March Book Madness! Day 8, The Bhagavad Gita, Translated By Eknath Easwaran

Book Details

Philosophy and Religion

The Bhagavad Gita is the most famous poem in all of Hindu literature and part of the Mahabharata, the ancient Indian epic masterpiece. The Gita (in Sanskrit, “Song of the Lord”) consists of a dialogue between Lord Krishna and Prince Arjuna on the morning of a climactic battle. Krishna provides Arjuna with the spiritual means to understand his own nature so that he can take action and prevail. However, the larger canvas painted in the poem is that of the moral universe of Hinduism. As translator Eknath Easwaran, one of the world’s premier teachers of meditation and spirituality, notes “The Gita does not present a system of philosophy. It offers something to every seeker after God, of whatever temperament, by whatever path. The reason for this universal appeal is that it is basically practical: it is a handbook for self-realization and a guide to action.

Goodreads Overview

Discerning, Insightful, and Well Translated

Two of my favorite classes in college were Eastern Philosophies and Meditation and A History Of India. I’ve always had a special place in my heart for fictional and nonfictional books based in India, but it wasn’t until college I understood why. It all became clear once I read Easwaran’s translation of The Bhagavad Gita from the Mahabharata. I realized many of the teachings expounded by the figure Krishna mirror many of my Christian beliefs. This cemented in my mind with particular clarity all people in the world have more in common than they think. 

The Narrative

Easwaran separated his book in two parts.

  • An explanation of core teachings in the epic poem along with special clarification on the Gita’s history
  • An easy to follow translation of the Gita

I especially enjoyed reading Easwaran’s descriptions and explanations of Hindu beliefs illustrated by Arjuna’s conversation with Krishna. Because I studied historical research in college, I ate up this first section and made many written connections between Christian and Hindu beliefs. I wondered about the ancient history behind the Mahabharata and how its teachings evolved over time. It was almost as if there were echoes of an older religion, forgotten and lost over a millennia.

Teachings Which I Found Most Intriguing

  • Atman, or the divine core of personality. Practicing yoga daily reminds me that I am a divine and eternal being. In the Bhagavad Gita so much of one’s choices hinge on how clearly they see their Atman. If one understands they are divine, their actions change and they strive to live a more balanced life. I’ve been taught this all my life, so seeing it written and explained in this book gave me such joy!
  • Karma, every event is a cause and an effect. I am a firm believer that what each person does has consequences, especially concerning matters of marriage, love, and education. I’ve often pondered how God, who honors man’s freedom to choose, must feel watching his children fall victim to poor decisions. I’m not a mother yet but I often think how I will teach my children this principle.
  • Tamas, Rajas, and Sattva, Non-Activity, Unbridled Activity and Balanced Activity. This principle is a little more complicated. Actions influenced by Tamas are made without awareness but with ignorance. There is no desire to grow. It is living life wallowing through a cold river. There is no passion. Rajas are the exact opposite. It is like making decisions, fast-paced with no thought to any damage it can have on others. It is like running at full speed and spreading fire through every step. Sattva is mindful decision-making through balanced evaluation and thought of people. Studying these three principles helped me understand how to balance my actions and make a bigger difference in the world.

Who is this book for?

If there is anyone who loves to do yoga and study deeper ways to grow in their practice, I would recommend reading this book. Lovers of Indian History will also appreciate Easwaran’s clear explanations and translation. I loved reading this book because I felt better connected to different religions around the world. I like to believe each religion carries snippets of truth that can benefit the world. Our job is to look and find them.

I won’t rate this book because it is a historical and religious work.

Favorite Quotes

No one who does good work will ever come to a bad end, either here or in the world to come.

The peace of God is with them whose mind and soul are in harmony, who are free from desire and wrath, who know their own soul.

He who has let go of hatred
who treats all beings with kindness
and compassion, who is always serene,
unmoved by pain or pleasure,

free of the “I” and “mine,”
self-controlled, firm and patient,
his whole mind focused on me —
that is the man I love best.

Lord Krishna

We are not cabin-dwellers, born to a life cramped and confined; we are meant to explore, to seek, to push the limits of our potential as human beings. The world of the senses is just a base camp: we are meant to be as much at home in consciousness as in the world of physical reality.

Thank you for reading! See you tomorrow!

