Category Archives: Reviews

to the north

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to the north

The breeze was whipping past my face as I sped near the edge of a cliff, traveling parallel but closer and closer all the time.  I was standing on the back of a truck, holding on tightly, staring out to the scenery flashing by.  Finally I was right at the edge, because this is what I came for, the glimpse over the edge…I looked down and there was no guardrail at all, just the edge of the road, a strip of dirt, and then nothingness until far down I could see a thick cushion of treetops, dappled by sunlight.  There was the white facade of a church peeping out of the trees, along with glimpses of a few other building from the town.  Lifting my eyes up, I could see the greenness turn deep blue as my vision extended to the far hills and mountains.  Then I decided I’d rather see this from behind some sort of guardrail, so I looked for even a small one that I could stand behind.  There was a small one, of sorts, but we were traveling so quickly past it.  (and that’s how you can tell it’s Central America,  few guardrails!)

Now I noticed a beautiful sound, a song that I recognized, playing past the rush of the wind.  I started humming along with it, as I looked down at the treetops and breathed in the clean fresh mountain air.  The cliffs and mountains were on my right, but  now we were turning left and I could see some ruined buildings.  I knew it was a part of Antigua.  There were all sorts of old ruined cathedrals and bits of old walls and columns.  I wanted to look at them all, but we were approaching so quickly that my eyes fixed on one that was painted bright pink, and I gazed as we drove past at golden lions intertwined among the black wooden railing on the window boxes.  I dearly wanted to see the other ruins and was determined to come back with my camera….

And then Henry said, “Good-bye, I’ll give you a call later”….and the music in my dream tapered off and the ruins and mountains melted into the daylight behind the curtains in our room as he kissed me goodbye.

Yes, that was what I was dreaming about 2 hours ago.  If you know me, you know that I have very vivid dreams, and remember a lot of them (too many, my Mom would say!)  I can hear and taste and smell in my dreams!  I dream in both English and Spanish.  And yes, Guatemala is my favorite place to dream about….it’s probably where 90% of my dreams take place, go figure.

A few minutes later, I “happened” to pick up a book I’ve been reading, and read this quote:

“Oh hurrah!” said Shasta.  “Then we’ll go north. I’ve been longing to go to the north all my life.” –THE HORSE AND HIS BOY, CHAPTER I, “HOW SHASTA SET OUT ON HIS TRAVELS”

And then after some more quotes from that book, where the boy Shasta is setting off on an adventure to the North with Bree the talking horse, this book continues on:

For while Shasta, like Reepicheep, was motivated by desire, his was a desire of a very different kind.  In part, it was nothing more than a vague sense of not belonging, of being a stranger in the only place he’d ever been able to call home.  But it went far beyond this.  For reasons he didn’t comprehend and couldn’t have explained, Shasta was consumed with a deep, almost inarticulate desire to go north.

“So is there in us a world of love to somewhat,” wrote C.S. Lewis in Surprised by Joy (quoting seventeenth-century English poet Thomas Traherne), “thought we know not what in the world it should be.”  This is Shasta’s story in a nutshell.  He was a victim of what the Germans call Sehnsucht: an ardent yearning after a nameless, indefinable object.  Lewis referred to it as a “lifelong nostalgia—-”  “our longing to be reunited with something in the universe from which we now feel cut off, to be on the inside of some door which we have always seen from the outside.”

This for sure stuck a chord in me.  I know that I do long for Guatemala, but really, I know it’s deeper even than that.  Farther on in this chapter the authors add:

Have you ever felt that bittersweet pang, that stab of joy, that soul-piercing arrow of heartbreaking loveliness and longing that, for Lewis and Shasta, was “shot from the North”?  It comes to each of us in a different way.  We encounter it in the light of a red gold sunset, the melancholy of a misty seascape, the cold gleam of stars among bare branches on a winter’s night; in “the smell of a bonfire, the sound of wild ducks flying overhead, the title The Well at the World’s End, the opening lines of Kubla Khan, the morning cobwebs in late summer, or the noise of falling waves.”

Wherever we meet it, it confronts us with inescapable evidence that we, like Jack and Shasta and the Old Testament patriarchs, are “strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (Hebrews 11:13), exiles in a foreign land, hoping to discover a way back home.

