puzzled and befuddled.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Personal Monday: An Old Weight Loss Journal

Thursday, November 03, 2005

My mom and I talked about weight loss the other morning. I have decided to write down what I eat. Writing down what you eat can really help. You do not realize how much you eat until you stop and think about it. Writing down I eat reminds me of my commitment and makes me think about what I can do to change my eating habits. Drinking water helps a lot too. It helps me suppress my appetite.

Wednesday, I walked over to my mom's work after school. She works at the church that is on the same campus as my school. It is not that far of a walk. It takes me about 10 minutes to walk over. Today, however, I actually found myself enjoying it. I knew I had to walk faster and faster. Walking can be a good exercise if you do it often enough. The longer I walk, the faster I go, the more of a work out I get. I will have to walk more often from now on. I have two dogs. I should take them on walks more often. It is a simple thing to do and does not take too much effort. The more I do it, the healthier I get. I can't just walk and do nothing else, though. Not if I want results.

I watched Biggest Loser on TV last night. That show really inspires me. I would like to be on it some day. Not for the money, but for the results. It would teach me how to eat right and would push me to the limit. I would have to persevere and not give up. The people on that show make a choice to change their lifestyles, and gain a healthier body in return. I hope I can do that. I ma not be on TV, but I do have a choice to make and I choose now to be healthy and to do what is right. I will have determination, I will persevere, and I will lose weight!

I actually weigh more than some of the people on "Biggest Loser." How embarrassing is that? But I am not embarrassed! I weigh 280 pounds, so what! I have seen girls go around complaining about their weight and saying how they are chubby. Others do not want to say how much the weigh. They want to keep it hush hush. Me, I do not care. I do not see what the big secret is. I am not negative by saying how much I weigh to myself. I may be outright with it and talk openly about it, but it is o big deal. I am not wallowing in self-pity. I am now trying to do something about it.

It can be so hard sometimes to say no to my craving. I have had enough to eat. So what do I do when I want to eat but have already eaten enough? I literally have to think to myself, "I do not need food, I do not need food. I will not crave, I will not crave." Just the other day in my speech class at MJC a girl came in with McDonalds. She said she had to eat because she was "starved." As I saw her get the food out, my mouth began to water. Of course, I could not eat right then, but I surely could have gotten some fast food after class on the way home. I had to ignore this craving. I wanted food, but I did not need it. I may have gotten past it this time, but I still craved that food. That is the key. I need to train myself to not desire those foods. There are other, healthier foods to eat. I do not even need caramel to make an apple taste good. I can still eat fast food every once in a while, but I need to control how much I eat. Instead of a medium French fry, maybe a small. Even at home, when I am relaxed, I need to find something to do when I think I am hungry, but really am not.

Writing things down in a journal really helps. It reminds me of what I am doing and gives me a place to write down all my feelings. It has helped me a lot.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Sunday Comic


taken from reverendfun.com

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Cross Country Trip

Well I'm at college now. I drove cross country and took LOTS of pictures. I'll be posting them on and off over the next month or so. I've been taking lots of pictures and will be posting them at my photo blog: http://declarationphotos.blogspot.com/

Monday, August 20, 2007

On my Way

I'm on my way to college, so I won't be posting very often in the next week. Feel free to check out my older posts.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Proud Owner...

of my own official segway!!! I bought a segway for college today (can't afford a car). This afternoon I took it out for a little practice. It was so much fun! I did not get one "Walking's Healthier" yell, thank goodness. The reactions were positive. Some people pointed. Some teens honked the horn on their car. Some just yelled out, "cool!" The best reactions came from the kids, though. Two kids were playing and I could see they liked the segway. I talked to them a few short moments. My favorite reaction came from a little boy and girl who turned to their father and said, "I want to try!!! Can I do it!" Unfortunately its not safe to let anyone else ride it. Even I was having trouble with it every once in a while. It was fun, though. I got used to going up and down the rounded curbs of the sidewalks and the bumps stopped bothering me after a while. The nice thing about the newer models, which I got a good deal on a used one, is that you turn just by leaning the handles the way you want to go. So, I got to do a lot of fun maneuvers. I am thinking about riding it to church tomorrow morning! Won't that be fun. For now, I'm tired. It's hot our, and you have no idea how much exercise it takes to run one of these things. I'll post pics when I get a chance.

Saturday at the Movies

I've been watching a lot of movies lately and thought I would post some quick short reviews on them.

Stardust
Rating: four out of five stars

Comments: I can see why it did not get the best reviews in the world. The book is probably better and the film can slow in parts. However, I loved the acting and the story was not half bad. Most of all, I loved the soundtrack. The story is fairly predictable, but fun and enjoyable.

Christian Remarks: Twice in the film sexual activity is implied. There are also dark witches in the film. Ghosts appear often (as the comic relief). It is not the best film for a younger child, but mature Christian teens might enjoy the film for what it is: fiction. I certainly plan on buying this one.

Becoming Jane
Rating: Five out of Five stars

Comments: I was very surprised at how much I liked Anne Hathaway in this. She has grown a lot since Princess Diaries. I only wish she had a stronger English accent. Maggie Smith was wonderful. All the acting was great. Acting combined with script had me guessing throughout the entire film what Austen characters are based on which people. The story was fairly predictable. We already know that Austen never got married. The filmmakers did a good job with aging the characters as time went on in the film. The scenery and sets were beautiful. The soundtrack was beautiful. The story was beautiful. Any Jane Austen fan will enjoy this one. Another film I plan on buying.

Akeelah and the Bee
Rating: Five out of five stars

Comments: This film is truly a feel-good movie. It encourages you to go after your dreams. The acting is good. The script is good. The movie is good. Can you believe it was made by Starbucks?

Christian Remarks: The race that Akeelah makes, pushing onward to the end of the spelling bee, reminds me of the race we as Christians must run. The film points out that the only fear holding you back is the fear of yourself, the fear that you're not good enough, the fear that others will mock you. But you must press forward. Akeelah gets help from her community, the same way we get help from each other in the Christian community. When Akeelah lies about her parental permission for the bee, she gets the full consequences. There are a few swearwords, but other than that it is a fairly clean movie.

Here are some other films I watched this weekend that you might enjoy:

Scoop: Although its perception of the afterlife is wrong and the film has several sex scenes, overall this is a good and hilarious film, although predictable.