March Book Madness! Day 7, Charlie N. Holmberg’s Followed By Frost (2015) 4/5

March Book Madness! Day 9, Tag Tuesday: Top 5 Books I Wish I Had Read When I Was Younger

We Must Believe and Expect the Best of Ourselves: Day 12

Recently, my friend asked me a very jarring question. She asked, “If your parents weren’t so strong in their religion and marriage, do you think you would still be active in your religion?”

This is what I call a “What if. . . ” type of question. It has no right or wrong answer and it lies within the philosophical world of impossibility. This question did cause me to reflect deeply on the decisions which brought me where I am now.

I really am lucky. I have had hardships in my life, but one of the greatest blessings I have is my childhood with my parents and siblings. For those who don’t know, I have six siblings. We all have our fair share of stubborn habits and mindsets, but I believe we are all firmly set as good people. We had the greatest privilege to witness for ourselves what happens when parents love each other and nurture each of their children.

Now, my parents aren’t perfect. But they are loving and they helped me know what I want for myself.

So, thinking on my parents and all they gave me, it is hard for me to know what I would be like without them or my home life. But a loving home and good examples are not enough to define the character of an individual soul.

I can think of many instances where I had the opportunity to turn away from all I believe.

There were the turbulent years between the age of 10 and 13, when my family faced a great personal challenge I can’t readily discuss. Suffice it to say, I felt my whole world would crumble away because of the confusion and pain we all felt.

When I was in middle school, my classmates, especially the boys, bullied me mercilessly and it took years for me to really believe I was beautiful. Many of them went to church with me.

When I first started college, I was in an apartment with roommates who did not make smart or moral decisions concerning dating and other things.

There were multiple lost loves, lonely days, mental and emotional struggles, and crushed hopes which in retrospect could have turned me onto a different life course. But that didn’t happen.

I don’t think it was necessarily because of in the moment dramatic declarations of belief. It came from the small every day decisions. It reminds me of an analogy I heard at my sister Amanda’s graduation. Though I don’t know the course, I remember its principle.

The speaker stated in summary, “Imprison a man behind a wall of opposition and he will do all he can to escape from it. But may that same man draw a circle about himself of moral principles and never dare cross it.” This touched me deeply when I heard it. I wondered if I had done the same thing for myself. In that moment, I knew I had.

Having this in my mind, I told my friend who asked me the aforementioned question, “I have always believed in God and His commandments. It is second nature to me. Since I was young I decided I would be obedient and so I was. It was what I wanted to do.”

I remember being eight years old and being baptized. I was so excited and knew as young as I was the decision I made was right. I remember forgiving my brother and realizing with gratitude I had a spiritual gift of forgiveness. I remember so many small precious moments where I prayed and knew God heard me. The thing about these times is it is so hard for me to adequately express their impact in my life.

In order to understand them, I have taken time in my life to sit still and reflect on how I felt in these moments. I know I am where I am now because I believed in myself and in God’s promises. I can see it in how I treat others and myself. I can see it in my hopes for the future. I can see it in how I view my past self.

Now we come to the title of my post. I have a firm belief every person is capable of great good and evil. Before the fact, we must firmly set in our minds the image of our success against evil. It isn’t a matter of “what if. . . ” as it is “I will. . . “. If we give in to hardship or evil it will not be because we did not have to ability to fight and conquer, but because we had not predetermined the worth and strength of our soul. Especially when enhanced by our love for and belief in God and the Savior.

Before we face the inevitable temptations and trials of life, whether it is divorce, wayward children, disease, death, natural disaster or peer pressure to give in to contemporary ideas, we must believe we will be strong enough to withstand it.

We must believe the best of ourselves. We must expect our souls are bright enough to withstand anything. The truth is we are strong enough. Only we decide the limits on our eternal potential.

Thanks for reading.

“I Know (God) Loveth his Children, nevertheless I don’t know the I do not know the meaning of all things.” : My thoughts on the protests at BYU

Dan wilson

As many of you know, there are currently protests being held at BYU concerning its standing on its Honor Code, specifically for those who identity as LGBTQ. I learned about what had happened a few weeks ago when the changes to the Honor code first came about. Basically, in order to correct a misunderstanding, BYU reaffirmed its stance on Homosexual and other behaviors for its students. Elder Paul V. Johnson stated in his letter, “Same-sex romantic behavior cannot lead to eternal marriage and is therefore not compatible with the principles in the honor code.” 

