Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Super 8 and Wolf's Cross

This week I have watched a movie and read a book which have caused me to take a look again at the nature of good and evil in people, and the reality of the grey.

SPOILER ALERT: If you don't want to know anything about Super 8 or Wolf's Cross, you might not want to read this post. However, I don't give answers away and I don't tell you what happens in the end.

Wolf's Cross by S.A. Swann
From the back: Maria lives a simple life in a small Polish village, working for the lord of the nearby fortress. Motherless since birth, Maria has been raised by her father and stepmother. Around her neck she wears - as she has always worn - a silver crucifix, to protect her from the devil. Or so her father tells her.
But when a contingent of badly mauled Teutonic knights, including a handsome and gravely wounded young man named Josef, as for succor at the fortress, Maria's quiet and comfortable world shatters. For the knights are Wolfjagers, an order dedicated to the extermination of werewolves, and Maria, unknowingly, is one of the creatures they hunt. Only the crucifix about her neck prevents her body from changing into a lethal killing machine.
When Maria meets Darien, a wolfbreed bent on exacting a terrible revenge on humans, she will learn the truth about herself, and find her loyalties - and her heart - torn in two.

I enjoyed this vivid, paranormal adventure/romance very much. It's not the best werewolf story I've ever read, but it's certainly not the worst. My favorite part of this story was the multi-faceted character portrayal. Nobody was pure and innocent. Nobody was evil personified. The church was portrayed as having both people who struggle with the truth and strive to do right, and also close-minded ignorant bigots. I read about commoners who were nasty and others who were good-hearted. The nobles (often portrayed as arrogant and cruel) were responsible, thoughtful and aware of the needs of their servants. The three werewolves in the story all struggle with a vengeful desire for chaos and a passionate need for the safety of family and home.

I loved the fact that there were people I could relate to in this story- I struggle with wicked thoughts, yet seek to serve the true and pure.
There were no wicked sinners with hearts black as sin in this story, and no pure innocent shining saints. Instead, the characters fell in the grey middle.

Super 8
From Wikipedia: The film tells the story of a group of young teenagers who are filming their own Super 8 movie in a small town in 1979 when a train derails, releasing a dangerous presence into their town.

This movie is a little bit like a "What if!? What if E.T. arrived and the government captured the alien instead of letting him go? And what if they locked him up and experimented on him? And what if he was WAY bigger, stronger and scarier??"

Again, what I liked the most about this movie was that most of the characters were neither pure as snow nor grimy with evil-
The alien got angry and mean because of the experiments done to him and the years of prison-life.
The scientists & military agents wanted to know the truth and did not set out to turn the alien insane. Besides, one of the scientists knowingly commits suicide to set the alien free.
The kids do stupid selfish things, and wonderful sweet things.
The military personnel who come in to clean up the mess are probably the most unabashedly evil presence in the movie; however, one of the more important characters in the movie is a police officer who does both stupid, mean, selfish things and heroic crazy stunts.
Even the loser dad and the pot-head end up doing pretty cool amazing things.

I could relate to these people: the parents driven to find their missing kids, the teenage awkwardness and self-consciousness, the military terror towards the alien, the alien's need to go home.. I got what drove these characters and it wasn't clear-cut- it was all very grey.

I often want things to be more clear-cut, but a lot of the time they are not. A lot of time it's more grey. When the path is clear (stealing is a bad idea, it hurts me and the person who owns whatever I want. Murder is a bad idea, life is precious and needs to be protected), I can stick to the straight and narrow. But when it gets confusing, I have to pick my way through the grey as well.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Party

I got chosen!
I get to be part of Lori's Bead Soup Blog Party!!! I'm so excited!
Lori writes an awesome blog called Pretty Things, and she puts together this really cool Bead Blog Hop. She arranges for everyone to have the most amazing partners. Then we get to trade beads & make lovely pieces.
Can you tell I'm thrilled to be part of something so cool??!!
My partner this time is the talented and amazing Sharon Driscoll. Look at the beautiful soup she sent me!
She made that incredible focal bead- It's art glass, and I'm thrilled to be working with her bead. My favorite color combo is purple and green, and she sent so many lovely pieces. The large focal is going to be a challenge for me. Most of my work tends to be rather airy and light, and that bead is so earthy and rich. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens!
Come back for the big reveal on March 3rd!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Awesome Article by Lysa TerKeurst

I read this article today by Lysa Terquest, and was amazed at how much this sounds like my Deborah. She has always been the kid we couldn't persuade, bully or beg to do something when she refused. She is strong-willed and determined to an amazing degree. I really needed to read this and be reminded that I am not raising her for my convenience. I am raising her to be someone who follows God and listens to His voice.

I Don't Want To Raise A Good Child
by Lysa TerKeurst

My daughter, Hope, is a senior this year. And she decided her senior year should be adventurous and a little out of the “normal” box. A lot out of the box actually.

She withdrew from traditional school. Applied with the state to homeschool. Enrolled in on-line college courses that would allow her to get both high school and college credit simultaneously. And planned to spend the month of January serving in Nicaragua doing missions.

This didn’t surprise me really. Because Hope has always liked charting her own course.

When she was really little I was scared to death I was the world’s worst mom, because Hope was never one to be contained. And I honestly thought all her extra tenacity was a sign of my poor mothering.

One day I took her to the mall to meet several of my friends with toddlers to grab lunch. All of their kids sat quietly eating cheerios in their strollers. They shined their halos and quoted Bible verses and used tissues to wipe their snot.

Not Hope.

She was infuriated by my insistence she stay in her stroller. So, when I turned away for a split second to place our lunch order, she wiggled free. She stripped off all her clothes. She ran across the food court. And jumped in the fountain in the center of the mall.

Really nothing makes the mother of a toddler feel more incapable than seeing her naked child splashing in the mall fountain. Except maybe that toddler refusing to get out and said mother having to also get into the fountain.

I cried all the way home.

Not because of what she’d done that day. But rather because of how she was everyday. So determined. So independent. So insistent.

I would beg God to show me how to raise a good child. One that stayed in her stroller. One that other people would comment about how wonderfully behaved she was. One that made me look good.

But God seemed so slow to answer those prayers. So, over the years, I changed my prayer. ”God help me to raise Hope to be who you want her to be.” Emphasis on, “God HELP ME!”

I think I changed my prayers for her because God started to change my heart. I started sensing He had a different plan in mind for my mothering of Hope.

Maybe God’s goal wasn’t for me to raise a good rule following child. God’s goal was for me to raise a God-following adult. An adult just determined and independent and insistent enough to fulfill a purpose He had in mind all along.

I don’t know what mama needs to hear this today. But let me encourage you from the bottom of my heart with 3 simple mothering perspectives you must hang on to:

1. Don’t take too much credit for their good.

2. Don’t take too much credit for their bad.

3. Don’t try to raise a good child. Raise a God-following adult.

And all the mamas of fountain dancing children said, “Amen!”