Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Book Review

I finished my 4th book of this summer the other day, The Scarlet Pimpernel. It was quite different from what I had expected. Here is a short review.

The Scarlet Pimpernel was written by Baroness Orczy. Orczy was born in Hungry but moved to England as a child and to Paris, France after her marriage. She contrived her idea for the Scarlet Pimpernel while in England. The story occurs in England during the French Revolution. In the story, The Scarlet Pimpernel, with a band of 20 loyal followers, rescue French Aristocrats from the guillotine. His identity is hidden from all but his 20 followers. The leaders of the revolution are determined to find and capture the Scarlet Pimpernel and so crush the resistance.
The main character is the rich and popular Lady Marguerite Blackney, a french woman who came to England when she married an English Lord. Disappointed in her marriage Lady Blackeny clings to her brother, the only man she believes she still loves. When her brother is targeted by the revolutionaries as an enemy of the French Republic Marguerite is made to chose between saving the life of her brother or that of the Scarlet Pimpernel. Her decision leads her on a reckless adventure across England and France in pursuit of true love.

What surprised me about this book, besides the conclusion, was that it was a romance. I had thought it was an action and adventure novel. Although I don't always like romance I didn't mind the story because it had enough intrigue and excitement to keep it to keep me interested.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


This is what I did over the last two weeks. I joined the swim team, something I have wanted to do for years.
I registered for camp and will be leaving in (oh my goodness) only 2 weeks.
I applied for financial aid for school(fun). I prepared for my driving test which hopefully I will be taking very soon(within the next 2 weeks).
I made some additions to my vegetable garden, brussel sprouts, cauliflower and beans, green and yellow. I bought the cauliflower and brussel sprouts as plants but the beans I grew from seed so was very excited that they came up this late in the season.
I finished reading The Hound of the Baskervilles and watched a 1938 movie version with my brothers. I started The Scarlet Pimpernel and hope to finish today. My brother of course bet me as he always seems too.
He finished it on Wednesday. I went to a book sale and got The Spirit of the Liturgy by Cardinal Ratsinger and a book about St. John Brebuef, one of the North American martyrs. Lets see anything else? Oh yea I joined Facebook(':

Saturday, June 26, 2010

5-Minute Craft

Here is another simple craft I discovered. You need a one sided coloring sheet meaning that there is only a picture on one side, Wax paper or paper towel, markers or crayons, vegetable oil or cooking spray and a paint brush.
1. Color the picture with markers or crayons. Press firmly.
2. Place the picture on a piece of wax paper or a paper towel. Cover the picture with vegetable oil or cooking spray. I like spray because it is easier.
3. Use the paintbrush to evenly distribute the oil.
5. Let dry. My picture took 5 hours. The result will be a stained glass picture. I hung mine in the kitchen window.
You probably are beginning to figure out that I really like stained glass art! I find the best place to go to find one sided coloring pages is the Internet. You can google in stained glass coloring on google images and get loads of good stuff.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Happily Ever After

G.K. Chesterton once compared Christianity with a fairy tale. Many, myself included, sometimes see following Christ as a heavy and wearisome task. But didn't Jesus say,"Come to me all you who labor and our burdened and I will give you rest"? Christianity is not a tragedy but rather the greatest fairy tale of all time. Jesus Christ died. He was murdered in the most horrific way possible. He was abandoned by His followers. He died with nothing. Yet He did the impossible. He came back! He rose from the dead! Is that amazing or what? Doesn't that defie reality? How can a man rise from the dead? That is not realistic. He did it though. Jesus Christ rose from the dead.
The martyrs those who gave their lives for Christ seemed to have tragic endings to their lives. Most were brutalized in the extremes before being killing. One of the Jesuit martyrs of North America had his fingers chewed off! St. Appolina had her teeth ripped out! Many of them were killed in the prime of their lives. Little St. Agnes was only 12, St. Tarcisius I believe 10. Those who weren't martyred lead far from pleasant lives. They were abused by family, betrayed by those closest to them, persecuted by those in the Church, called fools, hypocrites and every other insult. They met opposition everywhere. Our own lives bear witness to the suffering of Christians. It would seem that the life of a Christian is a tragedy. It is not though. We have the final victory. We have a happily ever after FOREVER! Our lives may end in suffering and pain but we go on living for all time and eternity in perfect bliss. The world will end but we will rise with Christ.

Christianity is really a divine fairytale with happily ever afters, world without end. With Christ little boys can slay giants and frogs turn into princes. With Christ anything is possible. Look at the saints again. They have defied the laws of nature not by their own power but by God's. They have been in more than one place at the same time, levitated in prayer, lived on bread and water, received the wounds of Christ and remained alive thru great torment and torture. Nothing is impossible with God. He holds the universe in His hands and can change the rules if He wishes.

