Friday, January 31, 2014

Happy Lunar New Year!


 Happy (Lunar) New Year!

This year ushers in the year of the horse, and out goes the year of the snake.

Giving children a 'red envelope' with money (within) on New Year's Day is the tradition.

Gift-giving is not tradition. Just the giving children red envelopes.

However, time spent together and eating also play large roles in celebrating the New Year, much like celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas.

We rang in the New Year with snow that started falling last night, without stop until sometime this morning. Then the snow resumed late this afternoon and continues to fall.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Keeping it real

I firmly believe that we (all people) were made relationally, and we thrive when we, in some form or another, relate to others. I am not thereby declaring that some people do not benefit or recharge by being alone. I am just saying that we do better when we share with others and relate to others. Life is too difficult and challenging to weather solo.

Being authentic is not synonymous with being a stream of consciousness, sharing one's every thought without filtering what is inappropriate and discerning what is appropriate. Being authentic also does not mean purposely throwing someone under the bus.

A difficulty I have struggled with in the last couple of years is how to be authentic without thereby exposing someone else's identity and story who might not want her or his life shared.

I suppose a further challenge is that whilst sharing lessons learned and wisdom gained from life's journey might benefit others, some experiences are deeply personal and too raw to share.

I am striving to keep it real, but within appropriate confines.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Keeping busy, even when the going gets tough

We rang the New Year in with a bang. More like an explosion of sickness. Starting with me getting the flu. One child had the flu and strep. Another had an ear infection and a sinus infection. Others had colds. And now I have moved on to allergies. Good thing is that the children are quick to bounce back, especially after the pediatrician put them on antibiotics.

Still, life goes on. School, work, cooking, grocery shopping, laundry, homework, music practice, crafts, etc. Not a dull moment here.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Free Beth Moore Kindle books until tomorrow

Beth Moore has generously made around 16 of her books, in the Kindle version, available for FREE until tomorrow, January 10th. I have read a few of her books and have found them helpful and insightful in the past. I took advantage of this offer last night by going on to Amazon.com. You do not have to own a Kindle to appreciate or use this offer. They have 'kindle' for iPod touches, iPads, etc.

Friday, January 03, 2014

1997? Isn't that referring to Ancient Times?

My first born, my 7 year old, noticed '1997' on my Class of 1997 t-shirt the other day (this isn't the first time she has seen me wear the shirt). She proceeds to ask:

"Mom, isn't that from a really long time ago?"

What do you mean (by 'a really long time ago')?

"Like Ancient Times?!"

What?

"Like when dinosaurs were roaming the earth."

No honey. Dinosaurs were not roaming the earth in 1997. 1997 was not THAT long ago.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Disney's "Frozen," Second to None

That I am going to see Disney's "Frozen" for the third time is a pretty huge deal, especially considering the fact that it has been about four years since I last paid (full-price) to see a newly released movie in the theater. Though I have taken advantage of discounts or promotions to see "Frozen," that I would venture to the theater, when I am living frugally, is a pretty huge deal.

"Frozen" is not just a movie for children. A message that can be better appreciated by persons more well-seasoned in life, wise beyond the years of small children, is presented in this movie. The heart of this movie goes beyond Prince Charming rescuing the poor damsel/princess in distress.

The Plot Thickens

Refreshingly, 'true love' is not what is characteristic of so many Disney movies; true love, in this movie, is not defined as the love between the alleged Prince Charming and a breath-taking, beautiful princess. Genuine love goes much deeper.

Characters that steal the show in a most charming way
  • Elsa: the older of (two) sister princesses, who becomes queen when she comes of age. She was born with a freezing power that she could not figure out how to control for the longest time but also had a most tender heart for wanting to protect others and not harming them. She was so fearful of hurting others (with her powers), she spent most of the time alone, hidden, and an enigma.
  • Anna: the younger of the princess sisters, who remembers being best buddies with her sister but then felt as if her sister abruptly stopped associating with her and without explanation. Yet, she stays loyal in her love to Elsa and continues reaching out to her sister.
  • Olaf: the little creation that Elsa and Anna, as very young little children, would affectionately call the snowman they built together time and time again, is a charming, witty, hilarious character. He brings out the child-like giddiness and innocence in all of us.
  • Prince Hans: the alleged 'Prince Charming,' who enters in and presents himself as a handsome, dashing, humorous, loving prince. His desire goes way beyond capturing the heart of a princess; seizing a kingdom is more like it.
  • Christof: the guy who sells ice for a living, whom Anna hires when she is searching for Elsa. There is nothing pretentious about Christof. He's real, he's down to earth, and well, he's charming, in an unconventional way.
The redeeming qualities of the princesses are refreshing.

Elsa and Anna are not merely beautiful damsels in distress:

Elsa - (the older sister)

  • understands that tremendous power comes with huge responsibility and always is mindful about not hurting others with that power.
  • wants to protect her sister, even when the sacrifice (of protecting her sister) comes at a huge price.
  • does not stop wanting to find out answers.
  • loves others tremendously.
  • finds the strength to live well, even though she has to be isolated for quite some time.
  • does not become cold and hard through her difficult life circumstances and challenges.
Anna - (the younger sister)
  • loves her sister loyally, continuously, and deeply, despite not being aware and not being informed about the forced (albeit protective) distance between them.
  • does not stop believing in her sister and having a sustaining faith (in her sister and family).
  • has not given up on love, real love.
  • has the strength, courage, resolve to venture and battle the dangerous and the unknown for her sister.
  • loves so genuinely, so deeply, without reservation, that she is willing to sacrifice her life.
  • emanates a sort of innocence and naivety, yet is strong, bold, and loving in her own right.
The spoiler -

WARNING: Stop reading here if you don't want me to give anything away regarding how the movie ends or how 'true love' is depicted in the movie.

I shall continue on, because I want to describe in a non-vague, tangible way why I love this movie so much.

STOP.

Do you really want to know about the 'true love' that unfolds in this movie?!

Here we go. . .

True Love

It is the true love - unfailing love; love that is loyal, steady, consistent, persistent, deep - between the sisters, albeit love displayed in somewhat different manifestations, that saves each of the sisters' lives. True love not only weathers and survives the storms but also brings the two individuals (Anna and Elsa) into a deeper relationship with each other and becomes a solution. True love builds significant, lasting relationships; provides calm to the storm; and brings beauty, meaning, and fulfillment in life.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013