The Chronicles of Narnia, Book 5, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

As a kid this was the Narnia book for me. None of the other books came close to the adventure in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. After having reread it as an adult, my opinion is the same: This is the best of the lot.

So, what makes it so special? Nothing spells adventure like a ship, plus its a ship with a quest, carrying quite a few characters we’ve already met in the series and an important new one. The quest is twofold, Prince Caspian wishes to track down 7 Narnian lords that were banished long ago and never returned, and he wants to reach the end of the world, which is Aslan’s country, or heaven, if one is keeping close to the Christian allegory.

Lucy and Edmund Pevensie are stuck visiting their horrible, annoying cousin Eustace Scrubb. Things go wrong from the start as they start arguing about a painting and end up smack dab in the middle of the sea in Narnia. Fortunately, The Dawn Treader is close at hand and soon all three are brought up on deck to be greeted by Prince Caspian, his men, and the mouse Reepicheep. This entrance to Narnia isn’t quite as iconic as the wardrobe, but it’s close.

Everyone is happy to see each other and be in Narnia except for Eustace, but then, he’s never been there before. And then, the ship is off on the quest to find the lords. Each island they pass too, it just gets better and better and I like this end of the world stuff and the whole poking at the flat earth idea. So many of the characters get challenged: Lucy, Caspian, and Reepicheep particularly. Eustace has the most dynamic change, and we quietly acknowledge along with himself that he does belong in Narnia and that he may be back. I also like all the unexpected turns in the plot–so often there appears to be danger, but then they find things aren’t as they seem and sometimes the more dangerous things are closer to the heart, like Lucy and Caspian longing for things they cannot have.

Basically, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader has it all: sword fighting, sailing, a quest, a dragon, gold, princesses, water people, unending feast, a wizard, storms, a sea monster, and a teensy bit of romance thrown in. It’s a great read and if I kept any of the Narnia books on my shelf it would be this one. For me, the other ones just still don’t compare.

Tolkien Month and Updates

As I’m winding down with The Chronicles of Narnia (Review of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader up next), I’m ramping up to reread J.R.R Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. As this December is 20 years since the Peter Jackson movies came out, starting with The Fellowship of the Ring, I plan to watch those, too. As a supplement to both, I am subscribing to Unauthorized TV to watch the The Forge of Tolkien online lecture series by Professor Rachel Fulton Brown, Professor of History at Chicago University. I’ve already begun watching and it’s a great lecture series. She has so, so much knowledge on this subject.

Something about Middle Earth always says “Christmas” to me, and maybe it’s just that so many symbols and themes in LOTR compliment the themes in Christianity, even though the story isn’t an allegory per se like The Chronicles of Narnia are.

The real focus of December, however, is celebrating the birth of Jesus, and for that I love reading the book of Isaiah, which flips back and forth between the horror of judgement, and the relief of salvation. Also planning to start a personal Bible study on Romans and I have a couple of different commentaries to use for that. Other things I will read: More Agatha Christie, more Regency romances, and a few other books I’ve had hanging around.

Writing for is going well, but I have too many ideas for so many different stories, it’s a challenge some days to just pick one to work on. The plan is to publish Trolls for Dust, Season Three in 2022, as well as a short novel, but an action plan is definitely needed to get this done. Fortunately, this year has been a great time of change in my life and finding and working on things that bring me joy has been a great part of that. Thus, I am spending more thinking time and actual time in writing and planning current stories and upcoming ones.

This week, along with a review of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, I will also have one of Elantris by Brandon Sanderson. Sanderson is also a one for religious themes, and so far I am enjoying both his writing and world building. It’s easy to see why he was picked to finish The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan (which is now an Amazon TV show).

As far as Korean Dramas, I’ll be done with Bossam soon, and will have a review on that, and I have a list of thrillers and romcoms to try. The recent best shows I have watched have all been thrillers: Mouse, Awaken, Forest. Okay, Forest wasn’t exactly a thriller, but it had thrilling elements and a great kiss scene. Looking forward particularly to: Jirisan, The Veil, Taxi Driver, Doctor Prisoner, and The Royal Gambler. None of the romcoms I’ve put in my watch queue really stand out, and it may be I won’t finish many of them.

Happy upcoming December!

Full of Thanks in Christ

Dear Readers,

Happy Thanksgiving! Though these days sometimes it might not seem like it, we have so much to be thankful for. We have a new day to live today. Time yet to spend with those we love or to remember those who have passed on. We still have breath in us and minds that can be focused on the good, the blessings, the hope, the faith, and the love of Christ Jesus our Savior and Lord.

Today I am missing my dear Dad who passed away suddenly last January. I miss all of the horrible puns and Dad jokes he would have told today, but am amused thinking he’s probably trying to tell them to St. Paul or someone in heaven. I am thinking of and sad for all of those who are grieving today, all those who are worried and sick, and especially all of those who have turned away from God for one reason or another. My heart goes out to them, and I pray that they may turn to God and to Christ to be comforted and that they may be full again, brimming with joy in knowing their salvation from all the horribleness in this life has been won for them, even if they don’t get to experience the benefits of that just yet.

Today is a good time to contemplate: How exactly did Jesus win our salvation? Well, he died on the cross, as only a payment in lifeblood could satisfy the breaking of God’s perfect law. The key, however, is that not just any person or animal or living thing could satisfy that. In order to save everyone, the being dying had to be perfect and holy, and in His great love for us, God sent Jesus, His Son. Jesus is both man and God. He put aside his heavenly glory to live for 33 years on this earth, and He lived those years perfectly, in perfect submission to every point of God’s law. Jesus then died on the cross, suffering the abandonment of God, which is hell, in payment of everyone’s sins throughout time. And then He died.

