Saturday, January 29, 2011

Bad Books, Bad Books, What You Gonna Do?

So, what do you do when the Book your reading is BAD? This is a tough one for me. You see I'm reading this book right now, the one that Oprah said "Might just be the best novel you've EVER read!" Um . . . not so much! It's terrible. Nasty & vulgar in my opinion. What could she have possible been thinking? So, what's the big dilemma? you ask. Well, I guess I'm the glass is half full kind of person, I keep thinking this book has got to get better. What if it turns out to be really great & life changing and I put it down too soon? So, I keep reading. And almost always, it's still just a really bad book in the end. :( I'm now just skimming pages, trying to get it over with. I don't have a lot of free time & I hate to waste any of it on a bad book, when there are so many good ones out there, just waiting to be read!

Recently I was reading another book by an author who I've read many books by & really like. But this particular story line just didn't interest me. I did stop reading it. It was turned into a made for T.V. movie, so I thought I'll see the movie and if I like it I'll finish the book. The movie was okay, but nothing that would make me pick the book back up. So I'll have a couple of books to take into Half Price Books & trade in for new ones! Do you stop reading a book if it's bad? Or do you suffer through? And how far into a book do you have to be to determine if you will keep reading it or put it down? I love the thrill of starting a new book! The expectation. But, I hate the disappointment when it's bad. I can't wait to see what I'm going to read next. It's gotta be better than this one!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The N Word (or racism through the generations)

On MLK day earlier this month, I saw on Twitter someone had posed the question: Are we living Dr. King's Dream? It got me thinking. (I even stole the idea & posted it myself! Don't tell) :) Awhile ago when my Book Club was reading the book The Secret Life of Bees, which is a really good book BTW! I also bought the movie based on the book to watch during that time. And watching the movie brought up a family discussion, one we've had a few times throughout the years, a conversation regarding the "n" word.

I remember when my boys were younger & I heard that word come out of my oldest son's mouth. I immediately stopped them & let them know they are not allowed to use that word. It's bad. He had picked it up from his black friends. And wanted to know, why was it bad if they we're using it themselves? And if rappers use it in their own songs. I explained it to them like this: You call your brother names sometimes, like idiot, jerk, etc. don't you? (they of course had to say yes) But, if you were to hear someone else call him those same names, you would stand up for him & make them stop, wouldn't you? (again it was yes) We'll if black people choose to use that word, that is their right. But, when anyone outside of their race uses it, it is degrading. It's only used to make the person using it feel superior & to make the person it's used against feel inferior, or "less than" and why would you ever want to make someone feel that way? For the first time they understood, and have never used the word again.

Books and movies set in that time period when people didn't know better is still hard to take. My son asked his father & I while watching this movie, if we had ever heard our dads use that word. And unfortunately we both had to say yes. Though it was when we were both children, and not in recent years. But I explained to my son; Our parents generation didn't know any better. Our generation learned better! So Your generation can just Know better!

We had a similar conversation on this topic when they had to read Huckleberry Finn for school. On The View recently they were talking about how there is a movement to remove the n word from the book. It is very hard for me to read that word, but like Whoopie Goldberg said on The View, I don't know how I feel about people taking Mark Twain's (or any writers) work & changing it. Though I wish that word didn't exist & wasn't in this book, or any book for that matter. We have lived in city's with a high population of African Americans, Cajun's, and a large Hispanic population, & I wouldn't have it any other way. I would never want my kids in an all white school or Church if it could be helped. Variety is the spice of life! And my prayer is that, like Dr. King's dream, we can all live together. And learn to appreciate our differences. I've always loved traveling and learning about other cultures that are different from ours. And I hope I have instilled that in my kids as well. We have so much to learn from each other.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Censorship In Parenthood

The other day my 19 year old son asked me why when he was in 7th grade I made him explain to me what each lyric of a song he was listening to meant, and really watched what music he was listening to, and now that his younger sisters are in 7th grade, I let them listen to Katy Perry? (My first thought was because I like Katy Perry, and the music you were listening to; um, not so much! Though I didn't say that.) :) What I told him was, it's because girls don't think in the same ways that boys do, and like it or not, there is a double standard!

I do censor (for lack of a better word) not only the music my kids listen to, but also the books I allow them to read & the T.V. shows & movies they see. As you know I've just recently let my girls start reading the Twilight books, though they have been wanting to read them since they came out. I just thought they needed to wait until they were a little bit older. We also started watching The Secret Life Of The American Teenager when it first came out. And we really liked it. It opened up a lot of really great & needed conversations. But, it started getting too raunchy. So I explained to my daughters that we wouldn't be watching it any more & why. They understood & didn't even protest.

