Wednesday, December 07, 2005

A Wrinkle In Time

I just finished reading A Wrinkle in Time by Madeliene L'Engle, and I loved it. It's about Margaret,Meg, Murry, her remarkable brother, Charles Wallace, their friend Calvin O 'Keefe and their fascinating adventures which take them not only through the Milky Way Galaxy but through others as well as they battle the evil forces of "IT". Throughout this book you meet rather interesting characters including the strange threesome, Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Which and Mrs. Who, and the mysterious creatures whom they befriend on an icy cold planet one of whom is called Aunt Beast. In the end the love of Meg triumphs over IT and she frees her brother from the spell of that evil being.

Several years ago we were reading from some book which had many short stories and chapters from books. One of the stories was the chapter from A Wrinkle In Time titled Aunt Beast in which Meg, Calvin, and Mr. Murry meet the strange creature, Aunt Beast. That chapter fascinated me and I wanted to read the book rather badly. I did not however until the other day. I'm sooo glad that I finally read it. I loved it!!!! One of thing that I thought was really cool was the different dimensions illustrated in the story. Not only 1st, 2nd, and 3rd dimesions are in this book but also 4th and 5th. The fifth dimension is how they travel from planet to planet. The process is also called tessering, a wrinkle in space. A wrinkle in time is also created by the three mrs.s so that the children will not be missed by their mother.

I highly recommend this book and it's sequel. I'm sure the others are very good as well but unfortuantly I have not had a chance to read them yet.

Friday, November 04, 2005

He's going in the river!

A couple of weeks ago I went to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago for a field trip with the some other teens. It was very cool. On the drive down there some of my closest friends and I were in the car together. We are working on writing a "round robin" story together. So we were talking about the story and what we should write about in the near future. One of my friends, Adriana, is rather unromantic. So we were saying that one of the guys in that world should ask her to go to dinner with him. Another of my friends suggested that she should push him into the river (which of course, conveniently, would be right next to them.) To put it in her words, He's going in the river! (Thus we have the title of this entry).
Anyways at about eight or eight thirty we got to the museum. It was pretty cool. First we went to the section about the human body, not my favorite section. Then we went to the place where they had a submarine from WWII. We walked for a while past many interesting things about the sub. But when we finally got to where it was we discovered that to get into the actual thing you would have not only go all the way back up to the entrance but you would also have to pay $5 per person. So we didn't actually go in. (I was very sad.) Next we went to an exhibit about the farm. (It didn't interest me that much.) Then we went to the place titled the fairy castle. It was a minature castle that had been built by a girl, Colleen Moore. She had built and filled it with the coolest things. There were a bunch of things to listen to as you went around the castle. Unfortunatly I didn't get to listen to nearly all of it. But I got bits and pieces. There was, for examples of all the cool things they had: The smallest Bible ever and a splinter of the true cross. But that is only a tiny sample of the amazing things in there. I wish I could have listened to the whole tour, I'm sure it was fascanating. Next we went to the exhibit of a coal mine. There was about a fifteen minute wait and then we were taken into a pitch black elevator and we went down I don't know how far, about three stories I would guess. There we were taken through a fascanating exhibit of a coal mine on which our giude explained many of the functions of the mine as well as how the techniques have devoloped over time. We also got to ride on a man-trip, a sort of train which would probably deafen you after a while. It was cool going on that tour because I had listened to Rocket Boys and that story has alot to do with coal mining. At the end of the tour the tour guide told us some of the bi-products of coal. They include: plastic, toothpaste splenda and I forget what else. At lunch I had a fizzy drink and when I was about halfway done I looked at the side of the can and noticed on of the ingredients, Splenda. I leaned over to my friend who was sitting next to me and pointed at the side. We both started to laugh.

to be continued.........

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

An awesome quote from Tolkien

In The Lord of the Rings there is a quote that I think is really cool. Gandalf is explaining to Frodo the perilous nature of the ring he has inherited. When he hears about how dangerous the ring is Frodo laments,
"I wish the ring had never come to me, I wish none of this had happened." This is the part I like, Gandalf replies, "So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide, all we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us."