Hollywoodland: The first third of the film is fairly clean, but the rest is chalk full of dirty jokes and bad language. The story is good. The acting is good. I recommend it to anyone who can handle the R rating. Just watch how it affects you afterwards.

Invincible: A great, clean film about following your dreams.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Christadelphians

http://www.allaboutcults.org/christadelphians.htm

My dad pointed out a sign to me the other day. It was a sign for the Christadelphians cult. He said he had heard of it a long tyime ago and disagreed with it. I asked him to look it up for me and he sent me the link above. Looks pretty messed up to me. basically they believe in Jesus but deny all of the major Christian doctrines. I'm not sure what to make of it. I don't even know what they really believe, juts what they don't believe. What do you think?

Entertainment Friday: Movies

Beowulf
http://www.beowulfmovie.com/

I'm looking forward to this one. It'll probably be rate R, but I just want to see it because I was forced to read it in high school. Looks like a good cast, other than Angelina Jolie.

The Scorpian King 2
http://www.cinematical.com/2007/08/16/dreams-do-come-true-a-scorpion-king-prequel-minus-the-rock/

I liked the first one overall. Didn't like the Rock's acting, but it was a good movie and good blot, even if the costuming was overly unmodest for the women.

The Jungle Book
http://www.cinematical.com/2007/08/13/bbc-to-make-live-action-version-of-the-jungle-book/
BBC is making a movie of Jungle Book. Is it just me, or have too many versions of this book been made already?

The Wackness
http://www.cinematical.com/2007/08/11/ben-kingsley-mary-kate-olsen-and-method-man-to-star-in-the-wac/
Can you believe Mary Kate Olsen is doing something without her sister? Can you believe she's even doing something? I don't think she's a very good actress. Every movie she's made has plopped. Maybe she'll do better without her sister.

Jurassic Park 4
http://www.cinematical.com/2007/08/13/jurassic-park-4-to-feature-gun-toting-dinosaurs/
Can't they make any real good and original movies any more instead of boring sequels?

Dan in Real Life
http://www.apple.com/trailers/touchstone/daninreallife/medium.html
This one does not look half bad.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Driving's Complicated

I was going to take my driver's test today just for the experience, but guess what? I didn't know I was supposed to bring proof of registration for the car! That's not all. My dad had his registration in his car (the car I was going to use), but it was from 2006, not 2007! My mom thinks God was saving me from the rude woman who would have given me the test. I guess that's possible. Anything's possible with God. Given this, I thought it appropriate to repost the following (which I wrote after I took my third permit test):

I had a wierd dream last night. In the dream, I left my driving permit at home and needed to drive somewhere. So, I went ahead and started to drive, but in a training wheel car that resembled a bike. It told police I was a driver in training. There were police out everywhere looking for student drivers. I made too wide a turn and one of them pulled me over, not to give me a ticket, but to make me redo the turn and practice it until I got it right. I never found out how things ended for me, though, because the phone rang and woke me up.

If there is any person qualified to write a book review of the California Driver’s Handbook, it’s me. No, I do not work for the DMV, and no, I am not a perfectionist driver. In truth, I am very afraid of driving. While still on my first permit, I got in an accident. With my driver instructor, my sandal got caught on the pedal and I pushed the gas pedal instead of the break. This caused me to get into a minor bumper accident, no damage. I cried when I got home. Needless to say time came and went and I did not go for my license. My permit expired. Since then I have taken the permit test two more times and gotten better at passing each time. I always passed, but each time the number of missed questions lessened. I actually was scheduled to take my permit test earlier this month for the third time, but my mom lost my passport. A weeks worth of reading was wasted. Luckily, this time I highlighted the important parts and when my mom found my passport a month later I only had to skip read the highlighted parts. Two days ago, on June 28th, 2007, I took the test and only missed two questions. My picture would have turned out good if my double chin had not shown up. It has a way of coming out like that. I hate being fat, I hope to lose weight. Nevertheless, I will not let my bad health drag me down. I did dream once that my double chin saved me from a man who tried to slit my throat. The knife did not go deep enough to kill me, although I did lose some blood. It’s a real dream I had. Anyway, back to the driving thing. As already stated, I hate driving. I’m always afraid I’ll do something wrong. I remember my first experience with driver’s rage. I pulled over to let people pass, but when I tried to pull back into the lane a driver got mad at me and followed me to my turnoff where he proceed to honk at me and flip me off. I eventually got over my fear and got back on the road, but then college came. When you live in NYC you don’t drive much. Thus, it has been over a year since I last drove and my old fears have returned this summer. Since I am attending a different college this fall, I will need to drive and I will need a car. Needless to say, I have so far avoided all my parents attempts to get me on the road, but I really do need to try. Maybe I should go back to that handbook for some help, but don’t expect a book review of it. I already hate it enough, I doubt I would be able to keep from becoming overly judgmental and bias.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Bookmobile Wednesday: Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

Rating: Five out of Five Stars

Plot: Angel's past has haunted her all her life. Sold in to prostitution at age eight, she has never known real love. When Michael Hosea comes along, asking her to marry him, she refuses. Hosea refuses to give up. He feels God calling him to break down Angel's barriers and to marry her. He takes her to his home, but she runs away. He goes after her and brings her back and she runs away again. Angel must learn that real love does exist and that Jesus awaits her acceptance of His forgiveness.

Comments: Angel is not the only character who must learn a thing or too. Michael Hosea must learn to trust God and not let His anger or desires control him. Paul, a friend of Michael's, must learn to let go of his prejudices towards Angel.
Francine Rivers cleverly brings characters and events into the lives of these people in order to break down their barriers. Michael shows Angel true love. A family moves in nearby Michael’s farm and shows Angel what a real family can look like. When Angel tells them her previous occupation they do not judge her; they tell her they want to become good friends with her. One of the members of that family falls in love with Paul and softens his heart, helping him to see past his own stubbornness. Every time Angel runs away something happens to save her from the past that seeks to control her.

Rivers does a wonderful job of developing these characters and their relationships. She spends a good twenty or thirty pages just on the prologue so the reader has an idea of Angel’s past. She tastefully describes the sex scenes without going into too many details. She never pulls a “too much information (tmi).”

