Holidays hurt

It’s not a surprise that loss is felt the hardest on holidays. After all, the holidays that lasted throughout history hurt. Christmas? The first one was far from romantic. Friendless and alone, a woman had her baby in a world that had forgotten her. Easter? Even worse! Before the glorious resurrection, there was the agonizing day of waiting and thinking and praying “What went wrong?”

Even Thanksgiving had its problems. The year before the one we celebrate, half of the Pilgrims either froze to death or died of sickness. Most of the women died. There was hurting on all sides, and the grim knowledge that “There is really no other way.” People died. Indians, both the helpful and the hurtful, surrounded them. They feared for their lives.

But they never gave up hope. They knew that God was their anchor, their protector. The brave Pilgrims who survived called a feast to thank their God, who had kept them safe throughout their first year. Yes, many died, but there was hope. Many more died the next year, but they knew that God was faithful. “Though he slay me, yet shall I trust him.”

He still is.

Guess what? Holidays hurt. They always did. They always will. Holidays are when you celebrate those you love. It’s when you remember those who have gone before. It’s when you look forward to the time to come. This is the time that matters.

Pilgrim

Alone in a crowd

But loss stalks you, and the memories bring tears. Every year, Grandma would decorate for every holiday. She had a collection of Pilgrims, one for each of us. I remember when I got mine. I thought she was so pretty. The little carven face seemed so kind. I love that pilgrim. I guess Grandma went to a lot of trouble picking her for me.

And this year, the first year without her, we didn’t even have dinner at home. No pumpkin spice candle, no reading of the story, no Thanksgiving music. I had practiced a song for the piano, but somehow…I couldn’t play it. I wasn’t ready. Sometimes surprises backfire. Nothing was the way it should be, and nothing would be for a very long time. Things are different.

I’m starting to realize that there is no end to the things that can stir your memories. For me, it was the Christmas Waltz. I never really thought about it until now, but the words hit me like a bullet. “It’s that time of year, when the world falls in love, every song you hear, seems to say….Merry Christmas! May your New Year’s dreams come true….”

Holidays, when things should be their best, they’re the worst. They’re terrible! The closer you try to stay together, the more it hurts when things you can’t control tear you apart. Sometimes, when you can’t blame anyone else, you just want to ask God, why?

Why did this happen? Why did they have to die? I mean, it isn’t fair!

But the thing is, the very definition of ‘Holiday’ is Holy day, day of God. Those who have gone before us are remembered. And yes, that means there will be some crying. There are those who try to drown out the hurt, but become more like Frozen‘s Queen Elsa: frozen stiff in her fear of showing any emotion. For those people, sometimes it will take years for them to finally overflow, and start crying. But there are the more normal ones who realize that “It’s ok to cry.”

So if you’re hurting this Christmas, and food allergies and friends seem to make your day even more strange, there is hope. This day was created to give thanks. This is the day that the LORD has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. Thank you, God, for the time I had. Be with Mom. We’re entering the season, starting tomorrow, where we wait for your coming. Be patient with me, if I’m becoming impatient at your return. It’s been a rough year.

Good Dog’s problem

I don’t like all these crazy things. They don’t understand the complex nature of a dog’s feelings. We like having a nice time by the fire, or on the carpet, or by  the bed, sleeping the night away. Little things like fleas and chickens can destroy everything. It isn’t good.

Not at all.

So there’s an issue with chickens. I will admit that. There’s no shame in lying….I mean telling the truth.

So here’s the thing…that old saying about old dogs and tricks? Absolutely true. And Shock Collars. Let’s not go into those little imps. They bite worse than fleas and beep and do all sorts of things that I don’t get. For a while we did fine…but to tell the truth we never really got along. The first time it bit me I was so surprised I ran all the way down the street until I was sure that they weren’t going to bite again.

I can’t trust anyone! I can’t trust even Bekah. Not that I ever really did. Sam was always my friend, but now that he had foot surgery he’s gone all crazy. Poor me. Friendless, alone, and Mom’s eye…

In case you want to know about that disastrous occasion, I think you’ll have to read the Return of the Charlie Monsters by Hank the Cowdog. I’m not going to go into those things. I don’t like repeating this. It was a very unfortunate turn of events. Let’s just say that instead of Hank and Sally May, it was me and Mom.

So if anyone wants a beautiful border collie, with lightning speed and masterful affection, and if that person has a large fence and no chickens, I will love you forever. I need to get out of here, and they don’t like me either.

I think Fluffy is trying to sell me on Southeast Texas dot comma or something. But I refuse to go!

Please?

 

Chosen Ones: Dawes

Simon and Tully, deserters to Caro's band

Simon and Tully, deserters to Caro’s band

Rora soon wasn’t the only straggler who joined to them. After her were Simon and Tully, twins and scientists from Nya’s front lines, who had deserted when they realized their job would be against civilians and not soldiers. Then came Cory, and Andrew, and then Rocket, a former gunfighter. All had been called in some way, shape or form to join, though Gino expressed doubts about Rocket’s calling.

“What would our Creator do with a Gunfighter?” He asked. Caro laughed. “What would he do with a prince?” Gino fell silent.

So Caro and Gino soon realized that while the Creator hadn’t given them all visible gifts, he had chosen them to small tasks, just as he had chosen Rora. Caro’s band was growing. Some of them had deserted. Some were farmers who felt called to protect their families. One was a lawyer. Davis didn’t quite know what they would do with him, but Gino thought he might be useful in the future, so he vouched for him. If the situation hadn’t been so grave, it would have been comical.

Yet in all this, the silence that Caro had felt since the snakebite was growing. It was little things at first, but then Gino began to get irritated at the strangest things. And once Caro found him with Rocket’s pistol, simply staring at it. He immediately dropped it and walked away, but Caro wasn’t convinced. Something was up.

What Gino was thinking, he didn’t say, but Caro had plenty of people to talk to. Simon and Tully had been from one of the seaward provinces and knew plenty about boats and piloting, something that Caro missed immensely. And Cory was a historian, strangely enough, and could tell him more of his past than even Gino could. They were closer in age to Caro, and began to take precedence. Gino noticed.

But even though they might have had good talks, the way was far from easy. Rora, though Caro had his doubts, took care of Opal, and made sure that she didn’t unexpectedly take a turn for the worse. And Dawes constantly chased them. To make it worse, they were leaving wilderness country and heading into the capitol area. This was good for their mission in one way, but that meant that they couldn’t hide in the woods anymore. They needed to find shelter in the city.

So Andrew, a former soldier who used to be a scout, was usually sent off with Davis to find abandoned buildings for them to stay in, or more precisely, one for them to hide the girls, and a boarding house to keep most of the men. In these things, Caro would hide somewhere with Gino, Rora with Opal, and the others would pretend to be going to a conference. They went to a lot of conferences.

Suddenly, Dawes was right on their tails. Caro and Gino were heading out when Caro felt a tap on his shoulder. It was Rocket, his black-and-white dyed hair nearly standing straight on end. “Dawes!” He whispered, and walked quickly off.Rocket's warning

Caro ducked back into the building and collared Gino. “Quiet! We need to go right now.” Gino went blank. “Opal!” He whispered, and without warning tore himself from Caro’s hand and ran off towards the back window. “What are you doing?” Caro hissed, then looked around. “Oh boy.”