But it didn’t end there, no. If Jesus was just a sinful man, he would have stayed in His grave and all hope would have been lost. Because He was holy and perfect, however, Jesus raised himself up from the dead, returning a conqueror of death, the devil, and hell! If Jesus wasn’t who he claimed to be, he would have stayed dead. But He is alive today and reigning in full glory in heaven and soon He will come back to take all believers to be with Him. How powerful was Jesus’ sacrifice? Well, he didn’t have to sacrifice himself again and again, just once, one moment in time. His death was so powerful, it tore the heavy, thick curtain in the Jewish temple in two. His death was so powerful, it caused an earthquake. His death was so powerful that it raised people from the dead on that day. It’s amazing to think about. And then He rose and greeted his disciples, who were astonished.

Jesus rose from the dead! Just think about that. I could suffer and die for myself or for another, but really it wouldn’t mean anything, because in no way have I lived a perfect life, and in no way could I raise myself from the dead. I would stay dead and without Jesus’ sacrifice, I would be in hell, suffering properly for my sins. It’s a terrifying and sobering thought. But the truth is that Jesus did come to save us: He lived a perfect live in place of us and died in place of us, too. He took on all of our sins and suffered for them, giving us his righteousness through faith. And He sealed the deal by rising from the dead. Some day, we, too will all rise in our earthly bodies to be with Him and we’ll get new, awesome heavenly bodies. It is a great mystery, the great mystery of life, that human reason just can’t comprehend. What amazing love God has for us!

When I think of salvation and heaven, it seems impossible to wait to get there, but for those of us still living on this earth, God has plans, has work for us to do. On holidays like Thanksgiving it is our work and privilege to love and to witness to our families and close friends. What an awesome responsibility! On days like today we can spend time with those we love, listen to their woes and to their triumphs, and comfort their spirits by reminding them of their salvation in Christ. Especially on days like today, we believers, can let that cup of joy in us overflow to all around us. While we are feasting here on earth, we can also look forward to the great feast will have someday in heaven.

Thankfulness, gratitude, these words barely start to describe our joy. And it is a joy that can carry us through any hardship, through any tough time, through any danger and sorrow. It is a joy that cannot be imprisoned, chained, or taxed…or even quarantined! It is a joy that in faith is ours no matter the circumstances. It is joy in Jesus sacrifice and the seal of the Resurrection. Against all human knowledge and reason, Jesus Christ did not stay dead–He rose from the grave! Today I am full of thanks for that event and I pray you may be, too, and find comfort and hope in it. Our sins are all forgiven and we have heaven waiting for us! Be full today, full of thanks for the blessing of salvation in Christ.

And this is my prayer: That your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ–to the glory and praise of God.

Philippians 1:9-11

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation in which you shine like stars in the universe and hold out the word of life–

Philippians 2:14-16

RRR: Books That Should Not Be

After struggling through The Cassandra Knot by Rebecca Baldwin, I am so, so thankful for those romances that actually, well, romantic. Ouch. Published in 1979, this book is adequately Regency, the author clearly knows her time period, and the potential of the plot isn’t half bad, but like so many things in life, it is the execution of things that makes all the difference, and the timing. And it’s hard to get right, but one knows when they’ve struck gold and this story is merely a knot barely worth picking at. In essence, it is a book that should not be. At some point it should have been rewritten or even discarded entirely.

Arranged marriages can often be a good catalyst for romance, and, here, things are promising. The Duke of Woodland, Edward Talbot, is happy with his mistress, and content in life, although generally he is out of funds and really only has a title and maybe some good looks to offer a lady. He is reintroduced to a childhood friend, Cassandra Russell, or Cassie. Cassie is in dire straights, living with an oppressive family that torments her and will force her into a marriage with a horrible man. She flings herself upon Edward, begging him to marry her instead. She is rich, having a great inheritance, and she will leave him be and let him live his life the way he wants. He can even keep his mistress. Edward has compassion on her and agrees to rescue her in this manner. Little does he know, however, that Cassie has actually been in love with him for a few years now.

What follows after that is continual miscommunication and conflict between the couple that is not entertaining whatsoever. Too make matters worse, the pair rarely have “screen time” together, if you will, and little of what time they had is anything leading towards romance. A good editor should have caught this long before publication. Neither main character is very likable, and neither try to win each other’s affection except in the most superficial of ways. The two have no chemistry; indeed, Edward has more chemistry with his scheming mistress than with his wife. Not really the makings of a romantic hero.

In addition to that, a strange robbery intrigue is inserted in the latter half. And the villain ends up being the only consistent and interesting character in the story–except him being the villain is not consistent at all. I was, in fact, hoping that he would steal Cassie away from Edward at many points.

How do writers and storytellers get romance so wrong? Cookie cutter plots are perhaps to blame, but it is a lack of thinking about the relationships between men and women and especially–readers of romance being primarily women–what makes women’s hearts flutter. Edward has little character. At no point in the story does he begin to rally and use the enormous funds he now has from his wife to bring his dukedom back to greatness. He aspires to nothing. As a woman, I can’t think of anything less attractive than a man with no interests, no adventures, and no ambition. Women are built to support their men. Indeed, we often lose ourselves in supporting our men. That’s not to say women have no interests of their own–Cassie clearly has fun partying apart from her husband in the story–But she’s clearly not happy, and has no foothold on which to build a relationship with her husband. Yes, he rescued her from an awful situation, but it’s one and done. It reality, Cassie would have likely been swept off her feet by another man with ambition eventually. Her girlish love for Edward would not have withstood a driven man who knows what he wants.