As usual, Rivers spends a great deal of time bringing Biblical principles and ideas into her book. She shows the proper relationship between a married man and woman. The story parallels the book of Hosea and the thoughts of the characters as they transform liken to what goes on in the head of most believers. Throughout the book God whispers to the characters in a subtle way as if He were the conscience of the characters developed by their knowledge of the Bible. Satan also has his say in the book, but as always ends up defeated.

One of River’s most popular reads, “Redeeming Love” deserves a chance from any Christian man or woman over the age of fifteen (it may be fit for some younger, but should only be read by mature readers who can take its themes seriously and can understand the sexual part of the book).

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Charles Billingsley

As I lay in bed tonight, trying to fall asleep, I couldn't get the chorus to a certain song out of my head. The song is sung by Charles Billingsley, who is a great Christian singing artist. I've seen him in concert twice, both times I met him in the lobby and he seemed a very humble man stuck on praising God. He also has a great voice! I believe he is currently the worship pastor at the local church connected with Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. Anyway, here are the lyrics to the chorus I could not get our my head (I don't remember the name of the song or the lyrics to the rest of the song, but just these short sentences and verses have a whole lot of meaning in them - I think that's why I can't get them out of my head - they popped up pretty randomly - it's like God wanted me to take a short time to sit and reflect in awe of His great mercy):

He paid for all my sins with love
And at the cost of His own blood
He paid for all my sins with love
Love that has completely,
Love that has forever freed me

Hollywood Stars Losing Weight

http://news.aol.com/entertainment/television/story/_a/bertinelli-talks-weight-loss-with-alley/20070810095109990001

http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20050577,00.html?xid-bertinelli-alley-cover-story-aol-entertainment-news

Remember those Jenny Craig commercials with Kirstie Alley? Well now she's talked about losing weight a little more. The video of the interview has expired, but I read the short article and the short excerpts from the interview in the article and I have to say what they state is all true. I've copied it below for you:

On Feeling Ashamed

Bertinelli: You just don't want people to see what you look like, because you can hear their brains going.

Alley: You don't want them to see what you've become.

On Getting Past It:

Bertinelli: We're taking responsibility. No one shoved that food in my mouth except me.

Alley: Exactly. It's making me more ethical as a person who's taking responsibility for how she got there in the first place.

Gay Memorial Canceled

http://news.aol.com/story/ar/_a/church-cancels-memorial-for-gay-vet/20070811110009990001?ncid=NWS00010000000001

A man's memorial was canceled at a church in Texas when the church found out the man was gay. The church claimed they did not know about his homosexuality until pictures were provided for a movie, to be played at the memorial, of the man and his partner together. The church also offered to pay for hosting the memorial somewhere else as well as for any food or services needed.

What do you think of this? I believe homosexuality is a sin, but I am not sure what to make of this. It seems to me that if the church truly canceled the memorial on principile they would have canceled it all together and not offered to pay for holding the service somewhere else. Then again, I understand that the church was trying to state that it was not being judgmental of the man, his partner, and his friends and family. However, if this is what they wanted they could have held the service anyway and just requested there be no mention of the man's homosexuality and not played the video. I'm sure there were many other options available as well. Surprsingly enough, the pastor's wife is the sister of Joel Osteen. If you ask me, the whole thing could have been handled better. It could have been talked out and sure could have used a lot more prayer over the issue. I think it should have been canceled all and all, but that's just me. I won't be judgmental of the man or the church. That's for God to decide. The church certainly stood out and made the news with this, though, didn't it?

An Old Weight Loss Journal Entry

I forgot to post my weekly weight loss entry yesterday, so here it is. Mind you, it's two years old.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

How appropriate is it that my last day of freedom was on Halloween?

I could burn all the leftover candy. It would be my official commitment to letting go of “fat food.” Perhaps I should save it and it will be there for a reward every once in a while.

I am going to have to shun temptation, unless I want my “diet” to fail.

Diet is such a broad term. There are so many possible “diets” out there. You might see a diet as a prison that takes freedom away.

But what is freedom? Don’t I truly gain freedom if I gain health and lose weight by exercising and eating right? It opens a door to respecting my body, but still being myself.

Going on a diet will not mean eating only healthy food. I can still eat other foods; I just need to watch my proportions and how much I eat. I will not stop eating or go on any specific diet, although I may try one method or another in the process. I will eat less, have a more balanced diet, snack on fruit when I get a “sweet tooth” craving, drink water when my mind tells me I am hungry but my stomach says I am full, and I will not put off going to the gym because of homework, TV, computer, or church.

Once I have changed the habits that prey on my health, then I will transform into a healthier young woman; then I will be truly free.

My parents are encouraging these changes. My mom is trying to lose weight too. It is a lot easier when you have someone else to go through it with you.

There is a long way to go with this. It is not going to be easy.

Just tonight, I was tempted to snack on some left over pizza. Instead, I reached further back into the fridge and grabbed a water instead.

I may not have done so well on my first day, but I am determined to respect my body and hopefully inspire others to do the same.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Personal Monday: Faith, Music, Segways, Trips to the Doctor's Office, and More

Now Listening to: Spamalot (I know it’s dirty in parts, but I can’t help but enjoy it, the music’s so hilarious. I don’t mind the gay stuff because it makes fun of gay men, not that I would ever make fun of them myself. Plus, we all know Lancelot will leave the prince for Guinevere.)

I have way too much to talk about today! I don’t know how I’ll remember everything. So stick with me on this. It’s going to be a long post.

I got up early this morning (around 3:30 AM) to go lay in my front yard with my dad to watch the stars. Why so early in the morning you ask? Because that is the best time to watch a meteor shower and reflect on God's glory while doing so. It was amazing. There was a about one meteor per minute for an hour straight. Most of them weren't very bright, but every once in a while there were some real good ones! I love watching the stars and listening to the crickets! It's my favorite activity other than going out in the morning to sit and read in the park and to watch the sun rise.

I’ve started reading my Bible every morning and it’s helping me keep a positive outlook throughout my days. I am reading Proverbs and Jeremiah right now. If anyone has any favorite passages, feel free to post them as comments. You have no idea how much of a difference it makes reading your Bible every morning until you actually start doing it.

The Bible says to meditate on God’s word daily.

Joshua 1:8
Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

Psalm 1:2
But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.

Psalm 119:27
Let me understand the teaching of your precepts; then I will meditate on your wonders.