Gino tore through the street, stayed still a moment to avoid a policeman, and then ran as fast as he could to the old firehouse that Opal was resting in. He climbed on top of the old wagon, slipped over the sidewall, and ran over to where Rora was making a small meal. “None of that! Hurry! Dawes is coming. He might be here now!”Gino and Rora

Rora instantly swept all of the food into her pack and slung it onto her back. Then she grabbed Opal’s bed and pulled it. Pussy mewed from the corner. Gino helped her get Opal down to the tiny door at the back of the building and then further on to the wagon that Davis had bought.

But just as they were preparing to set off, Rora froze. “The cat!” Gino’s eyes rolled back into his head. “The cat? She’s not here?” Rora shook her head.

Gino thought quickly. “Ok. Go on to the others. I’ll get Opal’s cat. Go on!” Rora nodded and began to go off. “Are you sure?” Gino stood there, staring at her for a moment. Then he rubbed his face with his sleeve and turned away. “Aye. Now go!” He turned and ran headback to the building. Rora clicked to the horses and they moved away.

Gino looked around. “Here, pussy pussy pussy!” He called softly, trying to see where she had gone. The brown and black spotted cat finally emerged from the shadows, with a mouse in her mouth. “Silly cat. Now get over here! I need you to come with me!” Pussy turned her tail and walked slowly away.

Gino dove for her and grabbed the tiny cat. “Come here, you turkey in cat’s clothing!” He put her in the basket and slung it over his shoulder. Pussy was not amused. “Don’t look at me that way. This is for your good. Now let’s go.”

“Who’s in here?” Gino froze. Behind him he heard the tramp of boots on the gravel Gino-croppedoutside. “I got them out just in time…” he realized, walking quickly out of the way, “but I think I’ve just trapped myself!”

The door was only a little way off, but it seemed like eternity. Gino finally reached it and turned the knob. But it opened unexpectedly outward, knocking him over. He scrambled to his feet, in time to see who had opened the door.

“Hello, old friend.”

Gino blinked and backed up a step. “D-Dawes!”

 

Because Equality, Right?

The nauseating signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Act -- a great example of the fallacious assumption that economic equality is a good thing and ought to be enforced by the government.

The nauseating signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Act — a great example of the fallacious assumption that economic equality is a good thing and ought to be enforced by the government.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Few fallacious catchphrases set my blood to boiling more fiercely than equal pay for equal work. A regrettable but unquestionably catching shibboleth of a misinformed women’s “rights” movement, it’s so appealing a maxim that millions of politicians and protestors have repeated it without understanding its meaning, much less its potential results.

What the phrase implies, of course, is that remuneration for labor shouldn’t be influenced by gender alone; the leftists who so often repeat these now rather meaningless four words, however, are willing to take the cause even further into the depths of state intervention. The movement has mostly been whipped up out of the misguided contention that government should break the economy of its purportedly discriminatory ways. Because equality, right?

President Obama and his gender pay gap howler monkeys fixate on apparent employer discrimination allegedly evidenced by wage differences, but the statistically flexible pay gap is demonstrative of a normal economic phenomenon: women have different life goals than men. They choose lower-risk occupations. A great deal of them prefer flexible schedules. And as a general rule, they’re more likely to state flexibility and enjoyableness as their goals rather than earning money. Basically, they make different choices. (While the occupation choices may be because of individual preference, most of it stems from the fact that women do have different roles in society, in the economy, and in the home from that of men.)

These choices translate into economic consequences; namely, slightly less pay.

Altering the economic consequences of these choices through government fiat merely because of gender is foolish, misguided, and characteristic of short-sighted statists.

Yet despite this unchangeable truth, solutions like the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Lily Ledbetter Act, and the Paycheck Fairness Act have all been offered up with great political fanfare.

There are many erroneous assumptions in the modern end-the-pay-gap movement, especially the notion that government can revise reality and alter the financial and economic outcomes of making different life choices, of different occupations, of different working hours, of different efficiency levels—the list could go on for a great while.

But the aspect of this gender-politics campaign that offends my economic conscience most isn’t a superficial annoyance like brazen party politics and activism-mongering for an issue that doesn’t exist.

It isn’t female legislators who assume that their gender allows them to transcend economic fact.

The chief irritation isn’t even totalitarian newscasters and deluded protestors who tawdrily demand a dramatic shift in the government’s stated purpose and our national economic structure.

What’s truly disturbing about the movement is that so many Americans assume that all varieties of equality and all means of obtaining it have the moral high ground: this is most certainly not the case, and the root of the equal pay for equal work nonsense economics leads back to a confusion between legal equality and government-enforced social equality,  two values that share a word but have nothing else in common.

 

Legal Equality

 

What sort of equality were these guys actually talking about?

What sort of equality were these guys actually talking about?

Legal equality is far from what most minorities and “underprivileged” or “unjustly treated” groups have been lead to believe about equality in general. Just as the Declaration of Independence states that all men are created equal, a government guided by the concept of legal equality will not make laws helping one group and hurting another.

 

 

Put simply, all laws apply to everybody under legal equality.

Income, skin color, or gender, for example, will not and cannot be the deciding factor in a court battle over your innocence or guilt.

Legal equality isn’t always popular.

Pundits’ and popular demands for a state solution to the “unjust” phenomenon of income inequality are similar to the cries of activists alleging that the so-called gender pay gap is a problem warranting government intervention. Yet state action in either of those areas abolishes legal equality: any attempted government solution (other than leaving it alone in the first place) will give some groups preferential treatment over others.

There’s a good reason why legal equality should be a guiding principle in government. Without a constant citizens’ vigil seeking to preserve equal rights under the law, politicians will vote themselves favors, the political majority will seek to create laws friendly to its own, and society will create a class of those who take and those who make. Those at the bottom will have no rights and no political power.

Legal equality is also crucial in an economic sense.

While involuntary servitude may seem like an extreme, unlikely occurrence even in developed interventionist economies that aren’t governed by the principle of legal equality, such a governmental system is well attuned (if not ideal) for the exploitation of the minority.

A majority of the population enslaving another group through sheer force, thereby creating an underclass or serfdom, is no different than the same majority determining that the minority’s assets were “unjustly” large and then legally dividing the politically powerless minority’s  hard-earned income and material goods more “equally.”

In either scenario, the minority is being forced to work for someone else without reaping the benefits—and that’s the definition of involuntary servitude.

Due to a very predictable aspect of human nature, involuntary servitude of all kinds is less efficient than the mutually beneficial exchanges characteristic of a capitalist economic system. Without legal equality, there are marked moral, political, and economic consequences.

As Mises noted, the maintenance of social peace is crucial to the peaceful development of the division of labor. “But it is well nigh impossible to preserve lasting peace in a society in which the rights and duties of the respective classes are different,” he said in Liberalism.

He continues in the same chapter:

“…the socialists say, it is not enough to make man equal before the law. In order to make them really equal, one must also allot them the same income. It is not enough to abolish privileges of birth and rank. One must finish the job and do away with the greatest and most important privilege of all, namely, that which is accorded by private property.”

And that’s where government-enforced social equality comes in.

 

Government-enforced social equality

 

As it turns out, this Great Equalizer -- Mao Zedong -- killed up to 78 million people for communism. And rather worryingly, he mentioned "equal pay for equal work."

As it turns out, this Great Equalizer — Mao Zedong — killed up to 78 million people for communism. And rather worryingly, he mentioned “equal pay for equal work.”