Later, the church issued this statement in response to rallies happening on temple square. “The teachings of the church and the policies of our universities are consistent with eternal principles, and seek to encourage and strengthen relationships that lead to eternal covenants made with God . . . The church and its leaders continue to teach that though there may be disagreement on an issue or policy, we should treat one another with love, respect and kindness.”

This has been so hard for me because I know there are many people, leaders and students combined who are suffering right now. There are so many voices pushing and pulling us in so many directions. These policies, in light of social reforms we now face seem very unfair, biased and cruel. So many ask, “Why don’t we have the right to express our feelings?” I have many friends who have petitioned for me to join with them in gaining support for their LGBTQ friends who are protesting.

I have pondered this very deeply and have come to a very concrete conclusion. We must support our leaders in their decisions and continue forward in faith. I feel very strongly the adversary is trying his absolute hardest to discredit our leaders and make us believe they are not inspired in their decisions, decisions which have come with much prayer and faith.

I talked to my father about this very issue several days ago. He told me, “Things are going to get worse before they get better, but God’s laws and commandments will not change even as society does. It is up to us individually to choose whose side we are on. There are not as many fence sitters now as there used to be.”

I would recommend several talks/speeches which have come out recently. First, President Nelson’s BYU Speech “The Love and Laws of God“. Second, President Dallin H. Oaks talk “Two Great Commandments“. Lastly, Elder Cook’s BYU-Hawaii address “The Eternal Importance of Righteous Choices“. I will pull from all three of these as I continue. I wish to emphasize these basic truths.

President Nelson at General Coonference

I. “Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same” (Doctrine and Covenants 1:38): When our leaders speak on matters of doctrine, God speaks

When we question the decisions our leaders make based on doctrine set by the church we essentially question God’s decisions. President Nelson said in his BYU speech from last year, “Truth is based upon the laws God has established for the dependability, protection, and nurturing of His children. Eternal laws operate in and affect each of our lives, whether we believe them or not.”

Our leaders have established these truths on Celestial Marriage out of love, not hate.

I think it is very easy to feel victimized when our opinions are put in opposition to the words of those in authority. History is ripe with examples of unrighteous dominion. The reality though in our day is this. Those who are our leaders are imperfect people trying to do the best they can. These imperfect people, make critical decisions which affect all of us. Bishops have to daily hold interviews with those who have made wrong decisions. For BYU church leaders, they must make decisions in compliance to educational policies and the Lord’s policies. For President Nelson and the Apostles they must regularly speak on God’s standards and commandments.

They do this because they love us. God himself said, “For this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” (Moses 1:39) In order for God’s plan of happiness to go forth, he appoints leaders to speak for him to establish very plainly what we as a people must do. This at times is very hard to accept and must be taken and followed by faith. President Nelson said,

In doing so, sometimes we are accused of being uncaring as we teach the Father’s requirements for exaltation in the celestial kingdom. But wouldn’t it be far more uncaring for us not to tell the truth—not to teach what God has revealed?

President Nelson, The Love and Laws of God

The real answer is they can’t. If they did make decisions contrary to the laws which God has set they would lose their position and God would call others to take their place. For it is as President Nelson said, “Thus our commission as apostles is to teach nothing but truth. That commission does not give us the authority to modify divine law.”

We all have something we struggle with and try to understand. That is why we have leaders to guide us.

2. President Nelson and other church leaders have made it very clear what God’s standard is.

Here is what President Nelson recently said not six months ago.

In recent years, many countries, including the United States, have legalized same-sex marriage. As members of the Church, we respect the laws of the land and abide by them, including civil marriage. The truth is, however, that in the beginning—in the beginning—marriage was ordained by God! And to this day it is defined by Him as being between a man and a woman. God has not changed His definition of marriage.

I don’t know everything. I don”t understand why so many struggle with different sexual attractions or other matters of identity. But I trust our church leaders and believe Christ is at the head.

3. God has set his standard out of love and to protect us from eternal consequences.

I believe there are issues and consequences hidden within these behaviors which are of eternal significance. Just because it is not readily apparent doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Now is the time to really think about WHAT we believe, especially concerning the nature of eternal families and personal salvation. It s as President Nelson said,

My dear brothers and sisters, divine laws are God’s gifts to His children. Just as our family’s rules kept our children safe as they grew to adulthood, just as divine laws governing the heart and the flight of airplanes keep you safe on an operating table or while traveling, abiding by God’s laws will keep you safe as you progress toward eventual exaltation. Let me say it as succinctly as I can: As you abide by God’s laws, you are progressing toward exaltation.