I don’t often pay attention to verses like these. I can be lazy that way. I find that I only read my Bible when I’m on an emotional high peak. I want to change this. I know God wants me to spend more time with Him during good and depressing/stressful times.

Two recent events sparked these thoughts in my mind. First, I have spent a lot of time worrying about college lately. I didn’t want a roommate, but I got one. I have no transportation, so I am worried about that. I worry about making friends, doing well in classes, and getting a job. I cried and whined about all of these things and then I woke up and realized I cannot snap my fingers and make my problems go away. Neither will God snap His fingers and make things better; I must wait on Him. In His own timing, He will answer my prayers, and He won’t always answer them the way I want them answered. He knows what I need and will provide that much. I must put my faith in Him and count on His own good timing and purpose. I plan on posting a short devotional that expands on what I’ve learned from this some time in the future.

Second, some family friends came through town the other day and I had lunch with them. They were very encouraging and one of them kept telling me I should start memorizing scripture. I find that the few times I see them during the year they lift me up spiritually. They live out their faith. I look up to them as role models. Talking about college with them got me thinking about how much faith I really put in God. I need to trust God more with my life and pray more often from my heart, not just out of selfish wants and desires. I selfishly want my own dorm room and I selfishly want some reliable mode of transportation for college.

I have found partial solutions to some of the things that have been stressing lately. Have you ever heard of a Segway? It’s a battery powered transportation vehicle that goes about 12 miles per hour and can be used on sidewalks (I’ve included a picture of one). It seems a good option for transportation during college, but comes with a large price tag (anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000). On the bright side, it saves money compared to a car (I have yet to get a driver’s license – speaking of which, I’m very nervous about my driving test this Thursday seeing as how I haven’t practiced much). Still, I have a feeling that I don’t need a segway. I sure want one, but do I really need one. You still get exercise. You have way more fun. But I just have a feeling that I am being selfish in wanting and asking for one. I don’t want to let the segway control me. On the other hand, it might help me get a sign twisting job for a place like Little Caesars’s.

Transferring to a new college requires an even more stressful, time consuming health evaluation that I have been working on with my doctor all summer. Today I got a TB shot and will have it tested on Wednesday. This is my third shot this summer (I also got Hepatitis A and Whooping Cough shots) on top of numerous needles piercing my skin to take my blood for tests. Not that it hurts any. The only hurt came when I got a week long fever from the Whooping Cough shot. It’s just a lot of hassle in a short time. I should have had my health form in to my college long ago, but now I have to wait until I get there to turn it in.

I must have been to the doctor’s office at least ten times in the last few months (I might be exaggerating a little). The worse part of going to the doctor’s office for me is talking about my weight. They just love to lecture you. Luckily, I’ve been doing fairly well. I’ve lost a pound a week, going for about six pounds total this summer. Eating healthier and eating smaller portions isn’t easy, I’ve splurged one too many times, but I seem to lose weight anyway. Not a lot, mind you. Besides, once college starts up I’m sure I’ll gain the freshman 4-15 or whatever it’s called when you gain weight from all the cafeteria food. I do want to become healthier. I want to represent God well with my body. It also helps not being fat if you want a segway (a segway can only hold 300 pounds max, which I’m pretty close to). From what I’ve read, if I get one I’ll get a rude remark from time to time (“Walking’s Healthier!” – But segways do take a lot of exercise; plus they’re certainly healthier than driving a car). I won’t worry about that right now, though. I know I can handle one. I took a tour of Angel Island on one last Friday and had a great time. Besides, I am slowing learning to take things day by day and to not become anxious about the future.

On one last note, I’d just like to recommend a couple of movies. First, “Fat Like Me.” It’s a Lifetime TV Channel Original Film about a skinny girl who wears a fat suit to see what it’s like to be fat. She finds that it’s a lot harder than it sounds. People make fun of her and treat her like an animal or monster when she’s in the fat suit. It’s a good movie, although I did not like the ending. The only way I know of to get it is through itunes, but I’m sure there are other ways.

The second film I wanted to recommend is “Hairspray” is still in theatres. I loved this film. It’s taken me way too long to get around to posting on it. It’s about a big girl making her dreams come true despite her size. The only problem I have with plots like these is that the obese characters show pride in their size. I see no problem in showing pride in who you are and what your abilities are, but I do not think it right to take pride in your size when you should make every effort you can to be as healthy as you can. I do have one short complaint about “Hairspray” and that is that the main character’s mother is played by a man, John Travolta. The scenes with the mother and father made me smile and laugh, but then I would remember that the mother was a man in a fat suit and I could not enjoy it any more. I find cross dressing just disgusting. I won’t judge those who choose that lifestyle, but I will never support the lifestyle itself along with the homosexual, bisexual, and sex change life styles.

Just to show you how long it took me to write this post, I am now half way through the soundtrack to “The Pirate Queen.” It has some nice songs, but the show was boring and lacked character development. You don’t feel attached to the characters when you should (rather like the movie “Eragon”). Still, it’s a good soundtrack with a good cast, even if it is too similar to “Les Miserables.”

Saturday, August 11, 2007

New Blog

I've started a new blog called Confab Remarks at http://confabremarks.blogspot.com/.

Here's a Description:

Confab: A casual talk; confabulation. To engage in casual talk.

Remark: To say casually, as in making a comment. to note; perceive; observe. comment or mention. a casual or brief expression of thought or opinion.

Welcome to Confab Remarks!!! This blog is where I will post all the blogs I read and my comments on their posts. In a way, it's a tip page. In another way, it's a page for discussion. Please join me in the world of blogging!

Consuming Technology

An article on yahoo.com from the AP states that there is a battle going on between HD DVD players and Blue-Ray Discs. Consumers are urged to pick sides, because one or the other will come out on the top and regular DVDs will be fogotten forever, just like VHSs. Is it just me, or are we way too consumed by technology today? I mean, there are so many different new technologies coming out I get completely confused. What is HD TV and such? Etc Etc Etc!!! It seems like it was just yesterday they came out with DVDs, and now this. I have a large DVD library (more than I should have. I think buying movies and music is my weakness I need to learn to control). I used to have a large VHS library. Honestly folks, I think all they want is your money. They'll just keep coming out with more and more new technology and you'll keep throwing out the old technology and replacing it with the new technology. What do you think?

