Saint of the Month: St Therese of Lisieux

Born: Jan 2, 1873

Death: Sep 30, 1897

Patron: France

Symbol: Roses entwining a crucifix

Feast Date: October 1

Therese was the youngest of nine children.  Her mother died when she was five, causing her to be raised by her older sisters and her aunt. When two of her sisters became Carmelite nuns, she decided she must be a nun as well.  But when she first attempted to gain admission, she was refused.  That is, until a year later when she got some help. But by that time, she had contracted tuberculosis.  However, she resolved to live the rest of her life for God.  At the encouragement of her superiors, she wrote her autobiography, The Story of  A Soul. (I highly recommend this book)

What I find most interesting is what happened in her twilight years years.  The disease had taken its toll not only on her body, but also her psyche and she began to doubt God’s existence.  But she persevered and realized God wanted her to see the darkness within those who who don’t believe in God. She fought against her despair and prayed for those who did not believe.  I also find it fascinating that she believed that serving God did not mean you had to go out and change the world (although she did wish to go to India. When Mother Theresa of Calcutta chose her profession, she had read Therese’s autobiography, and this inspired her to go to India) In the words of her autobiography, you could “do small things with big love.” She believed herself to be a little flower in God’s field, which is why we Catholics call her the “Little Flower of Jesus.”  Through her, I have learned that even my small tasks of kindness can be a testament to God.

 

 

 

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My Top 10 Favorite Writers

Note: in case you can’t tell, I’m officially a brony. Expect an article about that soon.

I love to read. I learned how to read at a very early age, thanks to my mother.  She read to me often and encouraged me to read on my own for fun.  Through her, I learned not to see reading as a chore, but as a source of entertainment. So I will now present my favorite writers. With each one, I’ll even provide my favorite book by that writer.

10. Neil Gaiman I’m slowly getting into Neil Gaiman. I love his imagery and the way he blends into fairy tale within the trappings of his stories.  He takes the familiar and makes it new, modernizing folklore for a whole new experience.


Best Work: Coraline–This story is excellent. Here’s a child who wishes she had better parents. But when gets them, she realizes they don’t really love her.  They just “want” her. She realizes her parents actually love her and their restrictions are a good thing.  This knowledge shows her who truly loves her. It’s the kind of story children need.

9. Rick Riordan–Rick Riordan makes mythology fun. I love how he asks what if all the myths were actually true. I believe there is nothing wrong with exposing children to mythology. He shows that the ancient world is still alive and well.  We cannot do without the influence of paganism. If we do, we lose a huge part of our culture.

Best Work: Percy Jackson and the Olympians–I’m gonna cheat and count the whole series. I can’t pick one book from the series because they’re all  good. I like how he re-imagines the Greek gods and even gets Hera right!

8. L. Frank Baum–If the only thing you know about Oz is what you saw in The Wizard of Oz movie, you’re missing out. That movie only scratched the surface.  If you were to go deeper and read all fourteen of the books he wrote, you’d see a whole world rich in imagination. A world where all the rules are well thought out. You’ll meet Princess Ozma, who actually has responsibilities. It’s not just a title to her–she takes her royalty.  I urge everyone out there who loves the Wizard of Oz–check out the books and read what you’ve been missing. You won’t be disappointed.

Best Work: The Lost Princess of Oz–Here is Ozma at her best. Against a villain who has studied her and magic and meets her as an equal.  The Nome King, her usual nemesis, is a pushover compared to this new villain.  The Oz books aren’t cute, flowery books. They are awesome!

7. Lloyd Alexander–Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain gave us an excellent take on the King Arthur mythos.  Taran is a boy on a quest to become a great hero, but does not realize where true heroism lies. In each book, he comes closer to true heroism, but every time he gets a shortcut method, it’s lost.

Best Work: Taran Wanderer– The fourth book of the Chronicles of Prydain is Taran’s coming of age story. In this story, he meets the people of the Free Commots, whose life is their craft.  These people sort of become an extended family for him and through them he learns many life lessons he didn’t learn on his farm.  I especially love the encounter with Annlaw.

6. J.K. Rowling–Unlike some people, I actually gave Harry Potter a chance before forming an opinion.  I’d get into a long diatribe about how Harry Potter isn’t evil or anti-Christian, but that’d be going off topic.  Instead, I’ll just say approach her books with an open mind before forming your opinion.