-President Russell M. Nelson, The Love and Laws of God

Perhaps we as of yet do not fully understand the true principle of eternal marriage beyond what we see. I think it becomes easier as time moves on, we grow in maturity and see for ourselves the fruits of living a righteous life.

I loved the quote from Harry Emerson Fosdick Elder cook shared in his speech entitled “The Eternal Importance of Righteous Choices.

“The tragic evils of our life are so commonly unintentional. We did not start out for that poor, cheap goal. That aim was not in our minds at all. … That is why the road to hell is always paved with good intentions, and that is why I am not celebrating high ideals, lofty aims, fine purposes, grand resolutions, but am saying instead that one of the most dangerous things in the world is to accept them and think you believe in them and then neglect the day-by-day means that lead to them. Ah, my soul, look to the road you are walking on! He who picks up one end of a stick picks up the other. He who chooses the beginning of a road chooses the place it leads to. It is the means that determines the end.”

Harry Emerson Fodsick, Living Under Tension (1941)

I hope we can all choose to continue forward in faith and not choose the more dangerous path. Sometimes harmful behavior is composed as a cry for allowing man his innate freedoms. Sometimes great evil is painted as the greater good for all mankind. But evil works lead to immediate gratification and satisfaction. Righteousness builds brick by brick the eternal and consequential.

“Loud Voices” Pete Wills

4. It is hard not to give in to pressures to accept new social reforms, but we must stand firm with what God has told us.

I am grateful we understand LGBTQ matters better and turn more and more towards those involved with love and understanding rather than apathy and shame. But I have learned especially lately how it is hard to support individuals in their trials and not be forced to conform to their beliefs so they can feel more comfortable. Peer pressure lately to give in and let go of old ideas on marriage and love has been so strong.

I love what President Oaks said last General Conference, “This means we are commanded to love everyone, since Jesus’s parable of the good Samaritan teaches that everyone is our neighbor. But our zeal to keep this second commandment must not cause us to forget the first, to love god with all our heart, soul and mind.”

This means if God tells us his standards for Celestial Marriage we must not forget them in light of sometimes louder voices pushing us to accept the opposite. But this doesn’t mean we become hateful, rude or toxic in how we talk about other people. No matter what they choose to do.

5.. We must choose to believe and move forward with faith even if we don’t understand all aspects of God’s laws.

Sometimes people call obedience “following blindly”. In my mind, I can think of no better being to follow blindly then God and the leaders he has chosen. But it is difficult to do so when one is so directly and negatively affected by God’s standards.

I speak from experience. For the longest time I have struggled with the principle of polygamy and why the Lord established it among his people. I have read countless articles, talks and other materials on the matter. But still in my heart it is something which has bothered me since I was old enough to understand. The root of my fear lies in difficult thoughts on what it would mean for me if I were asked to live it.

Through many prayers, tears and councils with my father and leaders I have put my feelings on the matter aside. Does it mean I understand polygamy, especially as a principle of mercy and love? No. But I know God loves his children and I am okay not fully understanding everything yet.

6. Lastly, if we want to know the truth of these things, we must seek out answers for ourselves.

I want to echo what President Nelson said again. He says it so much better then I do.

My dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to seek earnestly a confirmation from the Spirit that what I have told you is true and is from the Lord. He has declared that we may seek knowledge from heaven and expect to receive it: “If thou shalt ask,” the Lord promised, “thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge.”13

Ask your Heavenly Father if we truly are the Lord’s apostles and prophets. Ask if we have received revelation on this and other matters. Ask if these five truths are, in fact, true.

President Nelson

I am very sorry I cannot support many of you at this time. But I have made my decision. I really hope all of us can find peace amidst all of this and feel God’s love despite the confusion and sorrow.

To have Divine Worth: Day 2

(No glasses. now you all know what I look like without them.)