To read the AP article, click here.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Entertainment Friday: Articles and Movie News

Christian Features

Interesting Christian News
Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) acquired the Holy Land Experience theme park in Orlando, Florida. Attendance at the Holy Land Experience has slumped since the park opened in 2001. tbn hopes to boost attendance by promoting the park through its extensive television network. tbn also plans to reverse policies that banned Pentecostals from working in the park.
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/august/8.17.html
Do you think this is crazy? Part of me wants to say this is a silly way to create another fad and go with the worldly way of things, but most of me wants to say this is another opportunity to witness to others. What do you think?

Christian Articles of the Week
On Not Transforming the World
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/augustweb-only/132-42.0.html

Some Interesting News Articles

Laura Bush is writing a children’s book.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070809/ap_en_ot/books_laura_bush

Luciano Pavarotti in Hospital
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070809/ap_en_ot/people_pavarotti

Movies


Hollywood Remakes of Old Cartoons
Hollywood is getting into a habit of making remake films of old cartoons. Here are some links that might interest you.

Speed Racer
http://movies.aol.com/movie/speed-racer-2008/28066/main
http://www.bww.cinematical.com/2007/07/15/nayo-wallace-will-play-minx-in-speed-racer/

Johnny Quest
http://www.cinematical.com/2007/08/08/first-speed-racer-now-here-comes-jonny-quest/

Spider Man the Musical
While another late Hollywood trend has been to turn musicals into movies, we now find that they are considering turning movies into musicals. I’ve heard rumors of an “Ever After” Musical, a Spider Man musical is now in the works.
http://www.cinematical.com/2007/08/08/marvel-announces-media-line-up-movies-games-and-even-a-musical/
http://www.playbill.com/news/article/107378.html

The Little Mermaid
Disney is also in the process of turning “The Little Mermaid” into a musical. It comes out this winter.
http://disney.go.com/theatre/thelittlemermaid/index.html

Other Movie News – Jack Black’s New Film
This film just reminds me of a Nickelodeon’s All That sketch, but looks good. It’s called “Be Kind, Rewind.”
http://www.cinematical.com/2007/08/09/first-trailer-for-jack-blacks-be-kind-rewind/

Pink Panther
In other news, they’re making a Pink Panther sequel. This is ridiculous considering how horribly stupid and boring the first remake was.
http://www.cinematical.com/2007/08/09/pink-panther-sequel-nabs-excellent-cast/

Fahrenheit 451 Remake Starring Tom Hanks
http://www.cinematical.com/2007/08/06/tom-hanks-to-star-in-fahrenheit-451/

Snowyville – Another Christmas Movie – Starring Tim Curry
http://www.cinematical.com/2007/08/06/tim-curry-and-jim-belushi-head-to-snowyville/

Monopoly Board Game the Movie
http://www.cinematical.com/2007/08/06/ridley-scott-talks-monopoly-movie/

The Other Boleyn Girl
http://www.cinematical.com/2007/08/06/new-art-for-the-other-boleyn-girl-with-scarlett-johansson-and/

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Creative Thursday: The Free Iccee Man

This is somewhat spiritual, considering it's introduction and ending, but if you read the story by itself, it's a short story. I based this one on a dream that I recently had. I know, I speel iccee wrong, but whatever.

The Free Iccee Man
My life is like a bed sheet or blanket. No matter how hard I try to straighten it out, there is always a wrinkle. Sometimes big, sometimes small. Big wrinkles are the worst. They make me feel like God isn't there. I think Satan likes to play with my mind. How do I get rid of Him? How do I resist temptation? Does God still love me even when I do the same wrong thing over and over again? What about when I do it so much I don't even feel guilty any more, I just feel empty? Every time I ask forgiveness, but then I turn around and do it again. I don't want to be a bad person. It's like this:

There once was a young girl. She loved icee cones, but they were never free. Not until this one man came and put on a contest for a free iccee. As it turned out, He was only going to choose a few out of many to get that free iccee. And those few would have to take good care of their iccee. They couldn't spill it, or drop it, lest they should lose the wonderful taste of the iccee. So, the time came for the man to chose the winners. The young girl wanted an iccee so bad. She just had to get that free iccee. She didn't have enough money to buy one from the other vendors, and even if she did, she knew the other icees were not nearly as tasty as the free ones. They were fake and icky tasting. The young girl knew this very well. Her stomach growled. She was hungry for an iccee all right. But how was she going to get it. Not everyone would get chosen. She had little chance. But low and behold her name was the first to be called when it came time to give away the free iccees. She jumped for joy. To think that she had been called, out of everyone in the entire area. And she knew that her iccee would be delicious. She slowly walked up to the man who was giving away the free iccees. "Why are giving me a free iccee?" she asked Him. "Because I love all the children of this playground," he replied, "And I would sacrifice everything to see them all smile. But they had to come to me first. They had to put their name in my box so I would know they sought my free iccees. Then they could win no matter what. You did that. You gave up everything else on that playground and all those other iccee stalls to come and receive my iccees. Now take you iccee and go. Tell the other children about me. But be careful. They may want you to get another vendor's iccees. They may want you to play on the playground when you have not yet finished your iccee. Take care of your iccee. Do as I say until you have eaten all of that iccee and then I will return to give you more when the time comes. That will be your reward." So the little girl went along on her way and sat down on a bench for a bite of her free iccee. It was delicious. She wanted to gobble it down fast, but she knew that would give her a brain freeze. She slowed down a bit. Across the way she saw another child with an iccee from one of the other vendor stalls. The other child called out to her to join him. "Come and try my iccee, it will be better than yours," he said. The girl knew better than to listen to the invitation, but the temptation was strong. A bit of another iccee couldn't harm her. She would still have her own iccee if she needed it. So, she went over to the boy. His iccee was good. The boy could tell she liked it, so he let her have some more. The second bite was even better. In no time the two had devoured the iccee together. The girl still had her free iccee in her hand. She hadn't eaten any more of it since her first bite. It was starting to melt. Another boy came over and said hi. He asked her if she would play with him on the playground. Well, this did sound tempting. The boy was very cute, and the playground looked like fun. So, she forgot she had the free iccee in her hand and she began to walk over to the playground. On her way over she tripped and the free iccee got all dirty when it hit the ground. The girl began to cry. She had forgotten how much she had wanted that free iccee. An iccee was starting to sound good again. She picked up the dirty iccee and began to study it. Slowly, but surely, the dirt disappeared as she picked it off with her fingers. Even still, there were some spots on it in the end. She tried her iccee, but it was even more melted now and the dirt had turned the flavor somewhat bitter. Not knowing that she could have just scraped off the top to find a fresh new layer, she sat on the ground, crying. The two boys from before and a few other kids came over to find out what was wrong. She told them. They tried to comfort her with their smooth voices and funny jokes, but nothing helped. She still felt empty. One child asked her to play on the playground. "It will make you forget your troubles and burdens," the child said, "you can be a beautiful princess and I'll be your prince charming." The young girl smiled. Being beautiful did sound nice. Maybe pretending to be a princess would make her forget how ugly she was. So, she went along with all the other children to play with them on the playground. But when the end of the day came, everyone had left and the young girl was all alone again. The next day came and went with no free iccee. The girl just sat there feeling empty inside. She tried different things in the following days, but none of them made her feel better. Then, one day, she remembered the kind man's words. He said he would come back, and she could have another free iccee. But she couldn't remember where in the park he was located. She searched for days and days until she finally gave up. The children of the playground invited her back. She tried that, but she just knew she would never find happiness in the playground. She had to search again. It was a big park, but she found that kind man and his iccee machine. He told her he had been wondering where she had gone. She confessed everything. To her surprise, he forgave her and gave her another free iccee. She knew she had to take good care of it this time. But temptation came again and she fell. She went back again and again to the kind man asking his forgiveness. One day she finally asked him, "Will the iccees ever taste as good as they did the first time?" "That's up to you," he replied. "I've been so bad," the young girl said, "and for so long. I'm no longer young, but am a young lady now. Can I ever change myself to be good again?" "That's up to you," the man said, "You must learn to have faith in me, and to no longer fall to temptation. You must turn from your sins." "Was I ever saved?" she asked him. "From the very beginning I chose you," he told her, "So, you figure it out for yourself. Remember, though, I am always here with my free iccees. You just have to come to me. Now go, and tell the others about my gift to them."

