Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Map Across Time by C S Lakin

I don't know how other people read, but quite often I have a stack of half read books beside my bed. Some are books I am perfectly content to read in small chunks. Others are books I began for some reason or another currently have no interest in reading. Usually sandwiched within the pile is a book or two who are waiting their turn to begin. I read based on my mood. Sometimes it's a non-fiction night. Other times I charge into a dense literary book like War and Peace. For the same reason I have difficulty taking a trip with fewer than 3 books. So when a book takes over the stack and all books get pushed aside until it's completion, that says a lot about my enjoyment of the book.

Recently I had the opportunity to read C.S. Lakin's The Map Across Time. It is part of her Gates of Heaven series. The fairy tale is the story of Princess Aletha and Prince Adin, who are twin heirs to the throne of  the Kingdom of Sherbourne. Their journey takes them beyond what they knew possible, and through it they learn about themselves, and the truth that stretches back to the beginning of time.They meet a Keeper of a Gate of Heaven, travel through time with the aide of a magical map, and try to rid their kingdom of an ancient curse.

The story was enchanting and engaging. I highly recommend the book to anyone who loves fairy tales. However, C.S. Lakin did more than just write a fairy tale. She infused the book with Biblical truth as the ancient wisdom shared throughout the book, were actual quotes or paraphrases from the Bible. Additionally Sherbourne's ancient language, the Law'az, was taken from the Hebrew language. As a scholar of the Hebrew language, the fictional language in her book resonated before I even knew Hebrew was her starting point for the language. There was something familiar about the Law'az.

This book is moving on to my fourth grade friend. He loves fantasy. His mom loves when his fantasy is appropriate for his age. This book will definately fit the bill.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Awareness comes at a Cost

Recently I have become more aware of reality around me. If you have not read my blog on the TED conferences, this may seem a bit out of the blue. So here is the dilemma. I love doing Operation Christmas Child. The gift of a present from one who loves giving gifts, has multiple levels of joy. Recently I have also been considering sponsoring a child, but have always wondered if that was the best the way to help. It's the same with mirco-loans. One person helping one person, multiplied by thousands seems potentially great.

So here is the problem, the awareness I've gained from reading a few blogs from my more aware friends, watching TED talks, reading about Free2work, and other venues have raised my awareness to a level where I now realise I have no idea how to actually help.

Example #1: Since I first read about TOM's I have wanted a pair. It seems great, buy a shoe and a needy child gets a shoe. However a friend posted an informative blog about TOM'sShoes and their day without shoes. Last year I gleefully participated, and I had planned to continue this year. Now my ignorance is gone, and my knewfound knowledge has led me to realise that I don;t want TOM's shoes. I wanted the idea of doing good.

Solution: Research. I do get the whole teach a person to fish analogy, help an economy improve, rather than providing them with handouts. So now I need to figure out where people are being assisted in a way that is beneficial in the long run, and then support it. So much better than handouts, I get it, and yet I still have no idea where to help. Things that seemed like a good idea, in reality may be fish handouts.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

TED: a discovery leads to a challenge

Have you discovered the TED website? If you have never heard of TED (and I was right there a few months ago), then you are in for some amazing discovery. What are you interested in? Technology, Culture, Economics, Business, Entertainment? All these and more are covered at the TED conferences. TED gives people from all areas of the world approximately 15 minutes to share their passion, past, story, hope, or dream.

Patricia Ryan had an amazing talk titled, "Don't insist on English."  Language is fused with culture.  I cannot even count the times I have heard someone unable to adequately translate something from one language into another. For instance, the Hebrew word "Shalom." One author took paragraphs to try and explain the concept, that does not neatly translate into English. So many terms are so intrinsically intertwined with the culture the language thrives within, that any other word fails to replace it. Yet another language dies every 14 days. Have you seen the statistics on the languages of the world? Check out what National Geographic has on Endangered World languages.    

Speaking of cultures, Wade Davis had an intriguing talk on Endangered Cultures.

Other Talks:

Hans Rosling and the Magic Washing Machine. (favorite quote, "If you have democracy, people will vote for washing machines.")

 Melinda French Gates What non profits can learn from Coca Cola. "At TEDxChange, Melinda Gates makes a provocative case for nonprofits taking a cue from corporations such as Coca-Cola, whose plugged-in, global network of marketers and distributors ensures that every remote village wants -- and can get -- a Coke. Why shouldn't this work for condoms, sanitation, vaccinations too?"

Okay so now it's your turn. Check out TED. Watch a few talks that peak your interest. It just might change your view on something.