Put yourself in Shasta’s place.  You’re sitting on the seashore, absently mending the nets, gazing off longingly toward the north.  Do you sense the undertow of nagging restlessness?  Can you relate to the undefined feelings of homesickness, the ache of unspoken discontent?  If you can, you may begin to have some idea of what the Bible means when it says that God “has put eternity in [our] hearts”  (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

The implications are well worth pondering.

REFLECTION:  We were meant for bigger and better things.

And so ends the chapter called “NARNIA AND THE NORTH” in the book Finding God in the Land of Narnia by Kurt Bruner and Jim Ware, published by SALTRIVER, an imprint of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. 2005.  I have really been enjoying reading this book and what I read this morning really complimented what I experienced in my dream today.  I recommend it for every Narnia fan!!  It’s something to think about today….

I wanted to include some photos of Guatemala that remind me a bit of my dream, so I found these on my friend Sam Ovalle’s facebook page and grabbed some of the ones of his climb of the Pacaya Volcano in 2000.  (Thanks for permission Chrissy!! 🙂scene from pacaya volcano photographed by Sam Ovallescene from pacaya volcano photographed by Sam Ovalle pacaya volcano photographed by Sam Ovalle scene from pacaya volcano photographed by Sam Ovalle  volcano photographed by Sam Ovalle scene from pacaya volcano photographed by Sam Ovallevolcanos of Guatemala photographed by Sam Ovalle

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The Return of Mr. Men

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A long long time ago, when I was a little girl, way back in the 80’s, my brother had a shirt with Mr. Busy on it.  That’s what I remember, my cute little brother with his cute little Mr. Busy shirt.  So we’ve know about the Mr. Men for a long time.  We used to read the books.

They weren’t just popular in the 80’s, apparently they were a 70’s phenomena (I just added that part).  Mr. Men was a series of 49 children’s books by Roger Hargreaves commencing in 1971.  The series features characters with names such as Mr. Tickle and Mr. Happy who have personalities and physical attributes based on their names. From 1981, an accompanying series of 42 Little Miss books by the same author, but with female characters, were published.  And eventually there were many cartoons and tv shows and online games made out of these characters.  Now you know.  And if you want to know even more, look here.

Anyways, the point of all of this was to say that of course I was pleased to see that Mr. Men and Little Misses are still popular today.  It’s all a big marketing thing, I know, to get all us parents to buy stuff for our kids that we remember from when we were kids…but hey…it works.  And I’m happy to buy Mr. Men books for my kids!  If I could only find a Mr. Busy shirt in size large for my brother now……

just a bit more trivia I found on wikipedia:

Mr. Busy

Mr. Busy
Author(s) Roger Hargreaves
Illustrator Roger Hargreaves
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Series Mr. Men
Genre(s) Children’s literature
Publication date 18 March 1978
Preceded by Mr. Clever
Followed by Mr. Slow

Mr. Busy is the thirty-eighth book in the Mr. Men series. Mr. Busy cannot stop rushing around, and never sits still. Mr. Busy completes everything ten times faster than anyone else could.

Mr. Busy appears under the titles Monsieur Rapide (French), Don Ocupado (Spanish), Meneertje Druk (Dutch), 빨라씨 (Korean), 勤勞先生 (Taiwan), Ο Κύριος Πολυάσχολος (Greek), Unser Herr Schnell (German), Bay Hýzlý (Turkish).  Interesting, but I don’t think Mr. Busy appears in the cartoons that we’ve been watching!!

Another cool 80’s thing: scratch and sniff!! 🙂You can watch the cartoons on youtube, and some still are airing on TV.I love the crazy groovy music on Mr. Men and the retro style graphics!Mr. Rude makes me laugh!!  Especially the one with Mr. Rude and Mr. Stubborn working together on fixing the plumbing! funny! We also like Mr. Small and Mr. Persnickety and Little Miss Chatterbox and Little Miss Calamity.You can find several different websites where you can watch videos or play games.  Just click around until you find a site you like, I mean, one that your kids can play games on.  Here’s a shot of a Mr. Men game on miniclips, though I know there’s a better site for younger kids to play games on, just don’t have the link for you.

Ahh, nostalgia!  gotta love it.  Kids nowadays don’t seem to mind what era their shows, cartoons, games and graphics come from, they accept them all!  I recommend the Mr. Men and Little Misses cartoon shows, they are cute funky and funny and usually have good lessons to be learned!!