Best Work: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire–I was already a fan of the Harry Potter books when I got to this book, but this book really cemented the series for me.  This book caused a major change from bright and cheerful to downright dark.  The stakes were raised much higher than they were in the previous books.  I also like how J.K. Rowling actually expected her readers to grow with Harry.  I’ve seen very few franchises actually take children that seriously.

5. Douglas Adams–For years, people have been telling me how hilarious the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series was.  Then I sat down to read the books and discovered how right they were (well except for Mostly Harmless).

Best Work: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy–If you don’t laugh at least once while reading this book you need a new sense of humor.

4) Isaac Asimov–Asimov was one of the architects of modern-day sci-fi. He came up with the three laws of robots, which we still use today. He also blended genres, came up with great post-apocalyptic stories, and more.

Best Work: Foundation series. It’s basically the Roman Empire…but in space. With robots.

3) J.R.R. Tolkien–Come on, do I even need to explain? If you haven’t read any of his stuff, you should.

Best Work: all three Lord of the Rings.  If you’ve only seen the movies, you’re missing out. Sure, he takes a real long time to read, but it’s worth it.

Number 2 is a tie.

2a) C.S. Lewis–I love what he has to say about Christianity. His journey from atheist to Christian is fascinating.

Best Work: The Screwtape Letters–This is an excellent example of unreliable narrator, but then, it’s demons writing letters. At the same time, it made me realize how easily I’ve been tempted at times.

2b) Roald Dahl–He started out writing for adults and then decided to write for children. And best of all, he knew the best way was to write at their level, without talking down to them. He was scary, but then kids actually like being scared.

Best Work: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory–If you’ve seen the movie (and I’m talking about the one Tim Burton didn’t make), then you probably already know how good it is. The book is even better!

and now for the finale:

1. Mark Twain (a/k/a Samuel Longhorne Clemens): Don’t believe those claims that he was racist. He was actually the exact opposite. I love his sense of humor. My favorite line from him has to be “I have been on the verge of being an angel all my life, but it’s never happened yet.”

Best Work: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn–I was so surprised when I learned why he wrote this book. He actually was a supporter of the abolitionist movement. Even though we no longer have slavery in the United States, I still think this is a book that can teach us.

 

One Faith Many Paths: Enid Appelget

For this month, I decided to interview Enid Appelget. She is a former missionary who is now a mother of four children, one of whom has Asperger’s Disorder. I met her on Christian Anime Alliance when she heard I had Asperger’s, and she decided to privately ask me questions. We eventually formed a great friendship.
1. Are you a convert to the Christian faith, or have you been a Christian since childhood?
“I can consider myself a nominal Christian since childhood because I have been knowing about the Bible, Jesus and what he did for us since I was a kid raised as a Catholic.But it was not a relationship of love and trust and open communication between us. Then, when I was 18 years old I was born again, like Jesus said to Nicodemus in John 3:1-18.”

2. What denomination are you?
“Non-denominational. Where ever I get to live I go to any church where the word of God is believed and preached and there is sound teaching about it. Where believers in Jesus Christ love Him with all their heart mind and soul and want to be honest in everything to each other and to God. I do prefer ‘Protestant’ churches.

3. Which version of the Bible do you use for study?
“Reina-Valera. Spanish is my native tongue and that is the most used version and the one I grew up reading and listening to. I think it could be the equivalent to a New KJV, but better.”

4. How many children do you have and what are their names and ages?
J (10), D (9), J (7), M (4). And, yes, you can call me a busy mom, lol. (Note: she didn’t want me to give her kids’ names.)

5. Children with Aspergers and/or Autism are somewhat difficult to raise. What advice can you give to parents?
Do research and follow your gut instict as a parent when it comes to treatment, therapies or/and intervention. Search for all the posible help available for your child and your family as a whole. Do not compare your child or family to other families, you are not better or worst, is just different. Do not forget to take care of yourself in all areas (mental, spiritual, emotional and physical). You need to be in optimal conditions to be able to help your children and be a blessing for all in your family without burning out.

6. You said you were a missionary. What was that like?
It was AWESOME! I was able to see God working in people’s life in front row, sort of speak. I worked as a missionary with Youth With Missionhttp://ywam.org/ and God took me to many places working alongside many other Christians to take the God News to many and teach the words of Jesus to fellow believers, too. I grew a lot as a person with a lot more respect and admiration for my brothers and sisters in other countries.

