Friday, February 29, 2008

Skin Care and Acne Helps

A great book you can borrow from the library is "Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter without Me" by Paula Begoun. In it she examines every possible cosmetic company and their products. She goes over their claims to "reduce wrinkles in three days" and whether or not their products deliver upon the claims they make. If you are searching for inexpensive, yet quality skin care or makeup products that you can still use on a tight budget, check out her reviews and recommendations.You'll be surprised at how effective the basic store brands are.
Paula also has her own line of fragrance free products that she developed after years of research and of being disappointed in most of the stuff available. Find her at www.cosmeticscop.com where you can also sign up for her online newsletter.
For those of you with household residents that are struggling with acne please learn all you can from www.acne.org before you go and pay $200 to see a dermatologist. The specialist told us that acne was all in our patient's head or that they were scratching! and causing it to be worse. (Did he actually study the skin in school???) We have ordered for over 2 years from the young man who began the acne.org site and been pleased with his products and customer service. Find his stuff at www.danielkern.com .
--posted by Queen Lucy

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Queen Lucy

On her first visit to Narnia, little Lucy Pevensie grows up "and her own people called her Queen Lucy the Valiant." But one of my favorite pictures of Lucy is in "Prince Caspian" when she and her siblings and one cranky dwarf have spent one entire day trying to reach Prince Caspian and had everything go wrong. The problem was that Lucy had seen Aslan and realized he wanted the party to follow him, but no one else would believe her because they had not seen Aslan with their own eyes. Thus Lucy was forced to go with the others and the results were disastrous and delayed them from reaching Caspian.
Late that night when everyone else is asleep, Lucy encounters Aslan again. He explains that she must return and tell the rest that they need to rise up and follow him.
"" Will the others see you too?" asked Lucy.
"Certainly not at first," said Aslan. "Later on, it depends."
"But they won't believe me!" said Lucy.
"It doesn't matter," said Aslan.
"Oh dear, oh dear," said Lucy. "And I was so pleased at finding you again. And I thought you'd let me stay. And I thought you'd come roaring in and frighten all the enemies away--like last time. And now everything is going to be horrid."
"It is hard for you, little one," said Aslan. "But things never happen the same way twice. It has been hard for us all in Narnia before now."
Lucy buried her head in his mane to hide from his face. But there must have been magic in his mane. She could feel lion-strength going into her. Quite suddenly she sat up.
"I'm sorry, Aslan," she said. "I'm ready now."
"Now you are a lioness," said Aslan. "And now all Narnia will be renewed. But come. We have no time to lose."
He got up and walked with stately, noiseless paces back to the belt of dancing trees through which she had just come: and Lucy went with him, laying a rather tremulous hand on his mane....
"Now, child," said Aslan, when they had left the trees behind them, "I will wait here. Go and wake the others and tell them to follow. If they will not, then you at least must follow me alone.""
Lucy wakes everyone and they DO begin to follow her but with begrudging hearts and grumpy spirits. For a long time no one else sees Aslan leading them, and then one by one, at different timing, they behold him. He leads them quickly and safely through the perilous terrain and to their goal.
How many times Aslan has asked me to follow him when no one else around me could see him. How many times I have tried to rouse those around me to come and follow him and been met with resistance, argument, or doubt.
"For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chose the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God--and righteousness and sanctification and redemption--that, as it is written, He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.
--posted by Queen Lucy

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Kingdom Building

"As Christians, we bear the responsibility of building a social order that reflects the glory of God. This responsibility reaches into the realm of sociology, political science, and economics. The Great Commission calls for the discipleship of all nations....We are called to bring the Good News of the risen Christ to everyone and to bring all aspects of our lives under the rule of God." --from "Biblical Economics" by R.C. Sproul, Jr.

In modern American Christendom we have the proverbial cart before the horse. In order to disciple all nations, it means that first we have to be obeying God ourselves, putting all of our lives under the microscope of His Word, submitting to the truth of His word--even if it means we have to change!--and then living faithfully. As we "live our faith out through our fingertips" then all realms of life and inquiry and knowledge and endeavors will begin to take on the shape of a Christian social order and nation. THEN we will be in a position to disciple others.