The Cassandra Knot is a good lesson: A marriage in which either or both parties do not love the other is a raw deal for both of them. Convenience never makes up for the lack of love and affection. Amazingly, by the end of the story, the two are in love and now have a promising happy marriage to look forward too, but how they fell in love or why. I’m not sure. The couple has no spark. With a reworked plot and some actual character and relationship development, this would have been a much better story. If it was told first person from Cassandra’s perspective, I think it could be riveting, especially since she’s in love with her husband and he doesn’t know it. All those feelings, all that angst at being thrown into physical contact with one’s heart’s desire. That would have been something. For a far, far better story involving a husband and wife who pretend not to love each other, but desperately do, try out the French Revolution and The Scarlet Pimpernel. Now that hero is a man with drive.

Kairos: When You Have Time

Spoilers ahead, matey.

Writing involving time travel, even if the characters are not actually traveling through time, can be tricky. I admire any writer who makes the effort. Kairos is a very strong second to the more superior drama Signal from 2016, but I enjoyed and found it brought its own uniqueness to the genre.

Speaking of the genre, I’m not certain it has a name and have seen it primarily with Korean film and TV, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t used elsewhere. For my purposes, I will call it Time Interchange, a genre that involves time travel without the characters actually traveling through time. The “traveling” part is usually done by some medium or device of communication, as in a mailbox or cell phone or walkie-talkie. The characters on either end are separated by time, weeks, years, or months, one ahead, one behind. I first encountered this genre with The Lake House with Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves. Later in a random book thrift in Tallahasee, I came across the original movie, a Korean one call Il Mare. I quite liked the original and found the acting much better than The Lake House. Although the plots can get confusing due to the time differences, time interchange is a perfect genre for suspense and mystery.

Kairos begins with an extremely heart-wrenching episode. I had to grab a tissue several times as the plot was just brutal. Kim Seo Jin, an executive for a powerful construction company, loses everything precious to him in quick succession. Actor Shin Sung Rok (The Last Empress) is an impressive lead here, and his acting is off the charts. He is well matched by Lee Se Young (Memorist), who plays convenience store worker Han Ae Ri who has a cell phone with very unique capabilities: At 10:33pm each night, she is able to call Kim’s phone for exactly one minute. Not so remarkable in itself, until the two figure out that Han Ae Re is in the past, a month behind when Kim Seo Jin is living!

Although, as always, a little slow for my tastes, Kairos delivers. The word kairos means opportunity and is fitting as the characters are given a fantastical opportunity to change their destinies and that of those around them. A shout out to Park Seung Woo and whoever he hired to be cinematographer, as the cinematography and the shote are unique and top notch. So many episodes have the feel of a movie, not a show. And the camera shots and angles clearly are an effort to move the story along. The music was also spot on and there was almost an 80s, early 90s feel to the show at times.

One of the biggest themes in the show is loyalty. Han Ae Ri has probably the most loyal pair of friends in the world, aside from stolen money, but, hey, it’s just money. Kim Seo Jin quickly finds that no one is loyal to him and soon relies heavily on the loyalty of these strangers from the past. The minor villains played by Ahn Bo Hyun from Yumi’s Cells, and Nam Gyu-Ri from Heartless City end up being a perfect pair for each other and it’s infuriating how the writers especially give Ahn’s character so many chances to continue messing things up for our leads. Both actors had great, great moments, but there is something about them that is missing that star quality, that X factor of most leading actors. I think it is screen presence. Both are very good looking, but in a generic, Abercrombie and Fitch kind of way, if that makes sense.

What Kairos brings to time interchange, is a butterfly effect. When things change in the past, the future–or present, depending on how one looks at it–Kim Seo Jin starts to remember those events, and even events that get redrawn or rewritten due to Han Ae Ri’s efforts. It’s trippy and fun. In the latter efforts, the writing gets very intense as they scenes start constantly flipping back and forth between to the two time periods. It’s all stamped on the screen for the viewing audience, so in that way is easy to keep track, but because we are dealing with two Kim Seo Jins at that point, it’s tricky to keep track of what’s going on. As a whole, the show uses the time difference to great suspense, but never really found a solid groove with that. Many episodes had a lot of boringness with some excitement. Pacing in any show is difficult and even more so with this type of genre. Signal has better pacing and overall suspense than Kairos, but, like I said, Kairos is a very close second. An easy pacing fix would have been to make the show only twelve episodes instead of sixteen. I look forward to what both leads do in the future, Shin Sung Rok, especially. He was definitely the standout performance and carried the show well.

Another show that involves actual time travel that is outstanding is Tunnel starring Choi Jin Hyuk (Zombie Detective) and Yoon Hyun Min (Witch’s Court).

Weirdgorden, Episode One

Author’s Note: Sometimes strange ideas need to be given a chance. With this one I was pleasantly surprised. I was driving home and thinking of Seinfeld and how it was a show about nothing and then suddenly thought, wouldn’t it be a great and funny skit to have a store that doesn’t sell anything? Suddenly Weirdgorden was born and it was so fun writing the first episode, I plan to do more. Enjoy, and forgive my awful sense of humor. –Pixie B.

Weirdgorden

Episode One: New Store in Town

Generic storefront with Weirdgorden electric sign turned off. Woman walking past on the sidewalk, talking on her cell phone. 

Amy: “It’s just terrible what this town is coming to. I can’t find any good deals and all the shops sell junk. No one knows fashion anymore, Marlee. Hold on a sec…” 

Stares up at the sign just blinking on with a sizzle. In the window on the door, someone turns the sign from Closed to Open. 

Amy: “Marlee!  You just won’t believe it!  It’s a new store right where that awful hair stylist’s used to be.  No, not that one.  The one who got hepatitis and moved to Guam.  Or was a gym? Anyway, talk to you later, girl!  I’ll tell you all about it later.  Bye, bye, by-bye, ciao!” 