I remember once when my girls were little & we had just moved to a new state, a lady from our new Church came over to help us move in & she had two little girls herself, and told my girls we'd have to set up a play date. Then she asked my angelic looking little preschool aged Twins what were some of their favorite movies. One of my girls blurted out "Jurassic Park 3!" That Mom, looked at me & back at my girls & said "I see we'll have to have a discussion about what movies can & can't be viewed." I just simply reminded her that, unlike her girls, they have 2 older brothers! :)

I don't consider myself to be overly strict in this area, but there are times my kids may disagree with me on that. There is a great website we use when deciding on movies for our kids. It's called Kids In Mind Movie Ratings and it literally tells you every thing that you may even consider remotely "iffy." Like which swear words, if any, are in the movie & how many times each are said. It goes scene by scene & lets you know any real, or perceived, violence, sexual content or insinuations, etc. Even when my boys got older, they would tell me about a movie they wanted to see & would just let me know what Kids In Mind said about it after looking it up themselves. I highly recommend it.

I would love for you to share with us, what do you censor for your kids, and why?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New Year, New Books!

People who Love me know that I Love to Read, & that I Love Books! As I'm sure, does anyone who reads my Blog! I guess you could say I am an open book! :) So for the Holidays I received some books. (One of my favorite gifts!) The hard part is always deciding which one to read first! A good problem to have in my opinion.

My oldest son, Kyle bought me a large volume containing 7 Jane Austin Novels! Love her, but I've only ever read Pride & Prejudice. It's such a nice addition to my collection of books. My other son, Zach got me the book Lisa Ling wrote with her sister who was captured in North Korea, I've been wanting to read it & of course picked it out myself! :)

What I decided to read first is a book my Husband got me, that was the Oprah's Book club selection! Freedom By: Jonathan Franzen. An epic family saga that Oprah calls Exquisite, a Masterpiece. Says it will be "one of the best novels you have ever read." That is saying a lot coming from Oprah. But, if you look it up on Amazon it has just as many 1 star reviews as it has 5 star reviews. Interesting. I guess it could go either way. We'll see. I'll let you know.

And I can't wait to tell you about this next book! I'm so excited! When I first started Blogging I joined a couple of Blog groups. One of them was called Blogs Around the World. They would feature a different Blog each day & everyone would go read that Blog & comment. I "met" many interesting people from all around the world. But 1 in particular I really connected with. A young Blogger from The Philippians commented on my Blog the day I was featured. And I on hers the day she was featured. To look at us we didn't have much in common. Here I am in the states, raising 4 kids & trying to find the humor in life. She, living a much more glamorous life, traveling & finding the beauty the world has to offer. But we really hit it off & genuinely just liked each other. We continued to read each others Blogs & leave our comments. Even becoming Facebook friends! I think to her, I was an anomaly, having had a grandfather, I believe, who was a minister, she couldn't believe I, as a Pastor's wife, celebrate Christmas with Santa Clause & like U2! And I got to live vicariously through her fun & fashionable lifestyle!

Though we've never met in real life I consider her my friend. Her name is Charity. I've Blogged about her when her country was dealing with devastating floods. She writes Beautiful poetry & short stories. You should check it out here. (and there is always a link to her Blog on my sidebar) Well she recently had a book of her poetry published! How Awesome is that?! I'm so proud of her. I told my husband I wanted Charity's book for my Birthday. So, being the good husband that he is, he ordered it for me. I unwrapped it on Christmas night (which happens to be my Birthday!) & was looking through it. And as I read the Acknowledgments in the front of the book, in the very first sentence I find this: "My deepest gratitude to Koe Whitton-Williams and Jilly Nines for helping to make me a little wonderful, Star Forbis, Joy C. Brasington, Stacey R. Cannon for supporting my writings for so long and for encouraging me and loving me always," Wow! there it is, my name! I couldn't believe it. Zach said "wow mom, your the first one of us to get our name in a published book! your famous!" :) I couldn't believe it when I read it. I'm so honored. And I haven't really done anything other than like her & her writing. Which trust me, both of those things come easy. I know you will love her too.

It's a beautiful book, called The Sun Is Snowing, Poetry & Prose by C. JoyBell C. It's one I know you will want to have. And not just because my name happens to be in it! :) Some day Charity & I will meet face to face, and I will have her autograph my book for me! Here's a link to order it for yourself. I know you will love it & her as much as I do.

Tell me what you are reading this year!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

My Top 10 Of 2010!

The New Year is always a time to look back & reflect on where you've been, & also to look forward to where you are going. And in doing that I've come up with a Top 10 list to celebrate the year that was 2010! It was a very hard year to get through, in that both my Husband & I lost our jobs. But we made it! And some really incredible things happened along the way!

1. My Baby Boy, Kyle tuned 20 years old!

2. Zach Graduated from High School!

3. Lexi & Erica started Jr. High School.

4. We had a wonderful California Vacation!

5. I Closed my Store down!

6. We met Danny Gokey!

7. My Baby Girls became Teenagers!

8. I got a new job!

9. I was given a Car!

10. John got a new job & we all got a new Church!

What's some of the things that would make your top 10 list
for the year 2010?