--Queen lucy

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Prydain Chronicles Pt. One

The Prydain Chronicles
by Lloyd Alexander
The Book of Three

Lloyd Alexander’s classic series for the young is a fantasy set in the believable medieval. Welsh-like world of Prydain, To Taran, an Assistant Pig Keeper, everyday life seems dull and mundane. The series begins at the Book of Three, with Taran mucking out the stalls of the oracular pig Hen Wen. He, like many a young boy, longs to have grand adventures and become a larger than life hero. Accusing his guardians Dallben and Coll of trying to stifle his true abilities, Taran feels life at Caer Dallben is rather useless and not at all in the manner worthy of following his hero, Prince Gwydion. Dallben is more concerned with the strange happenings caused by the arrival of the Horned King and wonders what intrigues the Lord of Death, Arawn is now plotting.
In the midst of their worries, events transpire that cause Taran to impulsively leave Caer Dallben and begin a journey searching for his beloved Hen Wen. A journey which not only brings into Taran’s life new friends, and new challenges that cause Taran to grow towards being a real hero - not of what he imagined - but one that can truly be admired. Taran comes face to face with his idol, Prince Gwydion and learns that there is still much more to learn about the world. As Taran’s journey continues, he discovers the world contains evil and good, and he must make choices that concern more than his own interests. His decisions, in fact, may decide the fate of Prydain’s future happiness.
Adding to the story is the vibrant nature of Eilonwy, a talkative, young enchantress; the exaggeration of Fflewddur Fflam, a wandering bard; and the panicky Gurgi, the insatiable man/hound, all of whom alternatively annoy and aid Taran. Taran stumbles through his journey, meets legends, learns the true strength of friendship, finds out the wisdom of listening to others, and feels the heartache of loss. Taran learns that the simplicity of home is to be desired after all, more than all the heroics and adventures that the world can offer and returns to Caer Dallben with his new friends, a wiser, older, and much beloved character.

More to come . . .

By Lady Tinidril

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Gospel Portrayed

From George Herbert's (1593-1633) work "The Country Parson, His Character, and Rule of Holy Life", Chapter 10 "The Parson in His House"

"The Parson is very exact in the governing of his house, making it a copy and model for his parish. He knows the temper and pulse of every person in his house, and accordingly either meets with their vices or advanceth their virtues. His wife is either religious, or night and day he is winning her to it. Instead of the qualities of the world, he requires only three of her: first, a training up of her children and maids in the fear of God, with prayers, and catechizing, and all religious duties. Secondly, a curing and healing of all wounds and sores with her own hands, which skill either she brought with her, or he takes care she shall learn it of some religious neighbor. Thirdly, a providing for her family in such sort as that neither they want a competent sustenation nor her husband be brought in debt."

There is so much I love about reading George Herbert, both his poetry and his insight into what he believed an ideal country parson should be like. What I find amazing in this little excerpt (and many others in his writing) is the initiative that a husband -- not just the parson since he was to serve as the parish example -- was to take for the cultivation, instruction, and growth of his wife, children, and those in his care. He especially mentions that the head of the household is to know the temper and pulse of every person in that household and to take care of improving their virtues or curbing their vices! I repeat these in my own comments to encourage you to read more of George Herbert and glean all that you can about how Christian marriages, families, and church life used to be and what it could be again if God is gracious and we are willing to labor toward that end.

-- Queen Lucy

Friday, February 15, 2008

Opportunity

Opportunity
by Edward Rowland Sill


This I beheld, or dreamed it in a dream:—
There spread a cloud of dust along a plain;
And underneath the cloud, or in it, raged
A furious battle, and men yelled, and swords
Shocked upon swords and shields. A prince’s banner
Wavered, then staggered backwards, hemmed by foes.

A craven hung along the battle’s edge,
And thought, “Had I a sword of keener steel—­­
That blue blade that the king’s son bears—but this
Blunt thing!—“ he snapped and flung it from his hand.
And lowering crept away and left the field.