I can't even begin to say how many times I have wished I lived in a different age. Wouldn't it have been easier to concentrate on God if you lived Medieval times when there wasn't so much to distract you from Him? Wouldn't it have been simply incredible to have actually met Jesus face to face? Then of course I think of how wonderful it would be to have seen the seven wonders of the ancient world, to have seen the now ruined castles as they once were. How spectacular the pyramids, the coliseum, all those ruins which still look incredible today, just think of how magnificent they must have looked long ago when they were first being built. But no matter how much I dream I can't change what time I live in. That isn't my choice. What I can decide is what to do with the time that God has put me in. I may think that I would have been more useful to him if I had lived in some other time, but somehow, even if I can't see how yet, I can be more useful to God now in the 21st century or else he would have put me in the Middle Ages or in ancient Rome. That is what I should be dreaming about, what I can to for God in this age that he has seen as the time I can be the most effective at whatever He wants me to do. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Advent and Ivory soap

For my spelling today one of my assignments is to write a paragraph about some smell (whiff was the word they want me to practice) and what memeories it brings back. The following is the paragraph I came up with.

Strange as it may sound, a whiff of Ivory soap makes me think of the cozy and peaceful days of Advent last year. It makes me think of those wonderful days of Christmas music, carving soap into Christmas decorations and spending a few days at the KALAHARI with cousins. One Christmas song in particular (Mary Did You Know) is brought to my mind by the plain smell of Ivory soap. It is amazing what commonplace and uninteresting smells can bring back such delightful memories.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Telemachus still Triumphant.

Telemachus was a hermit. God wanted him to stop the martyrdoms in the Coliseum. So Telemachus set out for Rome. He went to the games in the amphitheatre. When the first gladiator fight began Telemachus jumped into the arena and seperated to the two slaves. The people were furious, they began to throw parts of the marble benches at him. They killed him that day, but his sacrifice was not in vain. Since that day there have been no martyrdoms in the Coliseum. Several times pagan emporers tried to start up the games again but were unsuccessful.
Now for the main story. The Goths were pressing in on Rome, for a long time they laid siege to it. Famine and diseases spread. Finally for a brief time the Goths left. But they were soon back. They sneaked into the city and began their terrible work. They were setting many buildings on fire and hundreds of Romans were killed that night, but in the midst of this carnage and destruction is one of the most amazing stories of the Christians in Rome. Although hundreds of citizens died that day, God gave the Goths a respect for the servants of Christ and the Goths did not kill any of them. Their leader told them to save all buildings used for the worship of Christ.
There was a convent in Rome and the Goths had come to take the treasure from there. However a brave old nun told them that this was Gods treasure and they should not take it. Not only did they not steal it but they formed a gaurd around it and the old nun to bring it to the basilica where all the Christians were being taken to keep them safe. The Goths walked through the streets, in the midst of destruction, and joined their voices with those of the Christians singing Hymns to God. As they made their way through Rome many of the Christians heard the familiar Hymns and joined the procession. As far as I know, not one Christian was killed that night.

I thought that was an awesome story and I simply had to blog on it. But it is one of the last stories in the book and so there will be other entries in future about things that happened before this.

Monday, October 17, 2005

The Ides of April by Mary Ray

When Senator Caius Pomponius is found murdered, most likely by one of his slaves, the penalty for all the rest of them is death. However not all of the slaves were arrested that day. The steward was missing and also the young Greek secratary, Hylas, managed to escape. He is helped by a Christian, Varro, and by the son-in-law of the murdered man, a young tribune named Camillus. Hylas is desperate to save the other slaves, particularly his mother, and together they begin to solve the mystery but then Hylas, after finally being missed, is captured and Camilllus has to continue without his help. However he enlists the aid of the former consul and with his help he manages to solve the rest of the mystery and free the innocent slaves.