Whenever I find myself trying to understand self love, I reflect on earlier teachings from my childhood. For those who do not know, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. One of the main teachings we learn since we are very young is that we are children of God, with a divine nature and incredible potential.
The definition of divine is, according to google dictionary, “of, from, or like God or a god”. Worth is “ the level at which someone or something deserves to be valued or rated.” Therefore, whenever I would hear I had divine worth, they meant I came from God. This is an incredible concept. It is as Elaine Cannon once said, “There are two important days in a woman’s life: The day she is born and the day she finds out why.” (SOURCE)
But as it happens, because I have heard this for so long and SO MANY TIMES I forget the magnitude this small truth has. This is because such beautiful truths tend to become lost amidst louder more persuasive voices. Since I was a teenager, this has been especially hard for me. It was hard to think of myself having divine worth when so many voices in and outside my head screamed the very opposite.

They tell me how to be beautiful, as if I am not already. They tell me how to talk, act, “fit in”, find love, become a successful adult, etc in order to become someone of value.

There is the key. One of the worst lies we tell ourselves, myself included, is there is so much we need to do in order to gain worth, to be something of value.

For myself, it has always been “I am not my ideal body size or image of beauty. And until I achieve it I am not good enough. . . for myself or others.”
Former President Thomas Monson said, “We are surrounded by persuasive voices, beguiling voices, belittling voices, sophisticated voices, and confusing voices. I might add that these are loud voices.” (source) I also think we are often one of the loudest voices putting ourselves down and limiting our perspective.

But the truth is this. As Rosemary Wixom said “Our divine nature has nothing to do with our personal accomplishments, the status we achieve, the number of marathons we run, or our popularity and self-esteem. Our divine nature comes from God. It was established in an existence that preceded our birth and will continue on into eternity.” (source)

We come from a God, who made us after his image, gave us this earth and loves us perfectly. THAT makes all the difference. At least, it does for me.

As Victor Hugo wrote, ““The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves—say rather, loved in spite of ourselves.”

For myself, I feel I should ponder deeper who I REALLY am and build myself up. What does give me strength is to know God and Jesus Christ love me and understand me. This means they know my weaknesses but it also means they know the goodness in me and the GREATNESS.

My Favorite Movies: 30-21

More and more animated films will leak onto my list. Just a heads up. 

  
30. Rebecca (1940)

This is one of the few times where I loved the movie more then the book. Based on French author Daphne du Maurier’s novel Rebecca, many critics and Hitchcock fans consider this film to be one of Alfred Hitchcock’s best. I have to agree with them. It is the way Hitchcock handled the material. He changed the ending and kept the main antagonist Rebecca hidden throughout. Not even a picture of the chilling beauty appeared. 
  

The tragedy of this story is the fate of the main character, the new Mrs. De Winter. Despite her love, there was the nagging omen Rebecca causing her to doubt her worth. By the end, it is too late to bring back her far away lost look and innocence. The love story takes a long time to unfold but by its end it feels so real. Not everything is what it’s seems but that is where the brilliance shines the better.  

Favorite Quote(s): 

1. Maxim de Winter: I can’t forget what it’s done to you. I’ve been thinking of nothing else since it happened. It’s gone forever, that funny young, lost look I loved won’t ever come back. I killed that when I told you about Rebecca. It’s gone. In a few hours, you’ve grown so much older.

2. Maxim de Winter: You thought I loved Rebecca? You thought that? I hated her!

3. Mrs. de Winter: [about her father] He had a theory that if you should find one perfect thing, or place or person, you should stick to it. Do you think that’s very silly? 

Maxim de Winter: No, I’m a firm believer in that myself.

 
29. Life of Pi (2012) 

This film is impossible to make without computer effects. Yet, it does not feel computer generated. The story is meant to make you believe in God. I think “make” is the wrong word. There is nothing in this world that can make one believe in God and stay true to Him. No, it does it into another way. But that is the personal journey. 
  

It is rare for a film to be so openly spiritual. Yet, I believe there is beauty hidden in it if only people will lift their eyes from the shield of doubt. It is obvious why I love this story so. To believe takes an open heart. And those  who go through such hard trials come out the stronger if they endure it well. I know to believe is not popular but when has popularity ever supported truth? 

Favorite Quote(s): 

1. Adult Pi Patel: So which story do you prefer? 

Writer: The one with the tiger. That’s the better story. 

Adult Pi Patel: Thank you. And so it goes with God. 

2. Santosh Patel: We will sail like Columbus. 

Pi Patel: But Columbus was looking for India!

3. Adult Pi Patel: Faith is a house with many rooms. 

Writer: But no room for doubt? 

Adult Pi Patel: Oh plenty, on every floor. Doubt is useful, it keeps faith a living thing. After all, you cannot know the strength of your faith until it is tested.
  