7. What person in your life has shaped your faith the most? Why?

“That, is a hard question. I really never thought about it until now that you ask me. Let me think…Well, I think that more than one person was a group of teachers, during that year I was in a Bible School, in YWAM. They taught me how to think outside the regular mainstream Christianity and to search and investigate what I believe and why. I am still working on that. Learning and changing never ends.”

8. What is your favorite verse of the Bible?
Another hard question. I like so many bible verses. BUt I will go for the two that moved me to get closer to Jesus, to surrender my life totally to him: “If you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9, and Luke 12:8 “And I say to you, everyone who confesses Me before men, the Son of Man will confess him also before the angels of God”.

9. What do you think is the best thing about being a Christian?
Not being afraid of the future. Being filled with hope and joy. And getting to relate to God as my Lord, as my friend and as my father.

10. What is your reaction to the claim that Christians are often hypocritical and prejudiced towards those of other faiths? Have you met anyone who isn’t Christian in real life, and if so, have they treated you kindly?
Woah, those are three questions in one I will see how well can I answer them.
Hyprocrisy happens. And it is not just in people claiming to be Christians. It is the nature of man to say one thing and do other, because many times we want to fit in and not be seen for what we are. It is trigger by fear of rejection and other times because of pride. Prejudice is as ugly as Hyprocrisy but maybe more damaging. We are not to judge people in order to reject and condem them, that is not our goal or responsibility. We are to consider people where they are at and meet them there with God’s truth about themselves, and let them choose. We surely and lovingly can point out ANY wrong behavior or belief the way we would like others to point them in ourselves. Yes,I have met people that are not Christians and many have treated me kindly.

11. What advice would you give to married people?
Keep dating your spouse, preferibly once a week, even if it is just a walk around the neighborhood. Do not think that she or he knows what you want or what you are planning because they already know you well. Communicate ideas, feelings or plans in a timely way. Follow godly and biblical truth and advice in every aspect of your marriage.

12. You lived in other countries before moving to the US. What was it like there?
What was it like there?…It was hard, but I knew that we were where God wanted us to be at that time in life.
Would you like me to interview you for this project? Email me and I’ll interview you! My e-mail is:
rocklobsterjwt@gmail.com. You’ll notice when you click on that, the subject “interview” is in your subject heading. I will only accept interviews if “interview” is the subject.

X-men: First Class

Genre: Superhero

Studio: 20th Century Fox/Marvel/Bad Hat Harry

Director: Bryan Singer

Running Time: 2 hours, 12 Minutes

MPAA: PG-13

Summary: Set back in the 1960’s, this movie chronicles Professor Xavier’s and Magneto’s first formation of the X-men, who wish to promote peaceful co-existence between both humans and mutants.  Their first mission: to stop the evil Hellfire Club from escalating the Cold War during the events of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Stars: Kevin Bacon, James McAvoy, Oliver Pratt

My Rating: 9/10

Review: I’m a huge fan of the X-men, in fact they’re my favorite superhero team.

What I really like about the X-men is that is really a metaphor for race relations. The relationships between humans and mutants were inspired by the civil rights movement, with Professor Xavier inspired by Martin Luther King, while Magneto’s methods would be similar to Malcolm X.  I thought it was great how the movie showed the way the X-men’s first team.  We even see how Magneto and Professor Xavier first met.

The story had typical superhero style violence. THe movie gave hints that Magneto was already stating. He saw nothing wrong with killing people as a means to his end. He doesn’t share Xavier’s pacifist vision.  This puts him at odds with Xavier. He wants revenge for his childhood in the Nazi concentration camp.

I did have two problems with the movie, the first was its sexuality. There was an unnecessary scene where Moira disguises herself as a stripper to get into the Hellfire Club.  I was also displeased with Hugh Jackman’s cameo.  The sole reason for Wolverine to appear? Just so they could squeeze in the one f-word limit the PG-13 rating allows.  Just because you have the limit doesn’t mean you have to meet it.

Other than these, I actually liked the movie. I think 20th Century Fox has finally gotten past the failure of X-men: The Last Stand, which was the worst of the series, in my opinion.