Monday, October 10, 2005

John Bosco Youth Day 3

After lunch there was about an hour of rock music. During which the group I was with went to confession and did just about everything except be in the large tent where the music was. After that there was more stuff with NET. One guy told us a story about his life. When he was four his father died and he and his mother moved to Las Vegas. As he was getting older he was starting to hang out with the popular group, trying to be popular and not being very respectful to his mother. The night before he was going to go to collage he had a really big fight with his mom. She was crying alot. When she finally stopped crying she told him this story.
Before he was born she had had three miscarraiges. When she found out she was pregnant with him she prayed to God that this would be the child who survived and that if he did, she would give him to God. Now this is the cool part. When she was four months pregnant, she was in Japan, she slipped on some ice and fell, belly first. Seven months pregnant she fell down some steps. And he was alive to tell us about it. That night he prayed to the Holy Spirit and well, seeing as how he is on the NET team everything is rather self-explanitory.

I can't remeber if it was before or after the NET thing a teenage girl came up on the stage, a girl with an amazing story.
One day she had been bitten by a bat. Soon it was discovered that Gina had human rabies. Her parents told her to pray and they also prayed. Gina became one of the five people in the world to have survived human rabies. Out of the thousands of people who get that sickness only FIVE have ever survived. Although it seemed rather difficult for her to talk, it was a miracle that she was even alive today.

At about three o'clock came one of my favorite speakers. His name was Chris (I can't remeber what his last name was.) He began with saying that his friend was getting married in about ten minutes and he asked each of us to say one Hail Mary. He said that if we each said one Hail Mary it would equal a ton of rosaries. So he dialed his friends number and heldup his cell phone and everyone of the 1700 people there said the Hail Mary. That has got to be a very cool message to find on your phone. So anyways his topic was the Mass. He said that for most people Mass is really boring. Then he told us three stories about three very special people who loved the Mass. The first one was Blessed Miguel Pro. He was martyred for bringing the Mass to people. When he was about to be shot he streched out his arms and said "Viva Christo Re". His comment, "Man, that's how I want to die." He then told us how, for the martyr's funeral, thousands of people came out on the streets of mexico, a country where at that time it was illegal to be Catholic, all shouting "Viva Christo Re!" Which means in spanish, Long Live Christ the King.
His next story was about Venerable Solanus Casey. He worked a ton of miracles. He told us the story of his favorite one.
One day a man asked Father Casey to pray for him so that his toothace would stop. Father did and it did. The man said thank you very much, And he gave him two ice cream cones. Father put them in the drawer of some thing he carried around with him. (Not like a freezer drawer, just a plain ordinary drawer!!!!!) A few hours later he was walking down the street, a street lined with people who wanted to see him, when he saw a boy in his mothers arms. The boy could not walk and he cried out to Father to heal him. Father told him to "come over here." The lame boy jumped out of his mothers arms and ran to Father. Father took him on his lap, opened the drawer and took out two unmelted ice cream cones, gave one to the boy and ate the other one. The speaker's comment, "Mr. Incredible has nothing on this guy."
His next story was about Mother Theresa, who really loved the Mass. He told about how she set up a home where she would bring people who were dying in the streets, so that they could die with dignity. His comment, "Spider Man has nothing on this lady."
He then told us about several Eucharistic Miracles. Once when a priest was saying Mass, he started to doubt that the host was really the body of Christ. The host started to bleed on the altar. That priest now has no doubt that it is really the body and blood of Christ.
Then he told us about a host that was examined by an athiest scientist. He found it to be a piece of human flesh, from the heart, blood type AB positive(the same type found on the shroud of Turin), old, but healthy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! His comment "That athiest is now a Catholic, duh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Everyone clapped!!!!!!!!!
I thought his talk was AWESOME. I absolutely LOVED it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
His and Bishop Morlino's were the best.(Archbishop Dolan's sermon was Awesome too.)