That's what my life is like. I know the truth and the facts that support the truth in my head, but my heart does not feel saved. I believe in my head but I feel like my heart does not believe. I feel empty. I know I shouldn't rely on my feelings, but what do I do? Even when I search I have trouble finding the Kind Man (God/Jesus). What should I do? Does God forgive me?

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Interesting Articles on Harry Potter and Christianity

http://lists.christianitytoday.com/t/7821452/5972044/135030/0/
This article talks about how strange it is that people get so caught up in Harry Potter, but not in God. The author suggests that if we spent the time to read the Bible and watch the characters develop as if we were waiting for the next book to come out, Christianity might have it's own fad going. It's an interesting read that really makes you think about the modern church and modern ministry. Plus it's a great Christian article about Harry Potter.

http://lists.christianitytoday.com/t/7821452/5972044/135029/0/
This article talks about the similarities between Harry Potter and Matthew 6. The author points to various characters in the books who try to serve two masters or try to use earthly means for good. These characteristics line up with the Sermon on the Mount. The author bases his thesis on the fact that Dumbledore quotes the Bible twice. I never thought about the parallels this article brings up, so it was a refreshing and thought-provoking read. The author also ends the article with a short bit on Rowling's faith and what Christian critics say about it.

Woman at the Well Video

I know how it is to want to be loved. To want people to know how I feel and realize only God can truly understand who I am. I'm a plus sized girl. I want to be beautiful. I've nver had many friends. I like to brag sometimes when I do well on something or to talk endlessly about something because it makes me feel special.

That being said, I found the following video at http://emergingwomen.blogspot.com/2007/07/woman-at-well.html. The video is so amazing! The poem is wonderful but what really got me were the questions at the end. Just beautiful and thought provoking. I've been reading a book called Redeeming Love that deals with this too, based on Hosea. I'll post a review of that book next wednesday.



Do you remember who you were when you found Him?

Who are you now?

Bookmobile Wednesday: God at Your Wit's End

Rating: five out of five stars

Synopsis: "'I know God loves me but does he like me? Can I really trust Him with my life? Are my prayers not answered because I don't have enough faith? Maybe these problems I'm having are because God hasn't really forgiven me…' These questions and more constantly plague our minds and weaken our faith in God. In God at Your Wit's End author and counselor Marilyn Meberg probes the corners of our mind to uncover the faulty thinking that leads to an uncertain faith. She then explains how God affirms and even welcomes our humanity in the midst of our brokenness. As she continually points us to the awesome power of God's majestic truth, she helps us reshape our thinking as we re-establish the foundations of our belief in a loving God. Complete with thoughtful applications and probing questions, each chapter is designed for either group or personal study and in-depth reflection." (taken from Amazon.com description)

Comments: It's been a while since I read this book, but I remember that it was very encouraging and I could not put it down. It's a great picker upper for those of us going through hard times that make us want to question our faith. On top of that, Marilyn Meberg is an excellant writer. I love the Women of Faith speakers! I think I may need to read this book again. I've been going through a lot of stress over the smallest things lately. Too bad I have so many other books I want to read. Sometimes I think I get too caught up in finishing a book to actually take the time to think about and remember what the book teaches.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Personal Monday: Act of Faith in Prayer

Dear Lord,
I meant to post one thing yesterday (Monday) and ended up posting another thing. Although I still feel the way I did then, I admit that I let my emotions run wild and control me. I cried desprately, even though there was no fix at the time. Lord, help me to put my trust and faith in You. Help me to realize and to truly believe that You are in control. Let Your will, not mine be done. May I be humbled by this experience. Show me thy ways, Lord, and I will follow. I will prepare for what seems to be coming, and when the time is right you will answer my prayers or use me for something I could never imagine. Thank you for your providence, Lord. Thank you for your beauty.
In Jesus name, Amen

Monday, August 6, 2007

Personal Monday: The Screaming Vent of a Christian

I need help. I thought repeating the words "God is in control" and "God's will, not mine be done" would calm me down. I thought praying would bring an answer. But I'm tired of it. I want it fixed now. I want to know if I made the right decision. I'm mad. There's so much anger built up in me right now, I just want to scream at God. And all this over such small things, but I can't help it. I've been trying to look at the positive side for a long time and now it seems a lie to pretend I can think positively. I've been crying all afternoon about it. Maybe I'm just being stubborn and proud. Maybe I'm looking for a reason to be mad at God. I'm not sure, I just don't know what to do about it. I need a sign from God that He's there. I've seen Him do amazing things in my life, so why can't He do something now! Why does He make me hate Him so much? I've been waiting and I'm sick of it. I've put my faith in Him, I've prepared the fields for rain, but the rain is not coming and I'm tired and sick of waiting. I want to throw things about and have a temper tantrum. I want to scream and cry. Why can't things be fixed? Why do things have to be the way they are? Why can't I be positive? Why am I so angry inside? Why doesn't anyone understand? Why? Why?