Amy heads inside and the bell jingles. The place is arranged a bit like a coffee shop, with wooden tables and chairs and couches and stuffed chairs along the walls with shelves of random items.  The counter is U-shaped. On the wall behind it is another sign with the store’s name and swinging doors that head to the back.  Amy lingers at a single clothes rack situated up front. The clothes are all sparkly and outlandish. She holds up one item, then another, searching the sleeve of a shirt for a tag but finding nothing. 

A clerk comes humming through the swinging doors with a load of clothes in her arms.  She wears a pencil perched behind one ear.  The clerk dumps the clothes on the counter and immediately begins sorting and folding the items before noticing Amy. 

Charlotte: “Ah.  There you are.  Great day, huh?”

Amy: “Oh, yes, I just love trying new stores.  These clothes are just amazing.”

Charlotte: “Aren’t they, though?” Goes back to folding. 

Amy: “But…” She brings the shirt over to the counter. “There aren’t any price tags on anything.” The clerk doesn’t seem to hear her and she repeats herself louder. 

Charlotte: “Okay, okay, no need to shout.  Price tags.  Why would there be price tags?”

Amy: “So people know if they want to buy the clothes?”

Charlotte: “Buy the clothes?  What do you mean?  From here?” The clerk looks dumbfounded.

Amy: “Of course from here.  You’re a clothing store aren’t you?  A boutique?”

Charlotte: “No. No bows or teeks, thank you very much.” Laughs and goes on folding. 

Amy: “Are you saying you don’t sell clothes?”

Charlotte: “We don’t sell clothes.”

Amy sets the shirt on the counter and the clerk picks it up, takes it off the hanger and folds it with the other clothes on the counter.  Amy gestures around the store. 

Amy: “Well, what do you sell, then?  Books?”

Charlotte: “Nope, no books.”

Amy: “Coffee?  Of course, there’s no menu sign, but you do have tables and chairs.”

Charlotte: “We don’t sell coffee.”

Amy puts her hands on her hips. “What do you sell, then?”

Charlotte: “Nothing. Weirdgordens doesn’t sell a thing.”

Amy: “But you’re folding clothes.  To sell!”

Charlotte: “Nope, not to sell.  Don’t be ridiculous.”

Amy: “But…”

Charlotte: “Larry!”  Screaming to the back.  “Larry, we got another one!”  A large, balding man pokes his head between the doors.

Larry:  “Really, Charlotte?”

Charlotte folds the last pair of jeans and stacks the whole pile on the side of the counter. “Really.  I need a coffee break.” She slips past Larry as he enters the space behind the counter and heads to the back room.  Larry folds his arms and stares at Amy.

Larry: “What’s the problem, lady?”

Amy: “Um, I’m just confused as to what you sell here.  Charlotte said it wasn’t coffee, but you have coffee?”  She waits for him to answer, but the silence drags on.  Finally, he answers. 

Larry: “So, you want to have coffee, is that it?”

Amy: “No!  Well, I mean, yes, it is cold out, but I don’t understand what it is—“

Larry: (shouting): “Char! Bring the lady some coffee!” Charlotte calls something intelligible from the back room. 

Amy: “No, really, sir…Larry, um, I don’t need any coffee.  Really, I just want to know how much the clothes are.”

Larry: “Much?  As in money?” He steps up to the cash register behind the counter and starts fiddling with it. 

Amy: “Yes, exactly.”

Larry: “No, no. We don’t sell any clothes here.  Char!  Where are you with the coffee?”

Amy: “But I’m wondering what it is you do sell?”

Larry shrugs.  “Sell?  Why would we sell anything?”

Amy: “Because you’re a store?”

Charlotte marches out proudly with a tray of coffee mugs.  She hands one to Larry, who takes a big gulp, telling her it’s the best ever.

Charlotte: “Here you are,  dear.  It’s cinnamon spice.  Good on a cold day.”

Amy: “Oh, how lovely.  But I really don’t need any coffee.  I was actually wondering about the clothes.”

Charlotte: “Yes, yes, they’re made in China, like everything else.”  She interrupts before Amy can get another question in.  “Now, why don’t you go and sit on that couch over there and quite bothering us.  Larry and I have a lot of work to do.  Can’t you see?”  Larry has gone back to fiddling with the cash register and appears to be entering numbers from a stack of slips.  He takes the pencil from behind Charlotte’s ear and starts to write with it. 

Amy: “But.”  She stands and looks at them, then sips at her coffee, murmuring at how good it tastes.  “Yes, I’ll just….sit on the couch.”

Charlotte (looking triumphant): “There you go, hon.  Welcome to Weirdgorden.” 

Copyright 2021.

The Chronicles of Narnia, Book Four, Prince Caspian

This review will be a bit short as I don’t have a lot to say about this story. First off, I enjoyed it, but aside from the beginning chapters, I didn’t find much memorable about it. Here we have the Pevensies, Peter, Edmund, Susan, and Lucy on their second visit to Narnia. This takes place about a year later (in the real world) to their time in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Prince Caspian gets its start in a railway station where suddenly the four children are whisked away to Narnia. The Harry Potter series, too, makes use of a train station to get the kids to the magical world. And what could be more logical than a place of transportation? Anyway, it’s a great opening that flows well into an even better scene: All the children find their former castle where they ruled as kings and queens for so many Narnian years. At Cair Paravel, they start to remember the lives in Narnia that they once had and also find their old weapons and gifts given to them by Father Christmas so long ago. Then they meet a new dwarf and are off to help Prince Caspian save his kingdom.