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Matyrs of the Coliseum: The Roman General

Placidus was a roman general who, although he was not a Christian, was a good man. One day when he was hunting in the Sabine hills, they found a bunch of stags. Of course they gave chase and Placidus followed the biggest one. While he was following he was excited that he didn't pay attenition to where he was going. After many hours the stag stopped in a valley. From between his antlers a blinding light suddenly shone.
God spoke to Placidus there and he was converted. The next morning he came back to his home and told his wife about the one true God. That night they took their two young sons, ages three and five, to the catacombs to be baptized. These were their new names: Placidus was Eustachius, his wife was now Theopista, and his two sons were Agapius and Theopistan. Their love for God was soon tried. All the servants and animals of their houshold died in a disease and while they were away robbers came and stole all of their belongings. They went on a ship to start a new life in a new land. When they landed Placidus and his children were allowed to go but the evil captain kidnapped Theopista and sailed away with her immediatly. Placidus traveled on with his two sons until he came to a rapid river. There was no way he could take both of the chlidren over at once so, he left the elder one on the bank and began to carry the younger across the stream. When he was very near the opposite bank, he saw with horror a lion come to the boy on the bank and take him away in his mouth. He left the younger on the bank and went to follow the lion.
When he was across he looked back and saw a wolf taking the younger child away in his mouth. Placidus could not move. He knelt down and prayed to God. After kneeling there for a long time he got up and went away.
Fifteen years passed. Placidus was working in some small village. But back in rome Caesar was troubled. In Persia, men were starting to rebel. He needed troops but there were very few experienced soldiers. He remembered his general Placidus and decided to look for him. At last some of his men found him. They persuaded him to come and fight for Rome once more.
Now we must go back to the fate Theopista. God had changed the heart of the evil captain and he had let Theopista off at the next available port. He gave her some money and she bought a small cottage. She had to work very hard to keep it nice, and of course she missed her family terribly.
Ok, back to Placidus. He fought in the wars and gained a wonderful victory for Rome. But he was not the only brave soldier. Two young men in particular, who had met in the wars, worked together wonderfully. Placidus met them and they became friends. Indeed he treated them as he would have treated his lost sons.
On the way back to Rome they stopped in a small village. The three men stayed at the cottage of an old widow.
One day when the two young men were walking in the garden, the elder told the younger the story of his life. When the story was over the younger exclaimed, "Agapius, I believe I am thy brother!!!!!!!!!!" So it was discovered and they went to Placidus and they soon found out that the kind old general was actually their long lost father. Later that day the widow who owned the house came to Placidus and asked him to help her in the search for her family. Then she looked at him and recognized her husband. What a happy day for the reunited family.
In Rome they were expected to sacrafice to the Gods. When they refused it was discovered that they were Christians.
The next day they were brought to the Coliseum. Many wild animals were loosed on them but not one would harm the family. One lion put his head under the foot of the old, unarmed Placidus. Finally after many animals, who once were wild, even ferocious, but now were strangely tame, had been tried loosed on them, they were put in something like a large roasting pan and a fire was lit under them. Although they did die there, their bodies looked as if they were only asleep. That night the Christians stole their remains and buried them.

This is an incredible story, as you can see for yourself. I thought the way the family was reunited sounded sort of like a fairy tale.
Anyways it is a really cool story, and obviously I really liked it.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

John Bosco Youth Day 2

Hi, Adriana here. I'm on Ramiel's computer.
Before Righteous B's talk, he had us play a game called 'Consequences'.
We passed an object up and down the row we were in while a guy played music.
When the music stopped whoever had the object would have to stand up and recieve a consequence. Whenever they got the object while playing they had to stand up and perform the consequence.
The first time I, Ramiel, had to stand up and turn around and do the chicken dance. (Actually it should have been Adriana's but she insited that I do it.)The next time our friend got it and she had to go up to a boy in a different row, grab his head and say,"Does my breath stink?"
She got it again the next time and she had to go up to the front of the tent and do the YMCA. She got all the ones after that. They were: Give three unknown people a noogie and give the announcer a hug. She finally passed it on to me and the game was over.
Immediatly following the Righteous B's talk, the National Evangelization Team (NET) gave a pep talk. It included lots of jiving, cheering, singing and laughing. Then there was a short impromptu speech given by a Dominican Sister on finding your Vocation. After about six minutes of invigorrating one-way conversation with the audience, she dismissed us for lunch (subs, cookies, chips, donuts, fruit, YUM).

