Monday, September 3, 2018


Good Monday morning.

I hope your Labor Day is off to a slow, coffee-saturated start.

Last week's blog titled "Afoot and Lighthearted" is ---> here <--- if you missed it. I can report that lighthearted is not a word I would use to describe myself this morning, & I will explain why momentarily.

There are a few items of business to attend to before delving into the meat of what is on my mind today. A few weeks ago I told you the price of a paperback Dear Miss Moreau would be permanently dropping on September 1. This price drop is reflected on Barnes & Noble's website, but as of this morning Amazon is not showing a price change. I am unsure why this is the case. When I finish today's chores I'll shoot a message to my publisher. You can click here to purchase the book at the recently reduced price of $13.99 from Barnes & Noble.

I can't keep babbling without offering Congratulations! to the LSU Tigers on winning their season opener against Miami. I have a lot of feelings about the outcome of this football game. I am obviously happy LSU won. I do genuinely like Mark Richt, Miami's coach. He's a good guy, & I think Georgia was silly to fire him. Despite this loss, I hope Richt & his team have a good year. Obviously they may've been overrated opening the year at No. 8, but I think ratings at this point are silly anyway. I don't think they should have a top 25 until at least a month into the season. I will tell you why. At some point later in the season someone might give LSU a numerical/ranking advantage over some other team because LSU defeated a top-ten team . . . but if Miami falls out of the top ten, as they're likely to do, & never again breaks the top ten the remainder of the season, well, it's hard to argue LSU actually defeated a top ten team. LSU defeated a team that maybe was ranked too high initially. I'd also like to say I applaud LSU & Miami for playing each other in their season opener & not scheduling non-conference patsies like some teams do. 

The Tigers' victory was not the only highlight of this three-day weekend. A month or so ago Trey informed me of an event in Dallas that might interest me. Over the Labor Day weekend the Dallas Symphony performed Jurassic Park in Concert. If you are familiar with the composer John Williams, you will agree with me that Jurassic Park is probably his best work; if you don't agree with me, well, you should. We decided Henry would likely not sit through the event peacefully, but because we'd be spending Saturday night in Dallas Reagan would accompany us to Dallas. At present leaving Reagan overnight, especially while both Trey & I are hours away, is not something with which anyone is comfortable.

Henry was going to spend Saturday night at my parents' house, however they scored tickets to the LSU/Miami game & were in Dallas Saturday night, too. Henry hung out in the hotel with them while Trey, Reagan, & I attended the symphony like the culturally sophisticated people we are. Until almost the moment we walked into the venue I assumed we'd be sitting & listening to the film's score. But no. They showed the entire movie(!). They played the film from beginning to end, & the Dallas Symphony performed the music live. It was absolutely incredible. You don't realize how much music contributes to many films. I teared up a few times. It was a sensory overload.

The whole experience was nice because apparently the symphony is the last stand for appropriate, considerate dress in America. Ladies wore dresses or dress slacks. People looked nice; people were dressed purposefully. They knew they were headed to hear the Dallas Symphony, & they dressed in a way that said, I understand this is not the mall or my living room. I am not here to pick up men. I will respect your talent & this venue by leaving my tattered jeans & halter top in my closet. Wouldn't it be nice if everyone felt this way about weddings, funerals, & church services? Just a thought.

Anyway, the surprise of not only hearing the Jurassic Park music but seeing the film came with one minor glitch. Jurassic Park is not a movie I'd have readily shown to Reagan. The kids know they're not yet allowed to watch mama's dinosaur movies. Overall Reagan enjoyed it & slept soundly Saturday night & again last night, so I don't think she was too traumatized. I covered her eyes during certain moments. She enjoyed watching the dinosaurs chase people, but I tried to make sure she didn't actually watch any of the carnage.

Here are some pics from our weekend-o-dinosaurs.

We got to Dallas Saturday in time to make pigs of ourselves at The Cheesecake Factory & then attempt to walk it off in some nearby stores. Look at these gems at Barnes & Noble; it's Owen of Jurassic World fame on his motorcycle(!). My enthusiasm for this is in no way dampened by the fact that this is a toy designed & intended for a young child.

Added to the list of possible Halloween costumes for this year is this Raptor mask; the eyes track you & are legitimately kind of scary: 

Knowing their performance was likely to attract some hardcore dinosaur enthusiasts, there was a Jurassic Park replica Jeep outside the venue:

Because I don't think I've said it recently, Jeff Goldblum is amazing, & his portrayal of Dr. Ian Malcolm in the Jurassic Park franchise is a gift. 

Sunday morning we ate brunch with my parents at the Grand Lux Cafe in the Galleria. I snapped this with Henry while we anticipated both our food & the evening's upcoming football game. 

And then apparently Henry took these with my phone:

I made a few bad decisions over the weekend.

After brunch we wandered the Galleria for a bit. I took pictures of things in Pottery Barn that inspired me &/or my mother. 

Reagan walked away from the American Girl store with a few new items. She displayed them for me while we waited for Trey to try on the new clothes I forced him to buy. Reagan's doll now wears glasses, can host a pizza party, & can camp at will in her new sleeping bag/pillow. 