28. Jesus of Nazareth (1977)

Technically this is a miniseries commissioned by the Roman Catholic Church. There were many big name actors and actresses throughout including Laurence Olivier and James Mason. But I did not know those famous people when I saw it as a child. This a powerful watch. Some may say it is a bloated push to force Christ at people. But again, this is a situation where the message and beauty is there if people are willing to see it. 
  

Though it is impossible to truly portray Christ, because only imperfect people can play him, there is power in revisiting his life and ministry. My family and I watched this every Easter and it implanted deeply in me a spiritual perspective on the season. 

Favorite Quote(s):

1. Pontius Pilate: Do you realize I have the power to release you or have you crucified? 

Jesus Christ: You wouldn’t have had that power over me if it hadn’t been given to you from above.

  
27. Song of the Sea (2014)

Though I also like Secret of Kells, the beauty and innocence of this film struck me hard the first time I saw it. There is no antagonist nor any impressing doom. What permeates, is this sad feeling that old things are passing away. I have always had a strong love of old tales and cultures. Irish folktales have a particularly somber tone. Yet, there is reprise and happiness found at the film’s end. 
 

There is beauty in childhood innocence and true love. It is funny how alongside great sadness there is always found great happiness. Perhaps that is why I love this story. I watched a show once called Kino’s Journey (2003). The premis is “The world is not beautiful therefore it is beautiful.”. I think the same can be said about this movie. Bronagh must leave behind her husband and son for the sea. But there’s love still there. That is much makes the journey in this film so memorable. 

Favorite Quote(s):

1. Bronagh: My son, remember me in your stories and in your songs. Know that I will always love you, always. 

 26. Hotarubu no Mori E (2011)

Before I saw this movie, I saw a short video on YouTube dedicated to it. I wept. Then I saw the movie and cried again. It had been a long time since a story had touched me so. The story centers around a girl named Hotaru who meets a young man Gin who is trapped between life and death. He cannot touch her or else he will disappear from her world. 

 This film shows that love is not dependant on physical interaction. The fruit of love is companionship and friendship. It was hard to see two people growing together and loving yet separated by unimaginable forces. But there was more beauty and love shown in this obscure animated film then I have seen in a long time. Though I cried for their inevitable parting, something in me knew it was a wonderful thing. In The Return of the King (1955) Gandalf said, “I will not say do not weep, for not all tears are an evil.” In seeing this film, I believe him. 

Favorite Quote(s):

1. Hotaru: Gin, I thought of you during the winter. Even during autumn and spring. Gin, don’t forget about me.”

2. Hotaru: Time may separate us someday. But, even still, until then, let’s stay together. 

3. Gin: I can’t wait for summer to come around. When I’m away from you, even though I can’t be around crowds, I want to go see you.

4. Hotaru: I probably won’t be able to look forward to summer for a long time. My chest will hurt. My tears will be overflowing. But this warmth in my hands and these summer memories will live on in my heart. 

  
25. Coraline (2009)

I love creepy children’s films like this. I believe that is my German soul speaking to me. I think this is because I love to see evils like the other mother be defeated. The original novel written by Neil Gaiman painted a startling picture of a more modern day boogie man. It also shows that children are often more perceptive than adults to the evils that surround us. That is the tragedy of our age. The child is being driven out by our media and grown ups become all the more oblivious at an earlier age. 
  

The imagery is so colorful and out of all the still motion pictures made I think this is the most beautiful visually.  I also like how “not” childish this movie feels. It does not rely on corny jokes or dating references. It tells a story about temptation and finding that what we always wanted is more often sitting right in front of us. 

Favorite Quote(s): 

1. Coraline Jones: How can you walk away from something and then come towards it? 

Cat: Walk around the world. 

Coraline Jones: Small world.

2. Miss Forcible: [reading tea leaves] Well, not to worry, child: It’s good news. There’s a tall, handsome beast in your future. 

Coraline Jones: A what? 

Miss Spink: Miriam, really, you’re holding it wrong. See? Danger! 

Coraline Jones: What do you see? 

Miss Spink: I see a very peculiar hand. 

Miss Forcible: I see a giraffe. 

Miss Spink: Giraffes don’t just fall from the sky, Miriam. 

Coraline Jones: Well, what should I do? 

Miss Spink: Never wear green in your dressing room. 