Just a quick note: Adriana's compositions are posted in purple and Ramiel's are in blue

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

John Bosco Youth Day 1

I went to John Bosco Youth Day at Holy Hill on Saturday. I went with some of my friends. It was incredible. The person who was introducing all the speakers told us a story about his family.
He and his wife have one child. Before they had that one his wife had eight miscarraiges. When the relics of Saint Therese were traveling around the country they stopped at Holy Hill. His wife went to pray there for a baby. A few months later they found out she was pregnant. The due date was October 1st, the feast day of St. Therese.
The first speaker was the bishop of Madison. His talk was about beauty and truth and that sort of stuff. He was talking about the music that you hear in church and how he didn't like it. He said that it sounded like the music you hear on the radio. He said "You can hear that stuff on the radio anytime, do you have to hear it in Mass?" A few minutes later he said that someone had told him that young people were starting to like Gregorian Chant. Someone in the crowd asked "What is Gregorian Chant?" The Bishop sang the Pater Noster!!!!!!!!!!! Everyone clapped.
He said that he had three points to make. His last one was that Beauty is in the Eye of the beholder (sometimes). An example of when it is, is in the crucifix. To us Catholics it does look beautiful. But to someone who does not know about Christ it looks ugly. Another example was about music. He said that some people love the bad music now days. That is definitely a case where beauty is in the eye (actually in that case, the ear) of the beholder.

After him was a Christian rap/rock guy (whatever that stuff is). His name was Bob______ ( I can't remember what his last name was) but he was called 'Rightous B'.
His music wasn't that great but his talk was pretty cool.
He talked about how he was born a Catholic but didn't really understand what that meant.
They had alot of Catholic pictures around their house and when he had friends over they would ask him who those pictures were of.
He, being slightly embaressed, said that they were 'relatives'.
At last, when he was in highschool, he had everything he wanted, he was homecoming king, he had a really nice car, all this stuff but he still felt incomplete. He finally realized that to fill that gap he needed Jesus. He also told us about another guy, an athlete with a name I can not remember, who had fulfilled all of his goals. He had just won a really important game and he too had everything he thought he wanted but he felt incomplete. He too realized that he needed Jesus. Righteuos B said that that is what everyone needs. If you feel incomplete, that is what you need.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Shakespeare party: Much Ado About Nothing

Last Suday we had the most AWESOME party. We invited our friends over and assigned each one a part in Shakespeare's play, "Much Ado About Nothing" Then we sat down and read the entire play from start to finish.
I, Ramiel, was Ursala and the Second Watch. My friend, Adriana was Hero. My mom was Beatrice-and she did an AMAZING job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! EVERYONE was laughing. My dad was Benidick and he also did an AWESOME job.
The play opens in Messina, Spain. Leonato, a wealthy landlord, and his brother Antonio, along with Leonato's daughter Hero, are awaiting the arrival of the prince, Don Pedro, and his brother, Don John. They are accompanied by two young noblemen, Claudio and Benedick. A messenger comes before them, announcing their approach. Beatrice, Leonato's niece (thus Antonio's daughter), flippantly inquires of said messenger if "Signor Mountanto had returned from the wars?" meaning Benedick, with whom she has always had, in Leonato's phrasology, "a merry war...of wit".

The Lords, (particulary Cluadio and the prince), their group inclination swayed by the presence of Hero and Beatrice, consent to stay in Messina for a Month, at least. That night, at the masquerade contrived for their entertainment, the prince, in disguise, wins Hero's affection for Claudio, and their wedding is set for a week afterward. To while away the time, Don Pedro, with the help of the lovers, sets himself to the task of matchmaking-in short, to make Benedick and Beatrice fall in love. With tons of comedy, they move their mountains-that is, Benedick and Beatrice.
The night before Claudio's wedding, Don John prooves that he can sceme as well (if not better). He brings Claudio and Don Pedro to the street view of Hero's window, there they see Margaret, Hero's maid, dressed in Hero's gown, talking with a strange man!!!!! Thinking it WAS Hero, Claudio gets a trifle angry, and the next day, at the wedding, he tells everyone what he saw, and Hero, being slightly astonished, fainted (as all proper ladies should). The guests leave, and Leonato is on the piont of exiting as well, when Friar Francis, insisting Hero is innocent, discloses an ingenious plan to overthrow the lords' rage. Hero had fainted most convieniently, he pointed out. They ought to pretend she died, then, finding out that he had killed her, Claudio would repent. (Hopefully)
Leonato did as he was told. The lords were, naturally, remorsefull. And moreso when it was discovered (by a very clever constable named Dogberry) that Don John had bribed a common theif to meet Margaret in Hero's room.
Claudio, in atonement, promises to marry Beatrice. but upon seeing his bride at the wedding, finds Leonato had once more given him Hero. They all live happily ever after-startlingly, even Benedick and Beatrice!!!!!:)