And the rest of the day unfolded something like this: 

I didn't have many deep thoughts over the weekend, but the timing of a few events did prompt a few thoughts I want to share. As I intermittently shielded Reagan's eyes during Saturday night's performance, I heard myself telling her not to worry, that, "these are not real." I assured her she has nothing to fear from dinosaurs because they don't exist anymore. She seemed pretty convinced overall. 

At some point Saturday night she used the word monsters; she said something like, "These are not real monsters." I assured her that is the case, that the dinosaurs on the screen are fake, & that there are no living dinosaurs anywhere in the world. 

It's no secret I love the Jurassic Park films. Saturday night as I soothed Reagan I think I realized at least part of the reason why I love these films. The obvious danger in the films, the monsters who drive the plot, are the dinosaurs. I have nothing to fear from dinosaurs & neither do my children, & there's something psychologically reassuring about immersing myself in a film in which the danger is like nothing in the real world. The films offer the thrill of a Jaws film, but the predator is not one you might possibly actually one day encounter. On the list of things that keep me praying fervently & keep me up at night at times, nowhere will you find dinosaurs on that list. 

Reagan's use of monster prompted a whole thought train I'll now attempt to briefly explain before signing off. I immediately thought of Simon in Lord of the Flies. Simon, if you recall, is the intuitive boy on the island. He doesn't speak often, but when he does speak he usually drops pearls of wisdom the other boys don't readily understand. 

As Lord of the Flies unfolds, the young boys who're trapped on the island spend a great deal of their time consumed with fear of & conversation about a beast they believe is on the island. Naturally most of the boys are afraid of the beast. It becomes apparent Jack is using the boys' fear of the beast to his advantage; he needs them to believe there is a beast, & he needs them to be deathly afraid of the beast so he can maintain his power over them so long as they believe he alone can protect them from the beast. 

At one point Simon utters perhaps his most significant thought in the whole novel; he says, & I am paraphrasing, that perhaps there isn't actually a beast, or that, rather, they are the beast. The boys spend so much time & energy fretting over a beast that, in reality, does not exist, all the while they should be afraid of themselves

If you've read the novel you well know Simon is correct. The imaginary beast that consumes the boys' time, thoughts, & energy for many chapters is not at all whom they should fear. Their greatest enemy, the beast they should fear, is themselves & the darkness in their hearts that slowly emerges as they cast aside the veneer of niceties & civilized behavior that dictated their lives prior to the crash that marooned them on their island.

When Reagan whispered that the dinosaurs are not real monsters I just nodded my head & patted her leg to reassure her. Given recent headlines, & with Simon's words in my head, I thought to myself that no, the dinosaurs are not real monsters; real monsters walk among us daily. Real monsters wear pleasing disguises like a clerical collar. 

We love to sit & scare ourselves silly in the theater, squealing over sharks & dinosaurs & various other animated monsters. We love to watch Superman save the day. Maybe the reason we enjoy this is because it temporarily relieves us of the agony of the sad reality that actual monsters lurk among us, their hearts darkened by Satan, their motives impure, their malice knowing no bounds. We are the monsters. We are the beasts we should fear & from whom we should protect our children. 

Sadly what comes to mind when we hear the word monster is often not at all an accurate representation of a true monster. Monsters are humans who do Satan's bidding; they lurk everywhere, often disguising themselves as someone who can help. 

I don't want to end on this note. I mentioned I am not lighthearted today, but this is not due to anything amiss in my world. We are good. The Tigers won! We are relaxing at home & preparing to tackle the week of work & school ahead. I guess I've been in my head a little bit since Saturday night thinking about raising two kids to be kind to everyone but not too trusting of anyone. Isn't that sad? Monsters do not lurk under our kids' beds, but they do lurk in our schools, churches, parks, & basically everywhere else where kids should feel safe. Monsters sometimes occupy positions of power which they use to shield other monsters. Monsters can & will invoke the name of Jesus. It all makes me long for Heaven. 

So, to sum up, don't become a monster, & don't make excuses for or provide a safe haven for monsters. If you are at all familiar with the history of the human race you know we can do some unconscionable things as individuals & in groups. This is one reason I think it is desperately important for us to continue teaching history; I believe a few of the reasons (some) young people today clamor for socialism is because they (1) are ignorant of history & the many deaths for which socialism is responsible & (2) are ignorant of the logistics of the tenets of socialism. 

One of the many reasons I love The Bronze Horseman is because it tells the story of a young American couple who revere the USSR so much they move there. They soon learn the harsh realities of the socialist regime they'd glamorized & fantasied about while living in America. The Bronze Horseman's author is a woman who escaped Soviet Russia when she was young. She came to America, learned English, & is now a best-selling author (in English, her second language). She is a reserved woman who doesn't often voice political opinions, but goodness I wish she'd guest lecture at a few colleges & share her personal experiences living in a socialist country. 

So, enough about monsters in power in the church & monsters in power in government. There is a lot of good in this world; I know that. I will spend this week attempting to focus on that & redirect my thoughts. For starters, & as a way to close, I'll tell you something exciting I recently learned: Jurassic Park will be shown in theaters on a few select dates later this month to celebrate the film's twenty-fifth anniversary. Also, the Tigers are undefeated as of the time of this posting. Feel free to add your positive thoughts in the comments, & may we all have a blessed four-day workweek that leads like night to day to another glorious weekend of college football. 


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