I did get a kick out of Lucy sticking it to her brother when Edmund’s grumbling about girls: “That’s the worst of girls. They never carry a map in their heads.” And Lucy responds: “That’s because our heads have something inside them.” Ouch. Turns out the map in the boys’ heads of no use as its hundreds of years later that they are trying to navigate through Narnia. Lucy ends up saving the day by trusting in Aslan and her brothers’ pride is humbled. At first the three older siblings do not believe her, even though they themselves have seen Aslan before and Lucy would have no reason to make it up. C.S. Lewis is very much getting at one having faith like a little child, as Lucy is the youngest and her faith wins out on the path in which to take. It’s not so much that Lucy doesn’t have a map in her head, but she has space and room for imagination and the possibility that Aslan is there to show them the way. As adults our heads are certainly crowded with many things, many useful of them in the real world, but having a head full of faith, we can see what’s really important. Or the correct path to take in life, and so on. It’s interesting just how long the older kids persist in not believing Lucy. I see this in the real world so, so often, especially today. So many obvious signs that people just don’t see until finally they are forced to wake up to the fact that they or their thinking is on the wrong path and they must turn around and consider that all those other ideas or conspiracy theories or what have you may be valid or true or both. How easily our grown up pride gets in the way of seeing clearly sometimes.

The interaction between the Pevensies and Prince Caspian really is not a big part of the book. The largest part is simply getting them all in the same place. Lewis includes a wild, uniquely Narnian romp, and then the boys get to do some fighting and killing. As the High King, Peter trumps Caspian and ends up fighting Caspian’s uncle Miraz in combat. It ends up in a big fight, Narnians against the Telmarines who abused Caspian, and it’s thrilling to see the mouse Reepicheep enter the fray only to have Peter yell at him: “Come back, Reepicheep, you little ass! You’ll only be killed! This is no place for mice.” Of course the valiant mouse ignores him.

They all waltz through Narnia and watch as Aslan changes people, or gives them the courage to throw off their bonds. Miraz and the Telmarines have done their best to make Narnia more like a regular world, and everyone is bored and has not been having a good time. That is all stopped. Prince Caspian is crowned king of Narnia and he gives his fealty to Aslan as any Narnian king should. It’s also great to see the persistence of Reepicheep and the mice, who beg Aslan to give him a new tail as it’s been cut off in battle. Persistence is definitely part of Christianity and in asking for things we need or want. God wants us to be persistent. But it is not merely persistence, but the love of the mice for their fellow mice that really moves Aslan to grant his request.

After an amazing, again, uniquely Narnian feast, we find out from Aslan that the Telmarines aren’t from there at all, but from the real world. No wonder they ended up trying to stamp out anything wonderful and magical in Narnia. In any case, it makes Caspian a son of Adam and daughter of Eve, so he is truly fit to be a king of Narnia. Aslan makes a door back into the real world and the kids go back to their regular lives. Sadly, Lucy and Edmund find out from Peter and Susan that their older siblings won’t be coming back to Narnia as they will be too grown up. The very end is great as Edmund realized he left his new torch, or, in American, flashlight back in Narnia. What fun.

If You Really Wanna Know…

This morning I was all set to do a review of Prince Caspian in The Chronicles of Narnia, and then my heart and soul was convicted instead to write about the COV vaccines. The following is for those who want to know. If you think the vaccines are fine, helpful, and that COV is totally worse than Ebola, this blog post will not be for you. If you, however, have started to question the current narrative and have been alarmed that this is all starting to sound a little bit like The Matrix, V for Vendetta, 1984, and Revelation combined (and The Hunger Games, and Animal Farm, and…okay, you get the idea), I’m hoping to have some helpful information for you. Please note: I am firmly anti-vaccine and proud of it. I talk a little bit about that later on.

What are all these weird medical things going on? Why are so many people dropping dead or having heart attacks in the middle of sporting events? Why are they adding elements to the COV vaccine for kids to make sure they don’t have a heart problem? Why is it an order to get vaccinated, not a choice?

First of all: Do Not Fear. Maybe you’ve started to find news that the powers that be don’t want you to have and are starting to get scared. Don’t. This universe and this world has a Creator God. If you’re a Christian you know Him well, and even if you’re not, He loves you, knows you, and ultimately wants you to turn to Him for salvation. Because He wants all people to be saved, sometimes He allows us to deal with the consequences of our actions. He brings us to a point where we learn to trust Him, not the world, not the government, not even our families. Understand God’s ultimate goal in creating everything was this story of salvation, and if you want to know more about, just start reading the Bible. If you’re not a Christian, understand as many have, that at this point in history, it may become vital to your survival to align with Christians. The people behind all of this are working with true evil. They do not care about you, your body, or your soul. Sadly, many Christians don’t understand what’s going on, either, and I’m sure the reasons for that varies person by person. Just understand that there are no perfect people, much less Christians, except for the Son of God and Son of Man, our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the reason I can say, Do Not Fear. It’s not because of myself, or the church, which, honestly, is tragically MIA in all of this.

That brings me to the second thing: Trusting in God doesn’t mean doing nothing. For example, at this time, many people are losing their jobs or giving them up. They now have great opportunities to find a way, whatever way they can to get out from under the thumb of the evil men. Maybe that means living with less or making less. Maybe it means starting a business that can’t be shut down or canceled so easily. Maybe it just means witnessing one’s faith. It can mean a lot of things. For me, I can tell you, I’m praying a lot for everyone. It’s on my mind. For Christians, prayer is the best tool that we have. God answers our prayers; He hears us when our Congressional representatives won’t and don’t. Will all this end up in a great, physical war? I don’t know, but it’s best to be prepared, both spiritually and mentally, for that possibility.

Third thing: As far as physically doing something apart from prayer. Do not comply. As far as you can do not comply with the faux laws and rules of COV. These laws are both ungodly and unjust and have one aim in mind, which is to enslave all of humanity. Along with that, talk with like-minded people, if you can find them, and witness to those who have questions, and who are starting to wonder. We who are Christians and awake to what’s going on can give so, so much comfort at this time. And neither COV or vaccines necessarily has to be mentioned.