Monday, June 21, 2010

My Favorite Scripture Verse

"I know you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be hindered."
Job 42:2

Hope and Despair

A few weeks ago I finished reading J.R.R Tolkien's The Children of Hurin. This book is a real tragedy, meaning all the main characters die. There is no hope. Nothing good comes from the work of Hurin's children. They are doomed, cursed,by Morgoth and cannot escape. Although this novel is very dark and despairing I found many truths about Christianity in it.
J.R.R Tolkien was a real Christian writer, more then that a Catholic writer. Everything he wrote has a hint of Christianity in it ,even a tragedy like The Children of Hurin. Hurin's offspring are cursed by Morgoth, a fallen valar, because of Hurin's pride. Hurin joins with some of the elves in attacking Morgoth's fortress. Their contempt of Morgoth is a good thing. The problem is that they try to go against a power beyond them by themselves their own. They go against the will of the Valar by the assault of Morgoth. They cannot win. Although Morgoth is a fallen Valar he is still more powerful then men and elves. Tolkien did not believe in allegories but he did use analogies. The Children of Hurin seems clearly to be an analogy of our position before the Incarnation and what would have happened if Christ had not taken flesh and redeemed us. We were doomed. There was no hope for us. We couldn't save ourselves. No matter how good men tried to be the race was doomed,fighting against powers way beyond the powers of immortals, Satan and his minions. Hurin's children, like the children of Adam, were cursed.
The children of Hurin is not only an analogy of life without Redemption it is also an analogy of our situation now. Christ has come to earth and saved us by his death and Resurrection. We now have HOPE! We can get to Heaven. We are saved...BUT.. but it is up to us. Christ has saved us but because of our free will we have to choose to except Christ's saving grace. Hurin's son Turin was offered forgiveness. Why didn't he accept it? He was too proud. He was too proud to accept the forgiveness of others. So often in my own life I have been to proud to say sorry, to ask for forgiveness. When I ask for forgiveness I make myself vulnerable. I count on the other person to give me their pardon. There is always the risk that they may not. Turin was not willing to take that risk. He wanted to do everything all on his own. He didn't want forgiveness. He wanted to become powerful to make others as proud of him as he was of himself. Often we as Christians do the same thing, we want to be our own Savior. We don't want God's help. To accept God's help would be to acknowledge our own weakness.
The Children of Hurin resounds with the message "He has cast down the mighty from their thrones and has lifted up the lowly". King Thingol, an elf, though he loves Turin as a son will not help him until he repents. He offers him forgiveness if he will give up his wild ways and return to him but Turin refuses.Turin's ultimate act of despair in the end is the fate of all those who try to live their way instead of God's, "Their glory lasts a moment;their beauty fades with the morning sun" as the Psalm says. For those who acknowledge their nothingness, their incapability to do anything without God, they will share in the final victory and have glory everlasting. We, as St. Paul says, cannot glory in ourselves but only in Christ.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

O.K. I really don't feel like doing this but I will make myself do it. POST! I have been having so much fun outside in the summer sun that I just don't feel like doing it!
Yesterday I volunteered all day at a homeschool conference. Since my mom is due to have the baby anyday she wasn't up to going so I checked out some books that she was interested in. I spent the day with my best friend and when we weren't talking to people who came to our table we colored and she completed the world's largest dot-to-dot. It had over a thousand dots! WOW!
Besides that I have been getting ready for the baby, doing a ton of yard work, reading, babysitting, running errands and biking. I love biking. It is so much fun especially when I get a little disoreinted( he-he ).

While keeping the little girls amused I sometimes do crafts with them. Here is one we did last week.
To make it you need a paper coffee filter, washable markers, construction paper and a spray bottle.
1. Color the coffee filter.
2. Spray the coffee filter lightly 5 times. If you spray to much or to hard it will be ruined.
3. Let dry.
4. Once it has dryed you can make a circular frame for it out of construction paper if you wish. The finished product resembles a tie-dyed stained glass window.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Time and Space

The book I recently read, Sun Slower Sun Faster, deals with the issue of time. Man is limited because of time. We are always working against the clock or ,as I see it, the clock is working against us. We are separated from others by time. Our grandparents and parents for instance were raised in a different era and seem sometimes remote because of the gap in age and the changes that have occurred between their generation and ours. God who is limitless and infinite entered into time and space. He lived and walked among men, and allowed Himself to be subjected to the limitations experienced by humanity. After his passion, death and Resurrection Christ returned to His Father, leaving us in His "fleshy" form. Once a discussion was started at the dinner table why Christ may have chosen to do this. Why didn't He remain with His people in "fleshy" form to assist them through out all of time? But the truth is He is still with us. He told His apostles "Behold I am with you until the consummation of the world". He is with us Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Eucharist. We can not perceive Him in His Bodily form but He is there. As Sun Slower Sun Faster teaches us the Eucharist makes all Time one. With God there is no time, one day is as a thousand years as the psalmist says. The Holy sacrifice of the Mass has always been and will always be the same sacrifice, that is, Christ's offering of Himself to the Father on Calvary. The Eucharist brings us all together scattered all through various ages and places.

Another of man's limitations is that of space. We are conformed to it. We are separated from those we love because of our different locations on the planet. Like time space sets up barriers. Because of variations in culture we tend to think of people from other places as strange and foreign. Even the way we worship as Catholics varies from country to country. The essence of the Mass itself remains the same though, the offering of Christ to His Father. This transcends all cultural differences and those of past and future generations. All are one in Christ. We are brought together literally as one body by receiving the Body of Christ. Even those who are not Catholic or even Christian are united with us because we all exist within the mind of God. Always we have been in His thought and always we will be.
"There is one body and one Spirit,just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all." Ephesians 4:4-7