Miss Forcible: Acquire a very tall step-ladder.
  
24. The Incredibles (2004)

Ahhhh I remember when this came out. This is yet another film I watched with my brother Spencer. The trailers made us laugh so hard! A sign of a great movie is one that makes you never forget the first time you saw it. There was something so human about this one. It is about a man stuck between a life he used to have as a superheroe and the daunting, dull life he thinks he has. 
  

One of the most powerful moments is when he hears his wife on the receiver at Syndrome’s lair and his family’s supposed death. There, he thinks he has lost everything he loves and unashamedly weeps. That was the time when he realized his family was the treasure he had been seeking all along. It is funny, cleverly written and a remarkable addition to the  super hero film genre. 

Favorite Quote(s):

1. Lucius: Honey? 

Honey: What? 

Lucius: Where’s my super suit? 

Honey: What? 

Lucius: Where – is – my – super – suit? 

Honey: I, uh, put it away. 

[helicopter explodes outside]

Lucius: *Where*? 

Honey: *Why* do you *need* to know? 

Lucius: I need it! 

[Lucius rummages through another room in his condo]

Honey: Uh-uh! Don’t you think about running off doing no daring-do. We’ve been planning this dinner for two months! 

Lucius: The public is in danger! 

Honey: My evening’s in danger! 

Lucius: You tell me where my suit is, woman! We are talking about the greater good! 

Honey: ‘Greater good?’ I am your wife! I’m the greatest *good* you are ever gonna get!

2. Bob: Weren’t you in the news? Some show in, Prayge… Prague? 

Edna: Milan, darling. Milan. Supermodels. Heh! Nothing super about them… spoiled, stupid little stick figures with poofy lips who think only about themselves. Feh! I used to design for *gods*!

3. [Bob is explaining an insurance policy loophole to a Mrs. Hogenson]

Bob: [whispering] Listen closely. I’d like to help you but I can’t. I’d like to tell you to take a copy of your policy to Norma Wilcox on… Norma Wilcox, W-I-L-C-O-X… on the third floor, but I can’t. 

[Mrs. Hogenson scribbles details of Bob’s loophole on a small notepad]

Bob: I also do not advise you to fill out and file a WS2475 form with our legal department on the second floor. I would not expect someone to get back to you quickly to resolve the matter. I’d like to help, but there’s nothing I can do.

4. Mr. Incredible: Wait here and stay hidden. I’m going in. 

Elastigirl: While what? I watch helplessly from the sidelines? I don’t think so. 

Mr. Incredible: I’m asking you to wait with the kids. 

Elastigirl: And I’m telling you, not a chance. You’re my husband, I’m with you – for better or worse. 

Mr. Incredible: I have to do this alone. 

Elastigirl: What is this to you? Playtime? 

Mr. Incredible: No. 

Elastigirl: So you can be Mr. Incredible again? 

Mr. Incredible: No! 

Elastigirl: Then what? What is it? 

Mr. Incredible: I’m not… 

Elastigirl: Not what? 

Mr. Incredible: Not… I’m not strong enough. 

Elastigirl: Strong enough? And this will make you stronger? 

Mr. Incredible: Yes. No! 

Elastigirl: That’s what this is? Some sort of work out? 

Mr. Incredible: [shouts] I can’t lose you again! [calms down]

Mr. Incredible: I can’t. Not again. I’m not s-strong enough. 

Elastigirl: [kisses him] If we work together, you won’t have to be. 

Mr. Incredible: I don’t know what will happen… 

Elastigirl: Hey, c’mon. We’re superheroes. What could happen?
  
23. Ratatouille (2006)

I did not like this movie as much the first watch. At the time, it never struck a chord with me. With further contemplation though, I came to love it. A movie about acceptance, companionship and family, it is told from the perspective of a rat Remi, who feels out of place with his family. 
  

I think I love it most for its end. Gusteau’s restaurant gets closed down, most of the workers abandon them and Anton Ego loses his place as France’s top food critic. All for believing in a rat. But where there is glitter there is gold. Remi, Linguini and Collette open a new restaurant, Ego visits often, a changed and happy man and Remy’s family finally embraces his talent. Sometimes what we need is not immediately apparent. More than not it is waiting behind a closed door. 