Personal Monday: Old Weight Journal Entry #1

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Why is it so difficult to give up fast food?

Food will be food, what is the difference? Do we trick ourselves into thinking healthier food does not taste good and thus is not worth eating or even trying?

I have done this before. I know there are some foods I have never tried, but have already determined that I would not like them; and I am the one who has been to Europe twice! I have even tried escargots!

If I can have the courage to go to another country on my own, why can’t I have the courage to try a new meal?

Even in visiting foreign places, I had to be willing to try new things.

I remember when I went to Montpellier, France in the summer of 2004. I stayed with a complete stranger who did not even know English. The woman I stayed with was French; she had been brought up in France; she knew a different culture than I did.

Naturally, the food she offered was very different. I had the courage to try escargots, yes snails, but it took me a while.

However, I could not help but have nutella (chocolate peanut butter) on toast and hot chocolate for breakfast every morning. I found myself sneaking away every once in a while to get a little piece of America, not to mention something that tastes good, at McDonalds.

So, why is changing your eating habits as hard as learning a whole new language? Why are we so stuck on fat foods at time?

Because it tastes good!

But is the good taste worth risking your health over?

I know that I am not healthy. I am fat, plain and simple. I know I need to change; but how?

You would think that with all the pressure I would have changed by now. I am not going to be one of those who overdo it and change way too extremely. I want to still be myself.

Television, movies, ads, and models all imply who we “should be.” Of course, everything has to be “politically correct” as well.

Then there are reality shows such as “Biggest Loser.” I am not going to lie; this show is very inspiring to me. It makes me want to lose weight; but I have not done anything with this inspiration. This show does not “teach” me anything. It is just there for entertainment.

Food businesses and fast food restaurants seem to promote themselves in a such a way that is contrary to the “healthy” image.

Even so, even in their commercials there are “skinny” people.

How often do you see a “fat” person on TV who has a complete positive aspect to him?

I feel pressured in other ways.

I have very few friends. I am not “pretty.” I do not have a boyfriend. I do not have any guys to have a crush on, or any guys who have crushes on me. I have never been asked out. I feel crushed when I go to a school event by myself.

Shouldn’t I naturally desire these things? Isn’t that what society says makes you “happy.” If it is pounded on you long enough, don’t you start believing it.

Don’t get me wrong. It is not always like this. Although these things may contribute to my “negative self talk,” there is more to it.

I want to be healthy! I want to look nice and display myself in a modest way, positively representing my God and those close to me (parents, friends, teachers).

How different life might be for me if I had not grown up to be “horizontally challenged.”

Alas, to my regret, I, like many teens, am lazy.

Laziness is one sole word that would truly describe my life when it comes to exercise. I may be a hard worker in school, but I never have the “strength” to make time for working out.

I have a short that perfectly describes this. It says, “This working out thing isn’t working out for me.”

So, how do I lose weight, lower my cholesterol, and become healthier?

Do an extreme makeover: Harmony edition.

Now it remains for me to change, to do my best to care about my body, to live, to represent those around me well, and to make my best effort in, not just grades, but also in working out and having a balanced nutrition.

Here it goes! I think I am ready. Are you?

Monet Paintings Stolen in Nice, France

Found this to be an interesting story. I've been to France, so it's more interesting to me than it might be to you. I also love art. So there you go. I guess some famous paintings were stole in broad daylight at a museum in Nice. Here's the link:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070805/ts_afp/cultureartcrimetheft_070805193247

This has nothing to do with Nice or the article, but a memory has been sturred. Do you know where the term "Denim" came from? During may stay in France, I learned that denim was originally created in Nimes, thus the name denim, de Nimes (the city of Nimes). Interesting fact, isn't it?

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Morning


There is nothing more wonderful or more beautiful than to watch the sun rise and to listen to the birds twitter God's glory about. I need to go on morning walks more often.

I won't be posting today and maybe not tomorrow. I'm going on a short trip and will be back tomorrow evening or late tonight.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Entertainment Friday: National Treasure - Book of Secrets


Click here to watch the newest trailer for "National Treasure: Book of Secrets."
It does not look like it will be as good as the original. The plot seems to be that an ancestor of Nicholas Cage's character turns up as a conspirator in the assaination of Abe Lincoln. To find the truth, Cage's character must solve the mystery by going throug various obstacles, including kidnapping the president.

The Great Potter Debate Updated

If it interests anyone, I have updated my conversation with Lincoln about Harry Potter at http://atthestudy.blogspot.com/2007/07/great-potter-debate.html

Entertainment News Friday: Upcoming and Rumored Movies

The Jane Austen Book Club

I'm rather excited about this one. Of course, it could be that I'm a sucker for anything that has to do with Jane Austen. I predict that I may just have to read the book after the film comes out. The story follows the lives of the members of a Jane Austen book club. They discover that their lives are similar to the Austen books. It's a novel concept. After all, that's what's so wonderful about Jane Austen. We can relate to her novels. Sometimes we just plain get inspiration from them in our own lives. Other times we just need a good laugh or a good chick flick to cheer us up. Looks like this film will have a good cast as well, so it should be good.

Becoming Jane

Speaking of Jane Austen, I can't wait for to see the film "Becoming Jane." I'm not too keen on Anne Hathaway playing Jane, but it should be good.

Snow and the Seven

Disney is in the process of making an updated version of Snow White that takes place in Hong Kong. For more details, go to the link above. If you ask me, this just sounds like a made for the big screen version of Wendy Wu, one of the Disney Channel movies. Not so interesting. The way it looks, though, it'll be a while before anything gets done with this one. No casting has been done and the article makes it look like the script has a long way to go.

The Lost Adventures of Stone Perlmutter Jr.