In short, this government-enforced social “equality” is the opposite of legal equality. It is the precursor to and abstruse goal of full socialism and government micromanagement. And it must be emphasized that social equality can never exist side by side with legal equality in any one given situation. Modern-day women’s “rights” movements strive for this statist bliss, but all the while maintain a façade that they’re still campaigning for equal legal rights.

The comprehensive immigration reform that leftists keep promising pretends to call for equal legal rights, when in reality it is for exemption from the law altogether for a specific group of politically connected people. Having laws apply to some but not others invalidates legal equality. Applying laws to some and not others is the only way to achieve this social “equality” of which totalitarians speak.

Social equality that totalitarians advocate is not about governing and judging humankind by the areas in which they are equal—their created state, unalienable rights, and human nature—but about governing and judging men according to the areas in which they are unequal. It is about central planners adopting a moral code; it is about measuring up all of society to their arbitrary code and then reacting accordingly with the full coercive force of government.

It’s about making all citizens equal in substance, in possessions, in material goods, and in income (but of course, some are more equal than others).

 

Social equality means abolition of legal equality

 

If you want government-enforced social equality (i.e., socialism and redistribution) talk to the Communists.

If you want government-enforced social equality (i.e., socialism and redistribution) talk to the Communists.

While social equality in and of itself is not an evil or unacceptable state, it’s definitely impossible; and particularly in light of the method in which it has traditionally been pursued—complete government control of the economy—it is an evil thing.

Full government control of the economy is the only way to redistribute wealth and regulate the capitalists, and redistributing and regulating is the only way that social equality can even begin to be achieved. And that’s where the big problems begin.

Any governmental system that allows for the redistribution of wealth will be corrupted, quickly and badly; and any governmental system that controls the economy requires very specific, non-general action to operate at all. The presence of “social equality” negates legal equality. Combine this with inevitable insatiable greed on the part of whoever’s running the show—be it a dictator, committee, or voters under a democratic system—and you’ve got a system bred for discord, instability, political unrest, economic collapse, poverty, a police state, political oppression, and varying degrees of involuntary servitude.

The only means by which the state can pursue social equality is, in fact, redistribution and laws that apply to one group but not another. Government will hurt some, help others, and run the whole economy on the basis of central planners’ ideal of social justice (whatever that may be). It’s an ambiguous, arbitrary, and unknown goal of “justice” and material equality.

As Hayek said:

“In fact, as planning becomes more and more extensive, it becomes regularly necessary to qualify legal provisions increasingly by reference to what is ‘fair’ or ‘reasonable’; this means that it becomes necessary to leave the decision of the concrete case more and more to the discretion of the judge or authority in question.”

In other words, when government seeks social equality, it can only do so through controlling the economy; controlling the economy necessitates planning; planning means that the Rule of Law is completely absent. 

Whereas individuals in a free market decide on their own what is “fair” or “reasonable,” in a socialist economy—which is the only type of economy compatible with seeking social equality—planners must decide, and decide arbitrarily, according to their individual concepts of fairness or reason, absolutely impossible to align with the public’s diverse moral and logical codes.

If the absence of legal equality means injustice (as I certainly contend) then adopting social equality as a goal, despite its advocates’ muddleheaded claims that it’s the only way to justice, is perhaps one of the most unjust economic goals a government can formulate.

Furthermore, to produce the precise same results for women as for men means it is necessary to treat them differently; this means the abolition of both legal equality and the Rule of Law in that area.

Anything the government does to equalize the economy or financially assist certain portions of the economy destroys legal equality and disregards that all men are created equal and should be governed the same.

 

 Social Equality’s manifestations

occupy wall street

These Occupy Wall Street protestors assumed that income inequality needed to be managed by government — and oddly enough, they invoked equality to support their cause.
Other logical errors and problems with their arguments aside, income redistribution always means the abolition of legal equality.

Protective tariffs and import restrictions, welfare, food stamps, socialized healthcare, the construction of government infrastructure, graduated tax brackets, all forms of subsidization and crony capitalism, public schools, amnesty, and social security are just a few examples of government action that by nature must treat different groups of people differently. Some are helped, some are hurt—because government has no funds on its own, anything that it pays for is paid for by a certain group of taxpayers whether they enjoy the benefits or not.

If legal equality is necessary and social equality negates it, government treating all humankind equally is just; government making all humankind equal in substance is definitely not.

If legal equality is something we must strive for, then big government is entirely out of the question. Economic interference on the part of the state can only lead to the destruction of legal equality, and therefore freedom, the free market, and financial stability.

 

All men are created equal, or all men need to be made equal?

 

The implicit socioeconomic goal in the statement all men are created equal couldn’t be more different then the agenda of “equal pay for equal work” advocates, who want preferential legal treatment from the state for a group that’s somehow better than the rest.

Legal equality is the backbone of capitalist economies and free, minimally governed societies.

Social equality is government coercion in the economic sphere (and thus necessarily individual life), excessive legal plunder to accommodate a technically permissible system of looting and subsequent redistribution, and complete disregard of the actual usefulness and efficiency of workers and occupations in relation to the remuneration they receive.

Social equality and legal equality ought never to be confused, considered compatible, or thought to be one and the same. They are opposites. They cannot exist side by side. While conservatives in the United States fight the alleged gender pay gap with statistics, they ought to hit at the heart of the matter: social equality is not true equality, and working towards this government-enforced equality rips apart the fabric that holds a capitalist economy and a free society together.

 

Not all types of equality are equal.

In conclusion, the biggest ideological flaw in many arguments for and against various categories of redistribution is definitely the failure to recognize that not all forms of equality are equal—and they shouldn’t be treated like they are.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Culture of Marsh-wiggles

Narnia is replete with abnormal creatures, both small and large. Although C. S. Lewis employed various creatures that are often found in mythology and fairy tales, he also created his own, the Marsh-wiggle being one of them. Marsh-wiggles are purely Narnian beings, and are a favorite amongst readers of The Chronicles of Narnia.

The Silver Chair is the only book in the series that really mentions Marsh-wiggles, though in earlier maps of Narnia a marsh is present. This excerpt is from The Silver Chair, after Jill Pole and Eustace Scrubb have made the decision –with the help of a parliament of owls– that they must go north in search of the lost prince of Narnia, and are taken to the guide that the owls have arranged. This would have been their first good look at a Marsh-wiggle, though they had briefly met him the night before.

 

As they drew nearer, the figure turned its head and showed them

a long thing face with rather sunken cheeks, a tightly shut mouth, 

a sharp nose, and no beard. He was wearing a high, pointed hat

like a steeple, with an enormously wide flat brim. The hair, if it

could be called hair, which hung over his large ears was greeny-

gray, and each lock was flat rather than round, so that they were

like tiny reeds. His expression was solemn, his complexion

muddy, and you could see at once that he took a serious view of

life.

“Good morning, Guests,” he said. “Though when I say good I

don’t mean it won’t probably turn to rain or it might be snow, or

fog, or thunder. You didn’t get any sleep, I dare say.”

Puddleglum the Marsh-wiggle

The next smidgen of text is from the paragraph further down, and describes more about the peculiar features of the Marsh-wiggle.

 

 “Puddleglum’s my name. But it doesn’t matter if you forget it. I

can always tell you again.”