Monday, September 26, 2005

All Ye Lands - Q & A - Chapter 5 - Eternal Rome

1. What does SPQR mean? SPQR stands for Senatus Poplulosque Romanus which means the senate and the people of Rome.
2. The Punic Wars were between which rival cities? The Punic wars were fought between Rome and Carthage
3. Who was Hannibal? Hannibal was a general from Carthage who tried to take Rome but after 16 years he was defeated.
4. Who were the opponents in the Roman Civil Wars? The opponents in the Roman Civil wars were the Generals and their private armies.
5. Why did the Roman senators want to kill Julius Caesar? The senators wanted to kill Julius Caesar because they thought he had gained to much power and was becoming to much like a king.
6. What was the Pax Romana and how long did it last? The Pax Romana was the Roman peace and it lasted for about 500 years. 7. Who was Diocletian? Diocletian was a cruel roman emperor who made the worst persuction that had yet exsisted.
8. Approximately how long did the decline of the Roman Empire last? The decline of the roman empire lasted for about 250 years.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare

Daniel hates the romans. Ever since they killed his father his one hope has been to drive them out of Isreal. He is living in the mountains with a gang of thieves who are hoping one day to make the romans leave. Then his grandmother dies and he is forced to leave the mountains to care for his sister. He continues to work for the leader of the band, Rosh, and persuades some other boys in the village to join the cause.Among them is a boy whom he knew while he was in school named Joel. His sister, Malthace, also wants the romans to leave but she does not hate them. The sign of their small band is the bronze bow, mentioned in a part of the book of Enoch that they were reading at the time. Daniel thinks that the verse is wrong. How could anyone bend a bow of bronze?

He goes often to Capernum where Joel lives. Also there is a young rabbi there that Daniel is interested in. He believes that he is the king who lead them in battle against the romans. A few months after they establish their band,
things begin to go wrong. Joel is captured by the Romans. Rosh refuses to help free him. So Daniel and the boys from the town decide to do it.They free Joel but one of them is killed in the process.Then Daniels sister, Leah, becomes very sick. She is almost dead when Malthace brings Jesus to her. Jesus heals Leah and Daniel finds the answer to his question.
The only way to bend the Bronze Bow is with love.He abandons his hate. One way you can tell that he truly has is that he invites the roman soldier who loves his sister to come into there house

I ablsolutely loved this book. The characters are so real.
And the final triumph of love over hate is amazing.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Between the Forest and the Hills

This story by Ann Lawrence, takes place Roman Britain. Actually to be precise it takes place a little bit after that time. Rome is starting to fall and has withdrawn almost all her soldiers from a town called Iscium. Now ,when those soldiers are getting older, a probable barbarian attack threatens to destroy to city. When the time of the attack comes the people of Iscium are able to scare the barbarians with a series of tricks including two talking ravens, a one eyed man, and the clever usage of red cloaks and brass cooking pots. The barbarians agree to leave the city alone if the romans make the chief's daughter better. They accomplish this and a treaty is made between the Saxons and the Romans.

I love the way this book is written, it is really funny.
When the romans are trying to defend themselves from the approaching Saxons there methods of defense are really cool/funny.
Using their brains instead of swords they defeat the barbarians and without losing a single man, woman or child.
One of my favorite characters is Teres, a merchant, whose way of talking always makes me laugh.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Ben-Hur summary

Judah Ben-Hur is a 17 year old Jew at the time of the roman occupation of Judea. His boyhood friend, Messala, comes back from Rome to help to govern the province of Judea. But he is no longer the Messala Judah once knew. He is a Roman now. Judah realizes that they can no longer be friends, and he leaves him.