Not too thrilled about this one. I'm a fan of Jack Black, but I can't stand spoof films. This film is a spoof on Indiana Jones and looks like it will be going along with the style of Napoleon Dynamite, Nacho Libre, and Tenacious D. I wish Black would stick to the more serious roles. He's good at the serious roles. I loved him in "The Holiday." I just plain don't like stupid films that gain popularity because they are stupid. It's stupid. What is happening to the intelligence of America? On top of that, I'm just a little offended because the said hero goes in search of the tomb of Jesus. He'll probably never find it, and if he does he won't find a body.

Jack and the Beanstalk

I actually like the cast for this one. They're all character actors. It does not bother me that they are old and not so popular any more. And what do you expect from a low budget film? At least it will be a family film. I wish there were more clean family films out there. There are probably a lot of chick flicks that would make good family films if all the sexual content were cut.

Star Struck


Simon Cowell is making a film (Star Struck) that follows the top ten on a talent show like American Idol. Should be interesting. Considering Cowell's own humor and style I would assume there will be a lot of crude humor elements to it. Looks like a promo for American Idol that will not be very successful.

Opening Today:


The Bourne Ultimatum - I've only seen the second Bourne film, but I might go see this one since I liked the second one.


Bratz - I'm not sure whether to go see this one. It's obviously a promo for the doll line, but if it's similar to Mean Girls I might go see it. I'll probably wait for this one to come out on video.

El Cantante - Not too keen on this one. I'm not a Jennifer Lopez fan and this just looks like another boring feel good biopic film with a bunch of sexual, dirty, R rated content.

Hot Rod - Another one of those stupid films I hate and will never see.

Underdog - I can't wait to see this one. I'll probably go with my mom since she's a big Underdog fan (she's old and grew up with those kind of cartoons). Honestly, I miss the old, clean cartoons. We need more of them and less of the modern cartoons that are dirty and filled with things that kids should not see. The old cartoons are more fun to watch anyway. My only worry about this film is that it's made by Disney. Disney tends to make their films kind of cheesy.

Becoming Jane - I'm very excited about this one.

The Ten - Another stupid movie, only this one makes fun of the Bible and the Ten Commandments. Very offensive. Not sure what else to say. It's just wrong. Good thing it's only coming out limited release.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Creative Thursday: God's Presence

I look up at the stars and see,

A world full of comfort, for me.

When I am near nature,

I feel only one thing,

I feel God's presence,

It is swift with the wind,

And shows me the way.

All the troubles that are on my mind disappear,

And I sing out with praise.

I can’t stop,

The feeling’s so sweet.

I feel the wind,

And see God's creations,

They stare back at me,

And send a message,

That God is watching over me no matter what.

God is everywhere,

His light shines into the darkness,

Protecting all those who seek it,

And I know that no matter what I think,

No matter how much I abandon Him,

He is always there.

And so at night,

I look up high,

Seeing God's presence I make a wish,

The wish upon the first star I see.

It is like a prayer to me,

A silent one from me to Him,

A hope that he will hear,

For the only place that I truly feel God's presence,

Is when I am near nature,

And see his creations around me.

I look up at the stars and make my wish,

Knowing that he heard me.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

America's Got Talent?

I missed America's got talent last night. The only reason I regret this is that I was unable to find out if Boy Shakira/Brittney got kicked off. He should have gotten kicked off long ago. It's just disgusting. It's just plain wrong that he would cross dress and dance around the stage flopping his fat everywhere. It's morally wrong and gross. I have nothing against plus sized people, I am one of them, but I still think they should dress tastefully and I'm certainly not for cross-dressing or homosexuality. I'll support any person in their right to choose a lifestyle, but that does not mean I have to support or respect the lifestyle they choose. Honestly, things are getting ridiculous in America! We need to start standing up for what is right and standing against what is wrong! To my relief, I've logged on the America's got Talent website and found that Boy Shakira did get kicked off, something that should have happened a long time ago. Personally, I'm rooting for Terry Fator , the Duttons, or the Glamazons.
I've already written one post on this subject that goes more into detail on my opinions. If you wish to read that article/post, click here: http://atthestudy.blogspot.com/2007/07/americas-got-talent-more-like-americas.htmlot-talent-more-like-americas.html

Bookmobile Wednesday: "The Last Sin Eater"

Rating: four out of five stars

Plot: Cadi Forbes suffers from guilt. The only person who ever made her feel free of that guilt was her grandma, but one day her grandma dies. Thus the adventure that will lead her on a search for the ultimate truth begins. In light of her grandma's death there is need for the sin eater. When the sin eater comes to take away all of her grandmother's sins, Cadi dares to do what no other has the courage to do: look the sin eater in the eyes. Cadi's guilt weighs her down and she decides not to rest until she can find the sin eater and get him to take her sins away. Her plans complicate when a man of God appears at the nearby river, preaching the story of Christ. Many secrets lay waiting to be found and Cadi's quest to rid herself of guilt is only the beginning of it. Much more awaits for you to learn.

IMDB.com Descriptions:

In seeking her own redemption from the one man of whom she is most afraid, 10-year-old Cadi Forbes discovers a secret sin haunting her community of Welsh immigrants in 1850s Appalachia.

In 1850s Appalachia, 10-year-old CADI FORBES feels responsible for her little sister's death, so she searches out the one man she feels can take away her sin -- The Sin Eater. But in her quest for redemption, Cadi uncovers a dark secret that threatens to divide her family and community.

My Comments: My first introduction to this story was through the film. The film confuses those who have not read the book until the very end, but is very inspiring overall. The mystery makes the story what it is, however, and I would not ask the film writers to reveal everything at once at the beginning. I checked out the movie version a while back to view it again. Now that I understood what was going on it meant a lot more to me than it did before. I cried through the entire film. Ironically, the only complaint I have about the book is that Cadi cries too much. The book surpasses the movie immensly. If you're going to choose between the two, choose the book. As usual the book contains scenes, characters, plots, and mysteries that the movie cut. The real attention getter, however, comes from the fact that Francine Rivers writes with such incredible talent. The descriptions she gives are beautiful and full of imagery. On top of that she develops the characters and the plot in a way that will keep you guessing through the entire story and have you attached to the characters by the time you finish reading. What I find most interesting about this book is the way Rivers narrates what the characters are thinking. Readers can relate to all the characters and feel like they are in the characters shoes. Along with that, Rivers inserts the questions and answers of a new believer or even one who already believes.