The children sat down on each side of him. They now say that he

had very long legs and arms, so that though his body was not

much bigger that a dwarf’s, he would be taller than most men

when he stood up. The fingers of his hands were webbed like a

frog’s, and so were his bare feet which dangled in the muddy

water. He was dressed in earth-colored clothes that hung loose

about him.

 

Marsh-wiggles, on the whole, are tall and have long arms and legs, along with a pessimistic view on life. Though they speak gloomily, they aren’t being mean, it’s just their nature; they are actually cheerful pessimists (even though that’s an oxymoron, its true). Though Puddleglum seems to be the epitome of Marsh-wiggles, among his own friends he is considered an oddball because of his ‘uncommon cheerfulness’.

 

They all say—I mean, the other wiggles all say—that I’m too

flighty; don’t take life seriously enough. If they’ve said it once,

they’ve said it a thousand times. ‘Puddleglum,’

they’ve said, ‘you’re altogether too full of high spirits. You’ve got

to learn that life isn’t all fricasseed frogs and eel pie. You want

something to sober you down a bit. We’re only saying it for your

own good, Puddleglum.’ That’s what they say.”

 

It seems as if a wiggle’s diet mainly consists of eel, and that they have created many varieties of cooking them as well. It appears that they eat frogs too.

 

Puddleglum the Marsh-wiggle fishing for eels

“I’m trying to catch a few eels to make an eel stew for our dinner,”

said Puddleglum.

“Though I shouldn’t wonder if I didn’t get any. And you won’t

like them much if I do.”

“Why not?” asked Scrubb.

“Why, it’s not in reason that you should like our sort of victuals, though I’ve no doubt you’ll put a bold face on it.” 

 

Jill and Eustace enjoyed their dinner of eel stew, much to the surprise of Puddleglum; he says that their ‘just putting a bold face on it.’

This is what Puddleglum said, when Jill and Eustace had arrived at his wigwam:

 “There you are. Best we can do. You’ll lie cold and hard. Damp

too, I shouldn’t wonder. Won’t sleep a wink, most likely; even if

there isn’t a thunderstorm or a flood or a wigwam doesn’t fall

down on top of us all, as I’ve known them do”.

 

As was proved in the morning, the bed that Jill and Eustace slept on in the wigwam wasn’t cold, or hard, or damp. There wasn’t a thunderstorm, nor was there a flood, and the wigwam didn’t fall down on top of them either.

Marsh-wiggles are mesmerizing creatures, with many curious habits and personalities. They do a lot of the watery work in Narnia. They all live together in a marsh, though their dwellings are a comfortable distance away because they value their privacy very greatly. Their choice of a home is a wigwam, which seems a reasonable preference as they live in a marsh.

Puddleglum by his wigwam and pot of eel stew. As seen in the illustration, Puddleglum smokes a pipe. It is said of Marsh-wiggles that they smoke a heavy tobacco, perhaps even mixed with mud.

The name ‘Marsh-wiggle’ is indicative of the creatures in general. ‘Marsh’ is obvious because they live in a marsh. ‘Wiggle’ comes in because Marsh-wiggles have feet and hands that are webbed like a frog’s or perhaps a duck’s feet, thus seeming wiggly or floppy.

Further along in The Silver Chair, Puddleglum accepts a drink from the giants at Harfang; though he is skeptical, he does drink it, and in turn, behaves like a frog. As you might be able to see, Marsh-wiggles have about the most amusing character traits and speech habits that you can possibly find in the entity of Narnia.

At the end of The Silver Chair when Jill, Eustace and Puddleglum have completed their quest to find Prince Rilian, Puddleglum inquires about the news that he might have missed while he was away.

 

The whole crowd began to move away through the trees toward

the cave. Jill heard Puddleglum saying to those who pressed

round him.

“No, no, my story can wait. Nothing worth talking about has

happened to me. I want to hear the news. Don’t try breaking it to

me gently, for I’d rather have it all at once. Has the King been

shipwrecked? Any forest fires? No wars on the Calormen border?

Or a few dragons, I shouldn’t wonder?”

And all the creatures laughed aloud and said, “Isn’t that just like a Marsh-wiggle?”

 

Marsh-wiggles are a lugubrious sort, and as was said of Puddleglum at the end of The Silver Chair:

Puddleglum often pointed out that bright mornings brought on

wet afternoons, and that you couldn’t expect good times to last.

 

 

 

—————————————————————————–

Works Cited:

Lewis, C.S. The Complete Chronicles of Narnia. New York: Harper Collins, 1998. Print.

When it’s fun to chase Sam out of the room because you aren’t going to do anything until he leaves.

I have a little brother named Sam. He doesn’t like me calling him little, because he thinks that he will grow up to be a seven foot tall person. But I don’t care: he’s still younger and shorter than me so I can call him little.

Sometimes I play games on my computer. Sam has gotten it into his head that if he sits and stares at me enough, I’ll give in and let him play. So I started this post about words and it sort of got hi-jacked by my brother refusing to leave the room.

So because I’m not going to write anything useful while he’s here, I might as well mention how weird we can be. At least then I won’t feel so claustrophobic. He has a habit of breathing in my ear.

And now he’s whacking me on the arm because nothing is happening.

The upside to this is that I have a two year old brother who is also watching, and he has distracted Sam so that now they are having a fistfight. Now I realize that this is wrong, but I’m tired. We installed a microwave and had our pictures taken.  Meanwhile, my little sister Mel is carrying around my cat and pretending she’s a…I don’t know, a bean-bag.

Now Sam has fled the scene because it’s late. Now Joel, the “terrible two” is trying to help Mel torture the cat. Adam, my closest sibling, is watching football, and Mom and Dad are discussing what we are going to do for Grace’s birthday. As for the remaining siblings, Grace and Aaron are reading books. Not much going on.

I like my family. Even though I have an overbearing older brother and a scheming younger one, my sisters drive me nuts and my little brothers won’t stop making noise, I like them. I know I have my problems. Maybe it’s easier to see them in others than it is to see in myself. I have the tendency to think one of two things 1: that I’m perfect, or 2(more likely): I’m terrible. I have an addiction to computerized things.

And I am writing a column to help with that.

Not really. To be honest, I’m a sneaky theaving liar and exaggerator. I lie about my siblings. I make snap decisions without much evidence. And I tend to compare myself with others and get discouraged and encouraged routinely.

But with all that’s wrong with this family, we click. No, I’m not happy that Sam is breathing in my ear and fidgeting because I am writing instead of playing a video game. And no, I’m not proud that I wrote my own comic book instead of working on the one I started for my sister’s birthday. But all the same, I would miss them a lot if they ever went away.

Makes me think of Horatio Spafford, who wrote “It is well with my Soul”. In one year he lost all his children: one to a fever and four more when their boat was hit by another and they drowned. He didn’t have a perfect life. He had arguments and his daughters bickered. But then they all were gone, and there was nothing he could do. No time he could get back. But it was well with his soul.

He wasn’t perfect. At the end of his life he lost his mind and thought that he was the Lord Jesus Christ. But the words we write last forever, not just on the internet, but in the minds of our readers. No matter who they are, if they read this, I think they will get a taste of a very imperfect life.

It’s late. We’re tired. There’s going to be some yelling. We love each other. But there are still the little things: a sister screaming because someone is brushing her hair, a brother you accidentally step on late at night when you need a cough drop and he’s too scared to sleep alone…little things that can ‘rile’ you.

But family means pushing through those things. And sometimes that means enduring Sam’s closeness and elbowing because he wants to battle robots.