Then came the king’s son, wounded, sore bestead,
And weaponless, and saw the broken sword,
Hilt-buried in the dry and trodden sand,
And ran and snatched it, and with battle-shout
Lifted afresh he hewed his enemy down,
And saved a great cause that heroic day.


Posted by ME
after being ordered AGP by Queen Lucy

Child Training 101

What is the goal of child training?? What end result do we want? One day standing before us we want a faithful, obedient to God and His authority, responsible, self-governed ADULT.
We are raising children to one day be an adult, not a grown up child or teenager, but an adult!
So, a basic, simple principle to employ in child training is to not let your child do ANYTHING in your home that you would not let another adult do.
For instance: Would you let another adult come into your home and jump on your furniture, draw on your wall, strangle your kitten, complain about the food you served, stick their hands in your pie, or talk to you like you were worthless dung?? (BTW each of these examples are actually from real life things I have either seen or know about!)
The answer to this question should be no! And if the answer is no, then child training should be swift, immediate, and clear.
If you want your child to become an adult, make the standard adulthood, not childish folly.
I realize in our culture what passes for acceptable adult behavior has fallen so far below the standard of Christian courtesy and appropriate behavior. As Christians that only means that as we raise our children to adulthood using God's standards as our guide, our offspring will then be so capable to influence those around them because they will "shine as lights in the world." (Phil. 2:15)

posted by Queen Lucy

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Real Christianity

In 1797 William Wilberforce published "A Practical View of the Prevailing Religion System of Professed Christians in the Higher and Middle Classes in This Country, Contrasted with Real Christianity." Bob Belz has revised and updated Wilberforce's book in modern language for those who are not used to or willing to read the more lengthy writings of our forbears. He calls it "Real Christianity".
Wilberforce's heart cry was to what he called cultural Christians. People who consider themselves "a "good" person and are against "bad" things" and believe their faith to be adequate. People who "might understand the Christianity our culture has adopted without understanding what constitutes authentic faith." People who "know some of the basic facts about Christianity but have no idea how those facts should apply to your life."
Wilberforce continues: "Do cultural Christians view Christian faith as important enough to make it a priority when teaching their children what they believe and why they believe it? Or do they place greater emphasis on their children getting a good education than on learning about the things of God? Would they be embarrassed if their children did not posses the former while basically being indifferent about the latter? If their children have any understanding of Christian faith at all, they probably have acquired it on their own. If the children view themselves as Christians, it is probably not because they have studied the facts and come to a point of intellectual conviction but because their family is Christian, so they believe they must be Christians also.
The problem with this way of thinking is that authentic faith cannot be inherited. When Christianity is viewed in this way, intelligent and energetic young men and women will undoubtedly reach a point where they question the truth of Christianity and, when challenged, will abandon this "inherited" faith that they cannot defend. They might begin to associate with peers who are unbelievers. In this company, they will find themselves unable to intelligently respond to objections to Christianity with which they are confronted. Had they really known what they believe and why they believe it, these kinds of encounters would not shake their faith one bit."
Wilberforce comments, "I fear for the future of authentic faith in our country. We live in a time when the common man in our country is thoroughly influenced by the current climate in which the cultural and educational elite propagates an anti-Christian message."
Throughout his book Wilberforce remarks how the "majority of so-called Christians have such little understanding of the real nature of the faith they profess." He remarks that the conduct of these professing Christians "is not measured against the standard set by the gospel. They have developed their own philosophies, which they attempt to pawn off as Christian faith."
I urge you to read his writings either in the original or in the updated version. It makes you feel that Wilberforce is alive and writing today. It makes you wish that all the people calling themselves Christians in our nation would read it and at least learn intellectually that they are not practicing authentic faith, probably because they do not have it. It makes you understand more pointedly that real Christianity is not about going out and grabbing all the lost and getting them through the church doors. It is about receiving the grace of God for salvation and for living true faith. It is about living faithful lives day in and day out in the calling God gave you and most especially in your own families. It is about building faithful families, raising faithful children, building faithful churches, and thus following God's program for church growth, missions, and nation building.