Later that day he stands on the roof of his house to watch the new govenor parade in. He accidentily knocks a tile from the roof and hits the govenor on the head. The govener, being slightly furious at Judah, sends him to the galleys and his mother and sister are sent to a rather unpleasent prison. All of their possessions,
including their house are taken by the romans. Judah is furious at Messala for doing this and vows to kill him.

Three years later Quintis Arrius takes over the ship that Ben-Hur is rowing in.
They are attacked by pirates and Ben-hur saves Arrius' life. Arrius is very grateful to Ben-Hur and adopts him, making him the heir to all his property.

Five years later Judah arrives in Antioch. There he meets a wealthy merchant named Simonides and his daughter, Esther. Ben-Hur thinks she is very pretty, but he has more important things to think about. He finds out that Simonides is his fathers servant and he asks him where is mother and sister are. Simonides does not know where they are and sorrowfully tells Ben-Hur that he does not know.

Simonides does not say that he believes Ben-Hur or not. Ben-Hur goes away and meets Shiek Ilderim. Shiek Ilderim owns a very fine team of horses and Ben-Hur is an expert charioteer. He asks if he can be Ilderim's charioteer. He knows that Messala will also be in the race and he wishes to humiliate him by winning.

There he meets an Egyptian named Balthazar and his beautiful daughter, Iras. Balthazar was one of the three wise men and he tells Judah that he should forgive Messala. Judah is not ready to do that.

He is quite taken with the beautiful Iras and spends as much time as he can with her.

Simonides has Judah come to him and he tells him that he is indeed his fathers servant and gives his fortune to him. Ben-Hur gives most of it back to him. Simonides than says that the king whom Balthazar had seen long ago, would have need of an army to conquer the romans. He suggests that that is what Ben-Hur should do with his fortune. Ben-Hur agrees.

When the day of the chariot race arrives people from all over the world are there. For a long time Messala has the lead. But he was to close to the wall. His chariot hit the wall and he fell out. Ben-Hur won the race and Messala is without use of his legs, and has lost his fortune from a bet he made that he would win.

In Jerusalem the tribune in charge of the prison finds a cell that has been almost completely blocked up. The only opening was a small one left for feeding the prisoners. I must say that must have been very unpleasent conditions to live in.

He opens it up and finds two women who have leprosy. He gives them clothes and they are brought out of the city. Unknown to him they are Ben-Hur's mother and his sister, Tirzah.

After the chariot race Judah continues his search for His mother and sister. He finds out that they are lepers and believes they have been stoned. So he follows Jesus and begins to gather followers for his army. Amrah, an old servant belonging to the Hurs know where Tirzah and her mother are and she brings food to them every day. She heard Judah talking about how Jesus cured lepers and she brings Tirzah and her mother to a road which Jesus will use to get to Jerusalem. Jesus cures them and Ben-Hur was in the following of Jesus sees them and is reunited with his family.

That friday he follows Jesus up to where he will be crucified. While he was watching along with thousands of other people he finally understands that Jesus will not have his kingdom on earth but in heaven.

Five years later, he is married to Esther and they decide what to do with there fortune.
They built the catacomb of San Calixto.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Books I read this summer

The Books I read this summer were:

The Two Towers By J.R.R.Tolkien
The Return of the King By J.R.R.Tolkien
The Harry Potter Series By J.K. Rowling
Flight into Spring by Bianca Bradburry
Father Damien and the Bells ( a Vision Book)
Ann of Green Gables By L.M. Montgomery
A Long Way from Welcome By Echo Lewis
The Silmarillion By J.R.R.Tolkien
The Perilous Gard By Elizabeth Marie Pope
Beorn the Proud By Madeline Poland
The Lost Baron By Allen French

Other Books that I highly recomend

The Lord of the Rings By J.R.R.Tolkien
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy (The other books in that series are also highly recomended)
The Shadow of the Bear By Regina Doman
Black as Night By Regina Doman (The sequel to Shadow of the Bear.)
Enemy Brothers By Constance Savery
Sun Slower, Sun Faster By Meriol Trevor
Pride and Predjudice By Jane Austen
The Father Brown series By G.K.Chesterton
The Ballad of the White Horse By G.K.Chesterton
The Borrowed House By Hilda Van Stockum
The Chronicels of Narnia By C.S.Lewis
Ben~Hur By General Lew Wallace

