Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Book Review, King Hugo's Huge Ego by Chris Van Dusen

Not only are the pictures beautiful, but I even laughed out loud at the hilarity illustrated in one of the pictures.  His expression, the total ridiculousness of the situation, it was comic genius.  As for the rhyming text, well, I am actually usually not a big fan of rhyming verse in children's books.  It is just hard to do well and most of the time it becomes quite tedious, and I find myself just paraphrasing.  Quite surprisingly that is NOT the case with this book.  Which is quite the feat in my eyes.  Very few people can pull of rhyming text and make it work.  The pace is good, and not tedious and the storyline is exciting, funny and not repetitive.  And the illustrations are wonderful!  The colors throughout the book are vibrant and the compositions have just the right amount of detail.  We checked it out from the library, but now it is on our "to get" list.  Because it is a hit for both parents and kids in our house.

Have you read it?  What do you think about it?

Brain Vomit: or the post where I get overly deep and all psychoanalytical and even (gasp) religious

I just so happen to be an occasional mental hypochondriac.  I do not think I am alone in this as it happens to be quite the trendy thing to do to claim to have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or Bi-Polar Personality Disorder or Attention Deficit Disorder.  Some times though our issues are big enough to have severely mucked up the chemistry in our brain.  But sometimes we are just self diagnosed wikipedia psychiatrists who borrow a convenient mental illness to blame our problems on.  The real point is we all have issues; big ones as well as small ones.  It is human nature to sympathize with others diagnoses and problems.  It is how we relate to others.  Diagnosed mental illnesses (professionally or not) are good and helpful and all, but they can become crippling and lead to feeling trapped by your own label.  And while medication is good and very helpful and all and totally needed in tons of circumstances.  But the underlying caveat is: it alone will not fix you.  YOU NEED TO FIX YOU (working with the medicine, if necessary and/or a REAL psychiatrist).  But the desire and willingness to change has to come from YOU.  (you know and/or help with God.)  Whether you believe in Him or not.  Even if you do (believe) He can't help you if YOU'RE not trying.  Its not like faith is magic.*  So it is still up to YOU.  God doesn't force anybody to do anything.  EVER.  (which is WHY evil things happen, by the way)

*unless you ask my son, who has said, and I quote: "Everyone is a muggle, except for Jesus."
God loves us no matter what we do or believe or anything.  He is going to love and try to help out atheists, or hardened criminals or overly religions judgmental and hypocritical zealots alike. Whether they are going to recognize it or not.  Seriously, and this shouldn't be a novel concept.  Cause He loves everyone.  Fo' reals.  And following eternal truths leads to happiness which is what he wants for everyone.  And one eternal truth is trying to become a better person.  Which most everyone is trying to do.  Because they have love (to some degree or another) for those around them.  And love makes us want to be better people.  Thus, you know the whole two great commandments.  (love God, love your neighbor).  Whether you cite the Bible or cite the Beatles (all you need is love), it is still truth.  And when you live your life for the love of others (as opposed to being the center of your own narcissistic universe) it makes you happy.

And yes while we sympathize with others we also do the polar opposite; we judge.  Which is really stupid.  I am not saying I do not do this (I totally do, and it is dumb).  'Cause everybody does.  That is the part where we think we're better.  And sure, sometimes we all have different truths that we have figured out better than other people.  BUT JUST KNOWING TRUE THINGS DOESN'T MAKE YOU A BETTER PERSON.  We can all learn from each others strengths and knowledge and experience.  No matter what they look like, no matter what religion (or lack thereof) they are, no matter their social class or geographical location, or political affiliation or mental illness or physical deformity or gender or race or shape (or the lack thereof), or beauty or sexual orientation or even age.  That is the hard part.  We can't figure it all out on our own.  Of course you have to filter out all the crap wrong things too... its not like it is easy.  Whatever resonates with you.   And holds true.   (which if you ARE religious, is the Spirit: but truth is true whether you believe it or not) And sometimes our own personal truths evolve as we are ready to learn it on a deeper level.  And sometimes we are dead wrong.  But there is usually a grain of truth in everything.

So find truth and then LIVE it.  I don't care where you find it.  I happen to be a Mormon, but I realize you can find pieces of truth everywhere.  There are also misconceptions and crap everywhere too, including in the culture of the LDS Church.  (And for heavens sake, I don't need them pointed out to me, mmm-k!)  Because nobody is perfect.  One of my very favorite scriptures of all time, and don't totally zone out... is in the Book of Mormon Mormon9:31, written by Mormon's son Moroni... and he basically says that neither he nor his father (or any of the many other prophets that wrote in the book) are perfect, and we shouldn't condemn them, but learn from their weaknesses that we may learn to be MORE perfect than they have been.  So when we see other people's mistakes, we shouldn't judge them, but learn from them.

The best thing (in my own personal opinion) that the LDS church teaches is that we can and should search truth for yourself.  Between you and God.  Or you and your own conscience, whatever you believe.   Truth does nobody any good whatsoever if you just talk about it.  Actually BE nice to people, even (or especially) when they don't deserve it.  Control your own emotions and destiny.  Decide to be happy and look for good things in situations and people and life.  And that is what you will see, and live.  Your life is what you focus on.  Another favorite quote of mine by Abraham Lincoln is: "Most people are about as happy as they want to be".  There is good and bad in everyone, and inherent strengths and weaknesses in everyone.  The difference is that you get to choose which parts of you to focus and act on.  Your choice.  You are the instigator of your own life and not the victim.

So I am venting, brain spew, and being all preachy.  (And it is all sorts of disorganized.)  Call it what you want, take it how you will.  You certainly don't have to agree with me.  I know that I certainly don't know everything and I'm screwed up just like everybody else. 

But I've decided to be more open, even if that means I make my mistakes out in public.  I generally like to hide, and be safe in obscurity.  But I have things to say.  I am going to endeavor to get my opinions out of my head.  I am not going to hide anymore (probably).  I'm going to say them, and they just might be controversial.  And later I might think I'm stupid and disagree with myself... but I'm putting myself out there anyway.  Even though it is scary.  And people aren't going to agree with me and that is totally fine.  Just don't be a prick about it.  Disagree respectfully please.