Sigh.

But I’d rather skip them. It’s hard not to want to, I guess. I’m still learning.

Now if you would excuse me, I have to leave. I need to go rescue the cat. The kids need to get to bed, and I need to fish my Sonic Characters from Joel before he makes them go off on a quest to save the galaxy. And Adam has the TV turned on so loud that I can hear all the drums. If we’re going to go to sleep, we need a little less noise!

No Sam, I’m not going to play robots. Go to bed.

I’m not allowed to bring a knife to a gun fight

Jim Bowie and his illegal knife. (Painting by Michael Schrek.)

Jim Bowie and his illegal knife. (Painting by Michael Schrek.)

Much to my chagrin, I recently discovered I can’t carry a broadsword into Whataburger.

 

Concealed carry of daggers in the local Wal-Mart is strictly forbidden; walking down the street with a Bowie knife, concealed or not, is entirely illicit.

 

Unlike with firearms—which I won’t be able to own until age eighteen or conceal until age twenty-one—Texas law prohibits citizens from legally carrying knives anywhere except in their own homes, in their own vehicles, or in vehicles “under their control.”

 

As it turns out, the state can’t trust citizens with sharp, pointy objects. Someone might get hurt. Yet oddly enough, the state allows, to an extent, ownership and concealed carry of handguns.

 

The liberality afforded gun owners ought to be expanded and liberalized a great deal more, but it does provide a decent framework for what knife and blade laws should more closely resemble. As it is now, citizens aren’t left with many options regarding knives and blades:

 

  •  Under current law, all blades over 5.5 inches long are illegal to conceal or open carry.
  •  All throwing knives and throwing stars are illegal to conceal or open carry.
  •  All “stabbing knives,” daggers, dirks, and stilettos are illegal to conceal or open carry.
  •  All swords and spears are illegal to conceal or open carry. (I’d actually like to see this done.)
  •  And perhaps most humiliating of all to Texans, Bowie knives are illegal to conceal or open carry. (Hang your head in shame, lawmakers.)

 

In 2013, HB 1862 loosened restrictions on switchblades. It was one miniscule step in the right direction.

 

Bringing a knife to a gun fight isn’t usually an overtly wise choice, but in Texas law-abiding citizens don’t have the freedom to make that choice—and for a time and again disproved reason: the assumption that weapon-restricting laws can reduce crime. But everywhere the law’s been attempted, the exact opposite has happened.

 

As the saying goes, the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun; criminals intent on killing innocent victims are already breaking the law, and the realization that they’re wandering into a gun free zone or violating a portion of the Texas Penal Code (no criminal would ever do that, obviously) certainly isn’t going to stop them.

 

Knife and blade laws aren’t going to do a thing to stop blade-related crimes; but what they do manage is to tie the hands of citizens and give them even more by-the-inch government regulations in their lives.

 

Texas should leave the blade restrictions to the People’s Republic of New York and the muddleheaded European continent.

 

If you want to bring a knife to a gunfight, that’s your business.

The ‘Mess’ in the Message

the mess in messageTough Being Christian: 

Matthew 10:22  ” You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.”

John 15:18-19  “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me firstIf you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”

Most non-Christians I meet me, “You have it easier than anyone else. You get money and pray. That’s it.”

It is tougher than most people can understand. When you are a follower of Christ you need to follow His footsteps and show His love, and that’s not as simple as it seems. In Luke 6:35 it reads, “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. ”

Love your enemies?  Wow,I think some of you guys just flinched at the sound of that.

We all need to pray for our enemies and to show them kindness without seeking reward. The enemies that persecute, execute, tease, and beat us must be forgiven? Yes. We must show the same infinite love that God gave to us and to show the same mercy as well.

And the Bible says that, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Not a single person can be reprimanded of the forgiveness of Jesus Christ because He didn’t die for just one, but for all.

That is why it is difficult to be Christian.

We must love and care for even the people with the worst hearts, those who spit in our faces, those who treat us like they treated Jesus on the cross. Christians have to do this all without seeking recompense. Without seeking a reward for all of your deeds, you must give all of what you have away.

If that is the case, how do we protect ourselves from evil and temptation?

What defenses do we have? Well, we have the Armor of God.

In Ephesians 6:13-17:  “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

With the belt of truth you speak of a message that is never a lie because it is indefeasibly correct.

With the breastplate of righteousness, you will be guarded from the evils the serpent has to throw at you. And with the Gospel of Peace fitted underneath your feet, wherever you travel the good news of Christ will follow too. With the Shield of Faith you will never be beat by sin, but you will overcome it. And with the Helmet of Salvation and the Sword of the Spirit, you will be a foe against seemingly unstoppable mischief. Because our God is for us, so who can stop us?

 

 The Rejected Cornerstone.

When Christ came to Earth He was rejected by many. Even the Bible said that the “Son of Man has no place to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20). Most Jews believed that Jesus of Nazareth was a hedonistic man with many wives; they didn’t even get the chance to see Him as He was.

We will always find people who will reject us as Christians because of our faith, and many will persecute us or kill us. In some countries it is encouraged. Our faith is by far the most powerful because it has the power to move mountains and save souls. When we find ourselves in trouble, we have a weapon beyond all weapons: Prayer. Prayer is a weapon, an answer for all ills, because all prayers go straight to God. And God never sleeps.

Before Jesus came to this earth, there came a prophecy that told of the key cornerstone and that without it, the building would fall. In Psalms 118:22 it says, “The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.” This world will not function without Him yet we rejected the Creator. Without Him we are nothing yet want to be without Him. Ironic, isn’t it? The rejected stone will be the keystone, and just like Him, so will we be rejected.

Kindness Wins The Heart.

  1 Peter 3:15  “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”

Teaching people and dictating about God are two different ways of going about spreading the gospel. If you are screaming and hollering about ‘You are going to Hell if you don’t repent!’ all you are doing is yelling at wandering strangers.

Expounding on the law, telling strangers about the grace of Christ, and reflecting a Christ-like attitude in daily life are better: helping someone out inevitably leads to a question: ‘Why are you helping me?’ You tell them that you work for the Lord. Which of these methods is more Biblical?

When preaching you always need to have love for you will never succeed in what you are doing if otherwise.

In 1 Corinthians 13:1 it says, “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” Each of us is an instrument of God, but if we use are talents without love, no one will hear our message. We all must do everything we do with love and kindness in our hearts so people know we care about them, and if we don’t have love, all is in vain.

 The ‘Mess’ In The Message

Matthew 11:28-30   “Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Put on my yoke, and learn from me. I’m gentle and humble. And you will find rest for yourselves. My yoke is easy to bear, and my burden is light.”

James 1:12 “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”

Each of us have a story about how we found God. Some are long and sad, others are short and funny. But all of our stories point out a time when we needed God in our lives.

God will always test our faith, whether it be a good test or a bad one. He will always make sure that we have something to overcome in our lives, but will make sure to carry most of the burden.

We will always have a mess to deal with, no matter if it’s school, death, family, money, or anything else that brings trouble and hardship. When you juggle these items you will soon be struggling with them–and they will all fall on you.

And when they fall on you, that’s when you realize you should have let God take the burden in the first place. It doesn’t matter about how many struggles you have, it is about what you do to make the moments in between them that count. It doesn’t matter the struggles that you’ve experienced but what you did to overcome them.