So, onto the really wanna know part. It’s not really the steak of this post, as I said everything is found in God, in Christ. The knowledge of our salvation is really all we need, but for survival in this world in 2021, soon to be 2022, there are a few more things that may be helpful.

Information. Maybe you’re starting to realize your news sources are not giving you the whole truth, or they are only covering certain things, or seem to have a certain agenda. Perhaps you’ve not quite concluded yet that they are lying to you. Perhaps you or someone you know has had a very bad experience after getting vaccinated and perhaps you’re starting to wonder why both the government and the pharmaceutical companies aren’t really that transparent with their information. Happily, there are places online on can go to, and smart people one can follow who have the information being denied you. Amazingly, many are scientist, doctors, and the like. They do not agree with Fauci, they do not agree with the CDC, the WHO, etc. The “science,” if it is that, is not settled by any means. Well, perhaps it is, but one must then conclude that the people continuing to push the vaccines are then evil. And they are. Whether they know it themselves or not they are evil and doing evil.

Here are some helpful places to find hidden news and more information: gab.com, Amazing Polly, The Highwire, The Conservative Treehouse, The Stew Peters show, and well, so, so many people to follow on Gab. Gab is basically like a Twitter/Facebook site and if you haven’t heard about it, it’s because the people on it generally are not the suited politician types, or Fox News, or Breitbart types. It is now well known among many of us who follow alternative news that much of the mainstream Republicans and conservatives are compromised. Many are simply grifters, just looking for donations and they find people a bit hostile to that on Gab. Many are really not what they say they are, and some are paid to keep you watching them and getting angry, but then not doing anything about what’s going on. By that I mean, referencing above, they are taking away your time from prayers and meaningful connections with people who need you desperately in their lives. These people are why many don’t follow politics, because this kind of following is largely a waste of time. Indeed, even following actual, true news, too much, is a waste of our God-given time. I’m promoting Gab because they can’t be canceled or shut down at this time. They have taken great steps and risks in order to do this, and the owner, Andrew Torba, is a Christian, and he is on a mission to help at least have a place where people can speak the truth freely. That does means the site isn’t suited and sanitary. There’s a lot of junk to wade through, but Gab certainly isn’t unique in that. That’s just social media.

People. Here’s a few of the people I follow on Gab. Some post often, some nary at all. This list is just the people who talk about vaccines and the actual facts behind them: Amazing Polly, Dr. Sherri Tenpenny, Dr. Mercola, Dr. Zev Zelenko, Stew Peters, The Highwire with Del Bigtree, Dr. Simone Gold, Steve Kirsch, Dr. Stella Emmanuel, Cory Lynn of Corey’s Digs , Dr. Robert Malone who helped infect the mRNA technology, independent journalist Sheryl Attkisson, Project Veritas. I can tell you that what they say is very, very different from what your government, the CDC, and companies like Pfizer are telling you. Sometimes it’s that the people and sites I follow share pertinent info from articles they found. Vox Day is great for this–he is a great writer and entrepreneur, as is The Conservative Treehouse. TCT had this great link to reporter Emerald Robinson’s substack. Yes, it sounds like science-fiction and Revelation stuff, but maybe that’s where we are. These things that are not actually vaccines, are evil.

There are a plethora of people, alternative news sites and the like to follow. The more one navigates these waters, the easier it is to find the people who do their research and who prove their reliability. A lot of these people honed their skills by following so-called conspiracy theories and even movements like Q, which proved to be a useful research starting point, but sadly, not much else. I followed the Q posts, or Q-anon posts, and on the one hand you can say I was really gullible. On the other hand, I found a lot of great people who do awesome research, and that a lot of the actual info shared by Q was true! Also, we still don’t really know who or what Q actually was. Some still think maybe Q’s plan to save the world could come true. If that happens, great, but our faith should be in God, and His salvation of the world is way better. Be aware also, that a lot of online accounts are just trolls and bots. Trolls are less worrisome than bots, bots are there to support the narrative of someone and often to gaslight people. Trolls are annoying and just like to get you upset as their entertainment. If all this is sounding a bit like wading through a battle, it is, it absolutely is. We are in a huge information war, the likes of which we’ve never seen before, because unlike in the past, we can still find the info that the powers that be don’t want us to have. By the grace of God.

The best place for vaccine news is definitely The Highwire. Vaccine news is what they’re all about and they have a weekly show every Thursday afternoon. It is well worth watching.

Critical Thinking. Don’t want to wade the waters of alternative media? Just follow the mainstream media and government websites like the CDC with a critical eye. You will quickly many agendas on display that are not for your own good and you’ll find journalists bending over backwards not to say the truth of things, but using a double speak that would make Orwell proud. Sometimes just questioning, just using critical thinking is enough of a start. The rest will follow.

Help. Horrified that you took a COV shot and want to detox from it? Many of the people and doctors mentioned above are great resources for ways you can detox. I’m not sure if you can completely reset your body from this, but, again, God always helps us find a way and, I think, often thwarts the plans of the wicked. These doctors and scientists have great advice in general on good health. Other doctors I recommend following are Dr. Ken Berry and Dr. Jason Fung, who are both on Youtube.

Parallel Economies. One way to get out of this authoritarian nightmare taking over can be to break away from the system as much as possible, to create parallel economies that can help tide people over if or when everything collapses and until a better system can be built. Gab has a lot of resources for this and promotes small businesses who are trying to make it outside the system. Even Youtube is still helpful in this area: There’s Dave Ramsey for getting out of debt, the doctors I mention above, and loads of prepper and do-i-it-yourself types of videos on there. But keep in mind, it’s valuable to focus on the newer, freedom minded sites like Gab TV, Bitchute, Rumble, etc. They aren’t perfect, but no site or business is.