--posted by Queen Lucy

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Spider-Man 3

Last spring, Spiderman 3 was one of the most-talked-about-upcoming-sequel-releases in our house. Most-talked-about, but maybe not the most-looked-forward-to. After our experiences with the first two of the trilogy we weren’t expecting this one to be any better, if not worse. Last May I walked into the theater with a friend, shortly after the movie had opened expecting to see an okay/average movie. I guessed that it might be cool to see the special effects, and see all the action, as you can always count on in Marvel productions, but that the movie overall was not going to be that great. Two hours later I exited the doors into the night air totally blown away - in a good way! Spiderman 3 had by far bested it’s prequels in quality, morals, and overall story-line. Not only had I enjoyed the action-packed movie, but it actually had good lessons taught in it, AND it was extremely clean.

The movie’s overall story-line was well put together, and it actually seemed like it was going somewhere. Some of the messages in the movie were: 1. Revenge is wrong, 2. A man needs to be able to sacrifice for his wife, and not be selfish, 3. Everyone has done wrong things, 4. Forgiveness, and, 5. Self sacrifice.

1. The alien symbiote that falls to earth early in the movie is actually the picture of revenge. Peter Parker learns who really killed his Uncle and suddenly has a surge of hatred towards the culprit and wants revenge (Matt. 5:43-44 says: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…,”). At the same time, the black, rubbery symbiote possesses his suit, turning it black. Whenever
Spiderman wears his newly-colored suit, it gives him a good feeling, one of power and strength.
What it shows to the viewer is that revenge feels good. It also pointed out that at times, revenge is what we want more than other things. Peter several times chose to wear the black suit over wearing his old one; even after his physics professor examined a sample of the symbiote, and warned that the symbiote needed to bond to a host to survive and that if Peter touched it, it would be hard to unbind.
Peter Parker’s life begins to go downhill after he begins to wear the black suit, because the “revenge” completely changed him inside and out; it literally consumes him, which is what the suit finally ends up doing. (Romans 12:21, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”). Spiderman does overcome the revenge/black-suit in the end, but it is extremely hard for him. This shows that revenge can consume those who harbor it in their heart and person, and is very difficult to defeat, or “cast off”.

2. As in each movie, Aunt May always has some good words for Peter. This time it was: “A man has to be understanding, and put his wife before himself. Can you do that Peter?”

3-4. One of my favorite quotes from the movie is in one of the last scenes as Peter Parker is talking with Flint Marco and learns the truth about his uncle’s Death. Peter finally realizes he is just as guilty of wrongdoings as the Sandman. Spidey finally says, “I’ve done terrible things too…I forgive you….” (Matt. 6:14 says, “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you…,”)(Luke 6:37, “…forgive and you will be forgiven…;”)

5. Harry is a good picture of sacrifice throughout the movie. I won’t go into depth about that, though, because it gives too much of the story away. The picture of revenge is also reflected in Harry throughout the story as he is filled with a desire to kill Peter. His forgiveness in the end of the movie saves Peter’s life.

Overall, on a scale from 1-10, I would give it an 8. It had a lot of good morals; the movie was extremely clean, for a PG-13 movie. There were only a couple of swear words, and no nudity or bed-scenes of any sort. Clothing was modest. And the special effects were totally amazing! Plus the action scenes were well put together, and carried out! I would very much recommend watching this movie (but not under-11 year-olds because I don't think they could handle all of the action and scary images)!


Some of my favorite quotes from the movie:

Aunt May: “It isn’t for us to say whether a person deserves to live or die.”
Aunt May: “Uncle Ben meant the world to us, but he wouldn’t want us living one second with revenge on our hearts. It’s like a poison. It can take you over, before you know it, turn you into something ugly…”

Peter Parker: “I’ve done terrible things too…. I forgive you.”


Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action violence



This post was written by: J.Dub

Thursday, February 7, 2008

A Tale of Two Cities

The following is a fictional overview/narrative I have written on A Tale of Two Cities. I wrote it in the form of a journal entry by a very dear and close friend of Sydney Carton. The man making this entry is a fictional character that I have created for the sole purpose of relaying the story outline of A Tale of Two Cities in an interesting way, while at the same time trying to avoid using a character from the book.
A Tale of Two Cities was written in 1859 by Charles Dickens who was the foremost English novelist of the Victorian Era, and is acclaimed as one of history’s greatest novelists. An interesting “hidden fact” that I found out about the relationship of Dickens with two of the book’s characters, is that Charles Dickens’s initials are C.D. Charles Darnay, one of the main characters in the book, has the same initials. And Sydney Carton, in Dickens’s earlier drafts, had a forename of Dick, therefore his initials were D.C. The same initials as the first two, just backwards.
This novel is also acclaimed as the best story ever written with a setting in the time period during the French Revolution. Dickens had a keen interest in French history; and being born less than forty years after the occurrences of the revolution might also have been reason for his writing this story during that time.
Enjoy…


September 15th, 1793 in the Year of Our Lord

I sit here in my humble house in Paris, at the charred desk as always. I have not written for several days…no, it has been a fortnight — how the time flitters behind me like a bird when my mind is engrossed in so many things. As I sit here I can hardly hear my thoughts for the sake of the loud mob outside in the square. I can hardly describe the view outside the window on my right, only that heathens by the thousands are thronged outside, all decked in blue hats with their devilish rosettes, the color of the blood that runs this very second from the stand where hundreds of people have met the cruel blade face to face. Even now the liquid which once possessed the body of living and innocent men, women, and even crying babes seeps through the cracks in the cobblestones, soaking the earth with its fresh warmth.
I grew tired months ago of hearing the continuous screams of the people dragged up the steps to their death — O Lord give me the courage! I grew tired of the malicious voices and cursings of the insurgent executioners, as they beat and shout with full force at the aristocrat people they murder. I grew tired ages ago of my mind counting the number of steady times that the Blade of Death came slicing down, stopping with a cushioned clang. But now…there is no stopping myself from counting the continuous ruckus, and rattling, and thumping as it dislodges another head, for how could I? Vicious tears etch my cheeks this very moment, and blotch the page I am laboring so hard to write these words on. Oh! The dreaded number looms quickly. That dreaded number when another precious life shall leave this world. The dreaded number when I shall lose the dearest friend that I have. 23 looms in my ears and head like a ghost in a graveyard — torturing me continuously, beating upon me like a barbarian with a club.
17 — the rattle is loud and quick…thump. The head rolls into the stained basket…. A loud cheer erupts and the chanting begins, slow and steady, “…next…next…next…next….” “Give us another!” One voice roars. It echoes in my head like a bell.
The reason I write now, is because I must occupy my hands with other than caressing my head, and beating the wall. My friend is to die…it is the will of God…not can change it now — but God please! But no, God has made it clear to me that it is over, Sydney will die, but he will not die for not. I have a strong urge inside my stomach to honor Sydney in some way as I sit here…and I must. I can think of nothing else at the moment but to tell of why Sydney must die…to tell his story…to show whoever might read this entry after my death how Sydney Carton died an honorable man…how he sacrificed himself for those around him….
My dear friend Carton was an English Barrister, or as some call it, a lawyer. How did I meet him? Well it was by chance, actually. We met on the street in extremely odd circumstances, which I shall avoid telling now for it is irrelevant. But Carton soon came to know his love for a young lady, of the name of Lucie Mannette. Lucie herself was of the most oddest background. Miss Manette’s father was a doctor, whom she had rescued from prison not more than five years before.