Favorite Quote: 

 [when the restaurant is empty Linguini and Colette bring Remy to meet Ego]

Remy: At first, Ego thinks it’s a joke. But as Linguini explains, Ego’s smile disappears. He doesn’t react beyond asking the occasional question. And when the story’s done, Ego stands, thanks us for the meal, and leaves, without another word. The following day, his review appears: 

Anton Ego: In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the *new*. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends. Last night, I experienced something new: an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions about fine cooking is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau’s famous motto, “Anyone can cook.” But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist; but a great artist *can* come from *anywhere*. It is difficult to imagine more humble origins than those of the genius now cooking at Gusteau’s, who is, in this critic’s opinion, nothing less than the finest chef in France. I will be returning to Gusteau’s soon, hungry for more.

  
22. Stairway to Heaven (1947)

A funny sort of story is attached to this film. The first time I saw it, I was sitting next to my younger brothers who were playing a computer game. I started the movie and gradually within the next five minutes they forgot the game and squeezed next to me to find out what happens. A war film on the surface, what it is really about is a man who challenges his fate to be with a woman he came to love. 
  

The man, Peter Carter, falls from a burning plane into the ocean after talking to June, one of the workers for the USAAF. He survives because his angel misses him in the London fog. Once he wakes up he meets June, whom he had never personally met, and they both recognize each other and fall in love. This is yet another powerful love story I adore for its genuinity. There is definitely more to this movie then initially meets the eye and it is a deep look into humanity’s perspective on death and the mind.

Favorite Quote(s): 

1. Peter: [over radio] Where were you born? 

June: Boston. 

Peter: Mass.? 

June: Yes. 

Peter: That’s a place to be born, history was made there. Are you in love with anybody? No, no don’t answer that. 

June: I could love a man like you, Peter. 

Peter: I love you, June. You’re life and I’m leaving you.

2. The Judge: Members of the jury, as Sir Walter Scott is always saying… In peace, Love tunes the shepherd’s reed; In war, he mounts the warrior’s steed; In halls, in gay attire is seen; In hamlets, dances on the green. Love rules the court, the camp, the grove, and men below, and saints above; For Love is heaven, and heaven is Love. Will you please consider your verdict.

3. Abraham Farlan: You claim you love her. 

Peter: I do love her! 

Abraham Farlan: Can you prove it? 

Peter: Well give me time, sir. Fifty years will do. 

Abraham Farlan: But can you prove it? 

Peter: Well, can a starving man prove he’s hungry except by eating? 

Abraham Farlan: Would you die for her? 

Peter: I would, but, er, I’d rather live.
  
21. Wizard of Oz (1939)

1939 was an incredible year for films. Classics like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Gone with the Wind, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Stagecoach, The Hound of the Baskervilles and Love Affair are considered some of the greatest films ever done. My favorite however is The Wizard of Oz. The book really is not that memorable for me. It is this movie that established my dreams for adventure and magic. 
  

Timeless in its music, effects and acting I believe this is one of the few movies that is nearly perfect. This is not because there were no mistakes made here and there with the backgrounds or costume design. No, it is an enchanting, universal almost indescribable feeling that rests throughout it. Roger Ebert put it best in his review. 

The elements in “The Wizard of Oz” powerfully fill a void that exists inside many children. For kids of a certain age, home is everything, the center of the world. But over the rainbow, dimly guessed at, is the wide earth, fascinating and terrifying. There is a deep fundamental fear that events might conspire to transport the child from the safety of home and strand him far away in a strange land. And what would he hope to find there? Why, new friends, to advise and protect him. And Toto, of course, because children have such a strong symbiotic relationship with their pets that they assume they would get lost together.

. . . its underlying story penetrates straight to the deepest insecurities of childhood, stirs them and then reassures them. As adults, we love it because it reminds us of a journey we have taken.

That is also why The Heroes Journey works so well for us as people. It is the idea that when all the war and hardship is over there is a place we all can go to for peace. That is how I feel about this movie. It’s magic lies in its heart and it means the world to me. 

Favorite Quote(s): 

1.Scarecrow: First they [the Flying Monkeys] took my legs off and they threw them over there! Then they took my chest out and they threw it over there! 

Tin Woodsman: Well, that’s you all over!

2. Auntie Em Gale: Almira Gulch, just because you own half the county doesn’t mean that you have the power to run the rest of us. For twenty-three years, I’ve been dying to tell you what I thought of you! And now… well, being a Christian woman, I can’t say it!