More about me. I used to schedule people for these vaccines up until quite recently. I thought, maybe I am naive and that maybe the conspiracy people are wrong, but over time, God convicted my heart to stop. To stop participating in the lies and the harm I was doing to people. It was not an easy decision to make, but I was glad once I did it. Since the whole gaslighting that was the fake toilet paper shortage in March of 2020, I’ve known that COV wasn’t whatever the powers that be say it is. It has been frustrating, to say the least, to watch Americans cave so easily to both fear and stupidity, and to so easily give up their freedoms. But then, God woke me up early to the dangers of vaccines. I am not vaccine skeptic, I am anti-vaccine and proud of it. There is zero liability on these things from either the manufacturers or really the government. Zero. They are not safe, which is the first thing, and their effectiveness has been in question from the beginning. That this is not just the COV vaccines, that this is ALL vaccines, is a conclusion that many, so many now, are on the verge of making. It’s there, we’re so, so close to understanding, sorrowfully, just how much misplaced trust we have in sinful human beings. This is what I mean when I say sometimes God has us deal with the consequences of our actions. We have been weak for awhile now, letting good times stop us from being watchful and alert.

Questioning. Do I question myself on all this? Yes! I would be happy to find out that all the sources and info above are wrong and that my loved ones who took the vaccines are safe. However, that’s just not where the facts are going. I’m so, so glad that a few years ago I questioned my own trust in vaccines and the medical and scientific establishment. So, so glad. Maybe it’s time for you, too, if you’ve been confident in “science” and the “government” (I put them it quotes, because both elements of society have fallen away from their purpose), maybe it’s time for you to question your beliefs and sources at this critical time. It could save your life and the lives of your children. Even God, the creator of everything, asks us to question Him, to test the Scriptures to see if they are true. If the powers that be demand not to be questioned, that is a huge, red light to question them even more. If you really wanna know the truth, it’s out there, God will help you find it. It’s not always easy to believe or to sort through everything: Sometimes good people come to the wrong conclusions, or they don’t have enough data, and so on; but I think, I hope, it’s fast becoming clear to a majority around the world that whatever this COV mess is, it isn’t about health, and if it’s about good intentions, it’s paving the way straight to hell, if not the actual Hell, then at the very least hell on earth for all of us.

Lastly, Do Not Fear. If God is for us, who can be against us? And He is certainly for us and wants us to be in heaven with Him. Yes, you’ve been lied to. You’ve had the truth hidden from you. Both for nefarious purposes. None of us can fathom in the coming months the level of anger and betrayal people will feel. God will help us make it right. He will help us move forward when everything else is telling us to despair. We have a hope that is beyond this fallen world. Do Not Fear.

The Chronicles of Narnia, Book Three, The Horse and His Boy

In reading this book, I realized that, no, I’ve never actually read the whole thing before. For many, this is their favorite of the Chronicles of Narnia series. It was an enjoyable read, and pretty funny in parts, although I though the latter part dragged a bit, but then I always tend to think that about many stories.

The story largely takes place in Calormen, a neighboring country to Narnia with a strip of a country called Archenland between them. If Narnia represents English/Western culture, Calormen represent Arabia or Middle Eastern culture. As Narnia is our hero country, its culture is of course portrayed as superior to Calormen’s. This essentially connects to C.S. Lewis’s allegory that runs throughout the series that the lion Aslan who created Narnia is a stand in for Jesus. Because Calormen doesn’t follow Aslan, their culture is thus inferior. As a Christian, I can agree with then. Generally, cultures rooted in Christianity have more regard for human life, for example. Sadly, my own county and culture has been in hot pursuit of ungodly things for a long time.

The whole clash of countries and cultures really stood out to me in this book, as we have both our hero, Shasta, and his friend, Aravis, trying to espcape the country and culture they grew up in, desiring the peace and freedom that Narnia offers. We eventually find that Shasta is from Archenland by birth, and is royalty to boot. Although Archenland isn’t Narnia, their culture is closer to Narnia than Calormen’s and Aslan walks there. Calormen revolves around tyrants and slaves, forcing people to do things, etc., so it’s not surprising that those enslaved or forced to do things against their will would want to escape. Also, got a kick out of the Calormen’s referring to Narnian King Edmund as the “White Barbarian King,” and the ridiculous way Edmund and Susan talk.

The names in this book are spot on, especially Shasta–kept thinking of the soft drink–and the villain Rabadash. I had sympathy for the latter, the handsome, young prince, who for once couldn’t get his way. Aravis was great as well, smart and athletic, and of course she becomes BFFs with Lucy. Yes, that is the really cool part of The Horse and His Boy – we get to see Peter, Edmund, Susan, and Lucy in their time as the reigning kings and queens of Narnia. It’s great to see them as young adults and to think eventually they will go back to England and become children again. It’s great also to see Aslan show up at the end and see how defiant Rabadash is to the end, even against the great lion. He is to be pitied.

The talking horses Bree and Hwin were great and, for me, a lot more interesting than some of the talking animals in Narnia thus far. Their interactions and statements were often hilarious. And how clever to frame the story with the title The Horse and His Boy, rather than the Boy and His Horse. Gives us great insight into the talking horses and how they view themselves.

The desert trek was great, as was the mixup with Shasta and Corin, as was the whole thing with Queen Susan being wooed by Rabadash. She must have been so disappointed to find he wasn’t someone she could marry and only wanted to get control of Narnia. I suppose that’s a major drawback of being royalty, you’re not wanted for yourself much of the time. The whole journey through Archenland was where I kind of lost interest, and I didn’t quite get the purpose of the Hermit. Perhaps I will have to read it again sometime and start in the middle and keep my focus going. Again, the ending was great with Rabadash and Aslan and I love how Shasta and Aravis quarrel so much they end up getting married. Some couples really find enjoyment in arguing with each other.