Dr. Alexander Mannette was not a dishonorable man, nor deserving of being placed in prison. When two noblemen requested him to tend to a woman slave that was under their care, Mannette was quick to help. From what I understand from Carton, the woman had been abused. The nobleman who possessed her, the name of Evremonde, had killed her brother and done horrific crimes against her family. Alexandre, upon coming to know this reported to authorities of the crimes of the Marquis Evremonde. For the supposed attempted disgrace of Evremonde’s crimes, Mannette was sentenced to prison without charges. For eighteen years the good doctor was in Bastille, and during that time he hid a letter he had written in his own blood, denouncing all of the Evremonde family.
The doctor became a crazed man, having no eyes for anything but his shoe-making…that is until his daughter Lucie came. She saved his life, so to speak. The man recovered almost fully.
Five years after the saving of the doctor, Carton decided to pursue Lucie for her hand in marriage. Of course I fully approved, but soon found out from Carton that she had accepted another man’s hand…Charles Darnay, of whom they were acquainted since traveling to England together by ship. Carton called on me daily after this news, mainly to relay his jealousy of Darnay to me; many times he was so drunk he could not see to get through the door. It was trying for me to see him in this state, and I beseeched the Lord in every way to help him get over it, and to give me the ability to counsel him.
Soon after the marriage of Darnay to Lucie, Darnay traveled to Paris, for reasons which are unknown to me, only that he received a letter by chance that led him to France. Upon arriving in the revolutionary ruined Paris, Darnay was accused of being an immigrant, and was put in Prison. He was acquitted of the crime by Doctor Mannette who traveled with his daughter to France to testify for him. If only that had been enough! The next day Charles was arrested again on the charges of being denounced. I was there at the court that day as they read the found letter aloud. Alas! It was the letter by Alexandre Mannette, in which he had denounced the Evremondes. Charles, as I soon learned, was the son of the Marquis Evremonde whom had murdered the peasants and done crimes against the peasant girl, whom Mannette had doctored. Nothing Mannette could say would change the minds of the rebel court, even though the doctor was a highly respected man in Paris. They sentenced Darnay to the guillotine within 24 hours.
Alas! That evening, Carton relayed to me his plans of taking Charles’s place in his cell. I pleaded with him, selfishly I now see, to think again of what he was speaking; but nothing would deter Sydney. He told me that if Darnay died, he would lose so much, and so many would lose him. So many people that loved him. Darnay would also lose his whole life that lay ahead of him, he would never see his daughter grow, his wife would be heartbroken, and worst of all, widowed.
“…but what do I have to lose?” he asked me. There was no one in his life that cared for him as a husband or father. I was his only friend, he said. “I must do this, to save a life worth more than a thousand of my own…,” was his last argument.
My last goodbye to him was quick, and short. We both wept and embraced while I gasped for words to persuade him again. I was at a loss for words as he stepped towards the door that stands behind my back at this very moment.
“Charles was to meet death as the 23rd,” he said quietly, and somberly, before stepping through the door and closing it behind him.
The time as I write this is a quarter past three. Another of my tears drops to this page, wetting it through. All I can think is of the glorious times I and Carton had once, but no more.
Thump! I count 22.
Oh Lord! Help me to be bold! Bless his soul! Please my God!
Thump! I count 23…


This post was written by:
J.Dub

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Godliness

In J.I. Packer's excellent book "A Quest for Godliness" he explains: "Godliness, to the Puritans, was essentially a matter of conscience, inasmuch as it consisted in a hearty, disciplined, 'considerate' (thoughtful) response to known evangelical truth, and centered upon the getting and keeping of a good conscience.... It is maintained through life by seeking to do God's will in all things, and by constantly keeping the cross in view."
What godliness is NOT is a set of rules determined by someone else's conscience.
--Queen Lucy

Monday, February 4, 2008

Welcome to Caer Rivendell

In Welsh, caer means a fortress or citadel. It often housed a king and his family as well as his retinue of warriors, monks, scholars, bards, servants, and animals. It could be a smaller kingdom belonging to a larger King.

Rivendell is the name of the house of the elves in The Lord of the Rings series written by J.R.R.Tolkien. Rivendell "was perfect, whether you liked food, or sleep, or work, or story-telling, or singing, or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all."

So welcome to Caer Rivendell! We hope you find a mixture of encouragement, challenge, and food for thought as we labor to build a portion of the kingdom of our LORD.