All of us had had moments where we have messed up in our lives, moments when we think we have failed God in so many ways that we just can’t live with it anymore.

Just remember what 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

This verse says that no matter what you do that God will always forgive you if you confess to Him. Isn’t that amazing? No matter how many times we mess up, God is always there to wipe your path clean so that you may continue to walk in Christ’ perfect footsteps. And with the imperfect mess in our lives we are able to show a Message to people that God can forgive even the worst of people, and that with every test that God gives to us there is a Testimony on how we overcame it and how God will still prevail through it all.

Keep this in mind, when you think of Christians around the world: all of us have Tests (testimonies) and Messes (Messages).

Democrats change position on minimum wage

Mark Udall (D-CO) got emotional when talking about his rejected application at Best Buy.

Mark Udall (D-CO) got emotional when talking about his rejected application at Best Buy.

WASHINGTON – The Democrat Party is considering changing its policy on the minimum wage in light of last week’s election results. Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) explained it as a “part of our long-term plan to adapt and overcome.”

“People see the federal minimum wage as roadblock in their path to better jobs. It prevents low-skill workers like senators and teenagers from getting their foot in the door and getting a chance to do better,” said Rep. George Miller (D-CA), who will retire in January.

“We must show that we’re flexible, that we can get over our losses,” continued Hagan, “And part of this will be to accept the will of the American people.”

Hagan and her fellow lame-duck democrat senators are concerned that once they retire from office, high minimum wages could be a problem and that even at current rates, they won’t be able to work at their choice of fast food joints.

As low-skill workers with entry-level experience in private sector jobs, the Senate’s banished democrats are now facing difficult decisions: more lucrative jobs—at Starbucks and Cracker Barrel, for instance—are more than likely not available.

Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) expressed earlier this week that he wants to work in higher-end retail, but nobody in the state is willing to pay minimum wage for him.

Sen. Hagan, in the closing remarks of an interview on Saturday, suggested that she may be in favor of complete abolishment of the federal minimum wage altogether and that she hopes there’s a 7/11 somewhere in North Carolina that will accept her application.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Door to the other World

   The Chronicles of Narnia is notable for its extraordinary comings and goings to and from Narnia and our own world. In all of the books excepting one, there is a doorway or portal which will take you to or from Narnia.

    The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe portrays a wardrobe as the magical doorway into Narnia; thus the wardrobe has become an icon for the entire series.

 “This must be a simply enormous wardrobe!” thought Lucy, going still further in and pushing the soft folds of the coats aside to make room for her. Then she noticed that there was something crunching under her feet. “I wonder is that more moth-balls?” she thought, stooping down to feel it with her hand. But instead of feeling the hard, smooth wood of the floor of the wardrobe, she felt something soft and powdery and extremely cold.

“This is very strange,” she said, and went on a step or two further. Next moment she found that what was rubbing against her face and hands was no longer soft fur but something hard and rough and even prickly.

“Why, it is just like branches of trees!” exclaimed Lucy. And then she saw that there was a light ahead of her—not a few inches away where the back of the wardrobe ought to have been, but a long way off. Something cold and soft was falling on her. A moment later she found that she was standing on the middle of a wood at night-time with snow under her feet and snowflakes falling through the air.

 

In the case of Prince Caspian at the ending of the story, there was a wooden doorframe that Aslan created for the purpose of sending the Telmarines and the Pevensies back to earth from whence they came.

 

  At one end of the glade Aslan had caused to be set up two stakes of wood, higher than a man’s head and about three feet apart. A third, and lighter, piece of wood was bound across them at the top, uniting them, so that the whole thing looked like a doorway from nowhere into nowhere. 

 

Later, in Prince Caspian when the Narnians and Telmarines have assembled at the doorway, one of the Telmarines accepts Aslan’s offer of a different world. This Telmarine walks through the doorway, never to be seen in Narnia again. All of the other Telmarines that were there went through the door by the end of the day.

 

There was a silence for a moment. Then a burly, decent-looking fellow among the Telmarine soldiers pushed forward and said:

 

“Well, I’ll take the offer.”

 

“It is well chosen,” said Aslan. “And because you have spoken first, strong magic is upon you. Your future in that world shall be good. Come forth.”

 

The man, now a little pale, came forward. Aslan and his court drew aside, leaving him free access to the empty doorway of the stakes.

 

“Go through it, my son,” said Aslan, bending towards him and touching the man’s nose with his own. As soon as the Lion’s breath came about him, a new look came into the man’s eyes – startled, but not unhappy – as if he trying to remember something. Then he squared his shoulders and walked through the Door.

 

Everyone’s eyes were fixed on him. They saw the three pieces of wood, and through them the trees and grass and sky of Narnia. They saw the man between the doorposts: then, in one second he had vanished utterly. 

 

Further on in the chapter, Lewis describes how it is for the Pevensies as they walked through the Doorway and they were magically transported back to the train station where the whole adventure started.

 

And then, wonderfully and terribly, it was farewell to Aslan himself, and Peter took his place with Susan’s hand on his shoulders and Edmund’s on hers and Lucy’s on his and the first of the Telmarines’ on Lucy’s, and so in a long line they moved forward to the Door. After that came a moment which is hard to describe, for the children seemed to be seeing three things at once. One was the mouth of a cave opening into the glaring green and blue of an island in the Pacific, where all of the Telmarines would find themselves the moment they were through the door. The second was a glade in Narnia, the faces of Dwarfs and Beasts, the deep eyes of Aslan, and the white patches on the Badger’s cheeks. But the third ( which rapidly swallowed up the other two) was the grey, gravelly surface of a platform in a country station, and a seat with luggage round it, where they were all sitting as if they had never moved from it – a little flat and dreary for a moment after all they had been through, but also, unexpectedly, nice in its own way, what with the familiar railway smell and the English sky and the summer term before them.

 

The Voyage of the ‘Dawn Treader’ begins with Edmund and Lucy talking about a painting of a ship which looks like it is from Narnia. Eustace, who is a little tease, is drawn into the painting along with the other two; this magic painting of the Dawn Treader serves as the portal into Narnia, drawing all three into it.

 

I’ll smash the rotten thing,” cried Eustace; and then several things happened at the same time. Eustace rushed toward the picture. Edmund, who knew something about magic, sprang after him and told him not to be a fool. Lucy grabbed at him from the other side and was dragged forward. And by this time either they had grown much smaller or the picture had grown bigger. Eustace jumped to try to pull it off the wall and found himself standing on the frame; in front of him was not glass but real sea, and wind and waves rushing up to the frame as they might to a rock. He lost his head and clutched at the other two who had jumped up beside him. There was second of struggling and shouting, and just as they thought they had got their balance a great blue roller surged up round them, swept them off their feet, and drew them down into the sea. Eustace’s despairing cry suddenly ended as the water got into his mouth. 

 

Further along in the story, after having sailed to the end of the world and into Aslan’s Country, the three of them meet Aslan himself. After a long conversation, Aslan opens a door in the sky, and sends Edmund, Lucy and Eustace back into England.

 

“Come, I am opening the door in the sky.” Then all in one moment there was a rending of the blue wall (like a curtain being torn) and a terrible white light from beyond the sky, and the feel of Aslan’s mane and a Lion’s kiss on their foreheads and then—the back bedroom in Aunt Alberta’s home in Cambridge. 