All in all, I can see why for some this is their favorite Chronicles of Narnia book. It has a lot of adventure involved and we get to see many familiar faces. It’s also full of humor that both kids and adults can grasp and enjoy, and the allegory isn’t too overbearing.

Horrible Prosperity

It is said that good times make men weak. The original quote is much longer from author G. Michael Hopf in his 2017 book, Those Who Remain. The entire quote is truth gold, but it is the first concept, the fact that prosperity ultimately makes men weak, that has many pondering today, including me. Never has the idea seemed more true or applicable than this year.

Without a doubt in my mind we are at a crossroads in the world, including my beloved country, the United States of America. It is a time when a large section of the world’s power is now firmly in the hands of criminals and tyrants. In the past, the world went through times like these as well, but technology plays a far larger role today, solidifying power in ways never before seen.

In a sinful world, there is something truly horrible about prosperity. This horribleness is, I think, what Jesus was referring to in the book of Mark when he said it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. Prosperous people fall prey to the sin of pride, thinking they did everything on their own and forgetting that all they have, including their very selves, come from God. They, too, forget about their sinfulness and start thinking that somehow they can earn their way to heaven. The truth is a sinful human being can never earn his or way into heaven. It is only by the holy life, death, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that any of us can enter heaven. But how easy in good times it is to forget this!

Salvation aside, good times are dangerous in this world for other reasons as well. They do indeed make men (and their women) weak. How easy it is to spend far too much of one’s time consuming instead of building, of devouring stories instead of creating them. In America, we are now having to remember that our freedoms are not free: they are kept only by our watchfulness and diligence, our sweat, blood, and tears. The criminals in power in this country are in power for one reason: We, as a people, were and are weak. We decided we didn’t have time to be involved in local politics and our school boards. We figured our checks and balances in governance would simply take care of themselves. Not so. We must hold our leaders’ feet to the fire. It is our duty, and I think would be so whether one lives under a king or a representative republic. But in this age of online cancelation culture, it is increasingly difficult to bring the criminals to account. Civilization itself is actually on the precipice. The criminals pushing for a one world government do not understand how far even they will fall should things continue. But maybe they do understand and maybe they are just evil enough not to care. Perhaps destroying everything is their joy. Oh, how, we have failed in keeping their power in check!

We who believe in freedom, truth, and God’s goodness, who find joy in the Lord, are now having to find new ways of getting the truth out, about what’s going on, about the dangers of vaccines, about, well, everything. We haven’t yet reached a point in which the Gospel is banned, but that won’t be far off if things continue. We don’t have to fear this, for we have God and he is certainly for us, and we know that his goal is to bring everyone to faith and salvation in him. How I long to have everything better again, everything good again. But then, then we would all become weak again. It is simply human nature. So now I pray for better times, but not too good of times that we lose sight of what’s really important. God is teaching us so many important lessons through all of this.

It is embarrassing just how weak we have been and still are. Evil only got this far because of us. God allowed it to take advantage of our weakness. But God’s goal is the same as always: Love. He wishes for us to turn to him and remember how much he loves us and how much we need him. He wishes for all men to be strong again, finding their strength in him alone. For those not afraid to face what’s coming, they are already changing, becoming stronger men and women. They are finding ways to get the truth out and the courage to speak it. They are finding that a job is less important than the truth and being able to make one’s own decisions in life. They are finding that being healthy is more important than being wealthy. They are learning not to trust the evil powers that be, but to trust in the Creator God. They are building new businesses and social platforms outside of the mainstream, parallel economies, and new, better ways of life. They are becoming “good” again. And so, if enough men do this, perhaps we shall have good times again. But, as good times make weak men and weak men make bad times, I, again, hope and pray our success and prosperity only goes so far. I pray we may have enough trouble and adversity to keep us sober minded and alert. I pray we keep that incentive to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the forefront of our hearts and minds until we breathe our last breaths. It’s strange to be thinking this way, to be praying this way, but if 2020 brought out the clarity of lies to many people, so 2021 is now the year to act on that. To pray in alliance with God’s will and God’s purposes, not our own any longer.

Even in these crazy times of 2021, with so much rampant stealing of public funds, of lying to the public about sickness and health, even with so many being forced out of great jobs, the majority of us may still have it too good to wake up to the truth of what’s happening around us. How many still think that the events around them won’t eventually touch them and affect their lives? How many still foolishly trust that the Godless authorities still have our good in mind? We are still, so, so weak, and God wants us to be strong, to be strong especially in him. And that’s not going to happen unless we face the consequences of our weakness. Weak men make bad times, often very bad times, and we may have to face truly bad times all around in the very near future. I don’t say this to scare you, and I don’t say this because I’m scared. I say this so we can prepare our minds and hearts for what’s to come. It is only faith and trust in God that will help us walk through the fire. He is our light when “all other lights go out.” Indeed, even if civilization falls, we can have some comfort in the fact that it is a civilization that has forsaken God that will fall. If we turn to and rely on him, God will bless us, will help us find a way, perhaps even to thrive, but hopefully not too well and not for too long, for it is harsh times, bad times, that spark men into becoming good and strong again. And we desperately need our men, and their women, to become strong again and to stay strong to spread that precious Word of Christ. Yet, as Christians, we do know that even in our weakness, maybe especially in our weakness, God uses us to show that he is the true power and joy of the universe.

So, although I welcome prosperity in my life and all our lives at some point, I also find it rather horrible, too.