The Bronze Bow By Elizabeth George Speare
A Wrinkle In Time By Madeliene L'Engle
A Wind in the Door By Madeliene L'Engle
A Swiftly Tilting Planet By Madeliene L'Engle
Many Waters By Madeliene L'Engle
Any Shakespeare play
All Bethlehem Books
Anything by G.K.Chesterton

The Ballad of the White Horse by G.K. Chesterton 1

I still have not read the Ballad of the White Horse but I have read little parts of it.
I am going to read it all the way through soon.
This is one of my favorite parts which is also in The Shadow of the Bear by Regina Doman:

The Men of the East May spell the stars
and times and triumphs mark
But the men signed of the Cross of Christ
Go gaily in the dark.

The other part is much longer.
This is it's setting.

King Alfred is fighting a losing battle with the Danes.
He is disguised as a poor singer and is in the enemy camp.
Many Danish lords perform their songs or poems for the king
After they had finished King Alfred disguised as the beggar asks to perform.
This is his song:

When God put man in a garden
He girt him with a sword
And sent him forth a free knight
that might betray his Lord,

He brake him and betrayed him
And fast and far he fell
Till you and I may stretch our necks
And burn our beards in hell,

But though I lie on the floor of the world
With the seven sins for rods
I would rather fall with Adam
Than rise with all your gods,

What have the strong gods given,
Where have the glad gods lead?
When Guthrum sits on a hero's throne
And asks if he is dead,

Sirs I am but a nameless man,
A rhymster without a home
But since I come of the Wessex clay
And carry the cross of Rome,

I will even answer the mighty Earl
that asked of Wessex men
Why they be meek and monkish folk
and bow to the white Lord's broken yoke
What sign have we save blood and smoke
Here is my answer then:

That on you is fallen the shadow
And not upon the name
That though we scatter and though we fly
And you hang over us like the sky
You are more tired of victory
Then we are tired of shame,

That though you hunt the Christian man
Like a hare on the hillside
The hare has still more heart to run
Then you have heart to ride,

That though all lances split on you
All swords be heaved in vain
We have more lust again to lose
then you to win again,

Your lord sits high in the sadle
A broken hearted king
But our king Alfred lost from fame
Fallen among foes or bonds of shame
In I know not what mean trade or name
Has still some song to sing,

Our monks go clothed in rain and snow
But the heart of flame therein
But you go clothed in feasts and flames
While all is ice within,

Nor shall all iron dooms make dumb
Men wondering ceaslessly
If it be not better to fast for joy
Then feast for misery,

Nor monkish order only
Slides down as field to fen
All things achieved and chosen pass
As the white horse fades in the grass
No work of human man,

Ere the sad gods that made your gods
Saw their sad sunrise pass
The white horse of the white horse vale
That you have left to darken and fail
Was cut out of the grass,

Therefore your end is on you
On you and on your kings
Not for a fire in Elly fen
Not that your gods are nine or ten
But because it is only christian men
Guard even heathen things,

For our God hath blessed creation
Calling it good I know
What spirit with whom you blindly band
Hath blessed destruction with his hand
Yet by God's death the stars shall stand
And the small apples grow.

Friday, September 09, 2005

The Gospel of Luke 2

Once when Jesus was talking to His disciples he told them that they did not
have to be afraid of not having enough to eat or enough of anything else that they needed.
He said that the birds did not starve or run out of what they needed and they did not store up food. He said that we are much more important then the birds and so God will provide for us if we ask him.
I thought this was a cool thing to think about. You don't have to be afraid of starvation or of not having enough to live on. If you ask God for help he will answer you somehow.
But it will usually be in a way you don't expect.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Gospel of Luke 1

I have been reading the Gospel of Luke. The way it is written is not always very easy to understand. Many of the storyies are about the many miracles Jesus performed. Also there are many about His parables and the many sinners that he forgave. He drove out many demons who were possessing people. In one case it was a child who was possessed.