 

In The Silver Chair, Jill and Eustace are trying to escape the bullies at their wretched school. There is a gate that leads to moors by Jill and Eustace’s school and it’s almost always locked. Here, this gate is the doorway into Aslan’s country; from there, the two of them are blown into Narnia by Aslan. This entrance to by being blown is probably the most peculiar in the series.

 

 “It’s sure to be no good,” said Eustace with his hand on the handle; and then, “O-o-oh. By Gum!!”

 

For the handle turned and the door opened. A moment before, both of them had meant to get through that doorway in double quick time, if by any chance the door was not locked. But when the door actually opened, they both stood stock still. For what they saw was quite different from what they had expected. They had expected to see the grey, heathery slope of the moor going up and up to join the dull autumn sky. Instead, a blaze of sunshine met them. It poured through the doorway as the light of a June day pours into a garage when you open the door. It made the drops of water on the grass glitter like beads and showed up the dirtiness of Jill’s tear-stained face. And the sunlight was coming from what certainly did look like a different world—what they could see of it. They saw smooth turf, smoother and brighter that Jill had ever seen before, and the blue sky, and, darting to and fro, things so bright that they might have been jewels of huge butterflies. Although she had been longing for something like this, Jill felt frightened. She looked at Scrubb’s face and saw that he was frightened too.

 

“Come on, Pole,” he said in a breathless voice.

 

“Can we get back? Is it safe?”

 

At that moment a voice shouted from behind, a mean, spiteful little voice. “Now then, Pole,” it squeaked. “Everyone knows you’re there. Down you come.” It was the voice of Edith Jackle, not one of Them herself but one of their hangers-on and tale-bearers.

 

“Quick!” said Scrubb. “Here. Hold hands. We mustn’t get separated.” And before she quite knew what was happening, he had grabbed her hand and pulled her through the door, out of the school grounds, out of England, out of our whole world into That Place.

 

After Jill and Eustace complete their task in Narnia, they come back to Aslan’s Country. By now, King Caspian is in Aslan’s Country, and he joins them in a playful combat against the bullies at Experiment House, Caspian and Eustace with the flats of their swords, and Jill with a switch that Aslan has turned into a riding crop. Aslan comes with them and roars a great big roar which knocks down the wall thru which they came to Narnia in the first place. When that is finished Aslan repairs the wall and goes back to his own country.

 

The most significant portal in the series is the door to the stable. In The Last Battle, a wicked ape named Shift has created a false Aslan and placed it in a stable; from there, he sends messages to the Tisroc of Calormen and has him send an army of Calormenes to Narnia. Though Shift has created a beautifully clever plot which has both the Narnians and Calormenes in submission by creating ‘Tashlan’, –a mash-up name of Tash and Aslan– he never thought that the real Tash would turn up. Tash enters the stable and doesn’t leave for a good long while.

 

“I feel in my bones,” said Poggin, “that we shall all, one by one, pass through that dark door before morning. I can think of a hundred deaths I would rather have died.

 

“It is indeed a grim door,” said Tirian. “It is more like a mouth.”

 

“Oh, can’t we do anything to stop it?” said Jill in a shaken voice.

 

“Nay, fair friend,” said Jewel, nosing her gently. “It may be for us the door to Aslan’s county and we shall sup at his table tonight.”

 

 

tlb-doorwayAfter a hard battle with the Calormenes, all three pass through the stable, and enter Aslan’s Country. Digory, Polly, Peter, Edmund and Lucy are already there, having died in the same train wreck which sent Jill and Eustace into Narnia at the beginning of the story.

 

 

“And what has been happening since you got here?” asked Eustace.

 

 “Well,” sad Peter, “for a long (at least I suppose it was a long time) nothing happened. Then the door opened— “

 

 “The door?” said Tirian.

 

 “Yes,” said Peter, “The door you came in—or came out—by. Have you forgotten?”

 

 “But where is it?”

 

 “Look,” said Peter and pointed.

 

 Tirian looked and saw the queerest and most ridiculous thing you can imagine. Only a few yards away, clear to be seen in the sunlight, there stood up a rough wooden door and, round it, the framework of the doorway: nothing else, no walls, no roof. He walked toward it, bewildered, and the others followed, watching to see what he would do. He walked round to the other side of the door. But it looked just the same from the other side:  he was still in the open air, no a summer morning. The door was simply standing up by itself as if it had grown there like a tree.

 

In the entire Chronicles of Narnia there are Biblical parallels, some are downright obvious, some are hidden carefully, and some are just faint likenesses to the Bible. This conversation between Aslan and Jill from The Silver Chair has its own similarities to what was said in the book of Revelations.

 “I was wondering—I mean—could there be some mistake? Because nobody called me and Scrubb, you know. It was we who asked to come here. Scrubb said we were to call to – to Somebody—It was a name I wouldn’t know—and perhaps the Somebody would let us in. And we did, and then we found the door open.”

 

“You would not have been calling to me unless I had been calling to you.”

Here, Aslan is basically saying that he is  calling to you, but what happens will depend on what you do, be it to answer or ignore him. This is pretty much what the verse below is says.

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him– Revelations 3; 20

There are other similarities to this verse in other parts of the series, such as when the four Pevensies are trying to escape from Mrs. Macready’s tour of sight seers. They all decide to just go in the wardrobe to escape, rather than be chased all over the house trying to evade “the Macready” as they call her. What the Pevensies think is just an annoying coincidence is actually magic, trying to herd them into Narnia so they can deliver it from the White Witch as was prophesied.

Not all entrances to Narnia are by doors or doorways, there are also the magic rings from The Magician’s Nephew. Aslan is always a way back into this world.  Aslan says that there are ‘chinks and chasms’ between the worlds, but they have grown rarer. At that time, he was referring to a cave on an island, which was one of the last doorways into Narnia, but not the last. When he said this he most likely was hinting at the wardrobe, and the painting that Edmund, Lucy and Eustace went through, not to mention the gateway at Eustace and Jill’s school. As Professor Kirke’s advice to the Pevensies at the end of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, referring to trying to get back to Narnia is extremely useful:

 

“Indeed, don’t try to get there at all. It’ll happen when you not looking for it.”

 

So watch for things that look as if they may transport you to a different world and remember what the Professor said; his advice may come in handy if you can remember it in time before you begin searching for the nearest wardrobe in the area.

 

 

———————————————————————————————————-

Works Cited:

Lewis, C.S. The Complete Chronicles of Narnia. New York: Harper Collins, 1998. Print.

 

 

Chosen Ones: Rora

With no other real option, the three boys packed up their meager camp and set off. With the axes they cut some strong saplings and tied them together with ropes to make a kind of litter for Opal. After all, no one wanted to carry her. That would be rather awkward.

After some argument, they decided to chance taking Opal to a doctor. Caro disguised himself and took her, but the doctor became suspicious and they had to flee. The unwanted side-affect to this was that not only did Caro have to carry her out very quickly, but also that Dawes found out where they were and began to pursue them. The first problem wasn’t that bad, because Caro was strong for his age. But the second was a big problem, and Davis and Gino had great difficulty keeping Dawes off their tails. And Opal was watchingfading.

Davis took an accurate look at the situation and realized that they would need help. With the chase taking all their attention, Opal needed someone to look after her: another girl. So he decided to go find one. Caro laughed. “‘Twill be trouble just to find someone we can trust, Davis! I don’t think that this will work at all.”

Davis shook his head. “I’m no nurse, Caro. You aren’t either, and Gino’s got enough on his mind. If someone is to look after Opal, it has to be a girl! Think about it, Caro. It wouldn’t be right for one of us. Yes, it’s difficult, and it shouldn’t work…” “The last one didn’t.” Caro commented.

Davis sighed. “No, it didn’t. That wasn’t my best idea. Still, I think that this is necessary if we’re going to keep going! Dawes is hot on our trails, and we’re going to need help.” He turned on his heel and walked off towards the nearest village.

Caro shook his head. “They’re going to think he’s a lunatic. What’s he going to do…go up to a girl and ask her if she wants to come with him? They’ll think he’s looking for a wife!” He laughed.

But when the soldier returned, he did inderoraed have a young woman with him. She looked to be about peasant class, but with keen eyes that flashed in the sun and took in everything. “Caro, this is Rora. She’s going to help us.” Davis said triumphantly, as the girl bowed. “Yes, sir. I am Rora, and I am willing to help you, even if it is to the hills of Carcorus.”

Caro looked skeptical. He was about to say something, when he felt very strange. Almost as if he understood why Rora had come willingly. Was she Chosen as well? Or was it simply a fantasy? Gino would know. But Gino had gone off again, and Promise had gone with him. They went off often, to see where Dawes was and where they should go next. As Davis had to admit, he did know the land, even if he knew nothing about war.

Or did he? Caro wasn’t sure.

Rora went up to Opal and  bent down over her sleeping form. She placed a thin, tanned hand up to her forehead. Opal smiled in her sleep. Davis looked relieved. Caro wasn’t sure what to think. “How do you know this is safe, Davis? Gino won’t be happy about this.” Davis laughed. “Don’t worry, Caro. I think Gino will understand.”

Gino came back late that night and didn’t look like he wanted to talk. His dark eyes were narrowed and calculating. “Did you find them?” Caro asked, seeing him come down. Promise growled. “We did.” Gino said, sullenly. “And they’re still coming. We’ll need to scatter again.”

He stopped suddenly. “Oh.” Davis hastened to explain. “This is Rora. She’ll help care for Opal.” Gino didn’t say anything, but stood there as if he had been frozen into place. Rora rose and brushed a wisp of dark hair from her face. “Who are you?” She asked.

Gino found his voice. “I’m sorry…I was startled. I am Gino…where did you corora and Ginome from?” “The village.” Rora answered. “I felt called to come with this soldier. And I’m afraid you don’t have much tact for a gentleman.”

Gino looked worried, but only for a moment, and not about her words. “This will be a hard journey.” He challenged.

“I can do it.” Rora said quietly. “I’ve taken many in my time.”

“But they will hunt us!”

“Aren’t we on the side of justice?”

Gino laughed. “Sometimes I wonder. But I am convinced: you will come with us.”

 

A kid by any other name

Not long ago I was volunteering with the THSC Homeschool conference. I had about twelve kids to take care of with my teacher/helper/mental compass Avrie. In case you don’t know how to say that, it’s Avery, just spelled differently. Sometimes I would teach, sometimes she would. I don’t think either of us was ever officially in charge.

We had a pretty good agreement: we would split the lessons and projects between us. I’d like to think that mine were sillier. In the agreement, she was the ‘teacher’ type and I was more of the goofy one that had a pair of crazy siblings trying to knock me over because of a small stuffed dog, and had brought more bandanas to that place than you would see in a homeschooled pirate play.

We had a pretty good class too: two girls named Sophie, one named Barret, (who thought he was too old to be in the Kids program) Jacob, Luke, Mariah, Grace, Faith, etc. Ours was one of about six teams in a large room that I believe was some sort of Sunday School room for a mega-church. It had a large disco ball on the ceiling, and we figured out very quickly that there were some switches that should be kept away from children.

But as time was wearing down on the last day, the teachers made a non-verbal, mutual agreement that it was time to let go. The kids were bored/excited about what had happened throughout the day and wanted to run around. So the room erupted into spasms of red-light-green-light, and all team divisions were tossed to the wind until the parents picked the kids up.

While most of the kids were playing red-light-green-light, some of the kids began to branch off and play superheroes. I’m guessing that it had to do with Avengers because I think one of them was Batman and another was Black Widow. No, I’m not exactly an expert on superheroes. But that was when I first noticed Faith.

No, wait, let me rephrase that. That was when I had first noticed something about Faith. The evens and odds in the convention had different time-clocks. Her team was on the same time as mine. I had noticed her before, but since she wasn’t in my team, I wasn’t paying much attention. But when she began to run around, I noticed something very interesting.

Faith had blonde-blonde hair, almost white, and before her mom had taken her to the children’s program, she had given her a French braid down her back. She had pretty long hair, white hair, braided, and she had been running around, making her hair stringy and frizzy and sticking up in the front.

She looked like Frozen’s Queen Elsa.

elsa and faith

I couldn’t help but sketch her, since Avrie had her eyes on the kids, and all the other teachers were talking amongst themselves. I drew her and her main antagonist: a dark-haired boy that kept trying to drag her off into jail. After a while, I saw that Mister bad-guy was being a little too rough…my goodness, he had the whole team on his side! It seemed as if Red-light-green-light had been forsaken for a game of “Everyone chase Faith!”

I couldn’t help it. I didn’t know her name yet (I later read it on her nametag) so I didn’t know any other way to get her attention. “Elsa! Over here! You’ll be safe here!”

Oops.

I really shouldn’t have called her Elsa. Frozen was still big when this happened, and as soon as I said Elsa, everyone who saw her suddenly realized “Oh my goodness! She looks just like Elsa!” and began to shout “Let’s capture the Ice Queen!” Faith, for her part, was very brave and quick-thinking, and stopped running to adopt her new part. “Come any closer,” she dared “and I’ll attack you with my ice powers!”

So with one idle name, I completely changed the game.

I didn’t mean to make it a Frozen Bash, or to make Faith target #1. I was trying to help. But I said the wrong thing.

It’s interesting how a name can change so much. We’ve all had experience with a name that has stayed with us and made us feel either less than who we are or feel special. We can remember times when we were made to feel foolish, or when we felt loved. I remember one time where I was at a church event and an older boy was watching me write. Writing was a big deal for me and I felt important about it because I was only about five. But he was much older than five, and criticized me about not dotting my j.

I don’t know why I can’t forget that. It’s a simple J! All he said was “You can’t just leave it there. If it’s lowercase, dot it, if it’s capital, you put a line on the top.” But somehow, it made me feel silly: a little kid pretending to know how to write.

Maybe you have a name that you can’t forget, that’s been nagging you from when you were little. Someone who made you feel worthless. A friend who turned on you. But there’s something more to it than that. Why is it that the very thing that makes you hurt the most is the thing that you use against others? I can tell you. Because it makes us feel better.

We need to be careful with what we say. We need to work on being loving. But it’s not just us. There will always be those who live to put others down. We can’t heal those things by ourselves, but we have a God who can heal scars.

Bottom line? Careless words are like knives. “Like a madman throwing firebrands, arrows and death, is a man who deceives his neighbor and says ‘I am only joking!'” Proverbs tells us. But even though our words can hurt others, like my name accidentally made Faith the object of a reenactment of the scariest part of a kids movie, we do have an upside to them.

We can make our words give life to others. We can reflect the love of God through our words, and that means weighing our speech carefully. And even when we fail, God is merciful.