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Downton Abbey Parody…everyone loves a spoof!

At the Christmas season, the actors in Downton Abbey and guest actors did their best to entertain us for a charitable cause. It worked! Who does not love a parody or a spoof?  The Royalty or the high-born in society may not be so amused, but we at Boyer Writes thought it was “jolly good”!

What exactly is a spoof? It is “a humorous imitation of something while exaggerating its characteristic features for comic effect.”

 A parody is a “humorous or satirical imitation of a serious piece of literature or writing”…or in this case a TV script.  It’s function is a “kind of comedy that imitates and mocks individuals or a piece of work. However, when it mingles with satire, it makes satire more pointed and effective. Most importantly, a parody appeals to the reader’s sense of humor. He enjoys the writer poking fun at the set ideals of society and becomes aware of the lighter side of an otherwise serious state of affairs. Thus, parody adds spice to a piece of literature that keeps the readers interested.”

Throughout history, the spoof or parody has been used by famous writers. Shakespeare used it in his Sonnet 13 when he wrote a parody on traditional love poems.  Don Quixote” written by Miguel de Cervantes is a parody of romances written in his days.  Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travel” is a parody of travel narratives as well as a satire on contemporary England. The more serious one takes the subject…the more ridiculous the spoof…but perhaps the most enjoyed.

“Tally ho”….I think I have spotted just the right modern-day video for your viewing pleasure.    Straight away.. let’s watch it!   (As you can see, I  love the phrases used by our friends, the British!   A “Toast to Happiness”…in this world of such unhappiness!   Carry On!… but be sure to watch the video to the very end…for more fun.  )

 

The World at a Cross Roads…a Historic Speech or Prophetic?

Some are calling the speech made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a historic call to the freedom-loving countries of the world to wake up and see that there is a cross roads facing the world today.

Mr.Netanyahu was warmly welcomed with many standing ovations during his speech to the joint session of Congress.  This, being in spite of the fact, the President and Vice President of the United States refused to attend the speech…as did others within the democratic party. This fact alone may have looked to the Iranians as a “spit in the eye”to the Israeli Prime Minister. Most believe that the President of the United States does not have to agree with all that another leader thinks is the best route to peace. However,would it not be appropriate to the  dignity of the office of the President to show respect to another democratic leader and listen to his views? The American people also require an open forum for knowledge…and who is better to know about the Middle East than those who live there?

All this was happening as the Secretary of State was in Switzerland negotiating with the Iranians, who said a loud “NO” to time limits on their move to have nuclear capabilities. It is hoped that the Iranian people also saw the enthusiasm of the listening audience to Mr. Netanyahu’s speech…unless blocked by the government.

Fact by fact, Mr. Netenyahu laid out the reasons that the particular deal being worked on by this administration with Iran will never work. Israel is keenly aware that Iran has plans to “wipe them off the face of the earth” and the “Great Satan”, as the United States is called, would be next.

Below is this “historic” speech…or perhaps prophetic. It is shown in its entirety. (If not interested in the people arriving…slide forward to the speech.)

How would you fair…if war was in your backyard? Letter by eye witness in Ukraine

Exactly what would you do, if your community was on fire and destroyed from an invasion?   What would you do if the young people were not there to help you as an older person?   What about your grandmother or grandfather living some distance from you whose home is also in the middle of a war?  What about your lovely pets?   If you had no food, would you turn them out because there was nothing to feed them?   Terrible questions to consider.  Now, consider some of these pictures about the people of Ukraine, who had their own country separated from Russia after the collapse of the former Soviet Union:

Elderly woman watches a group of Pro-Russians storm office

Elderly woman watches a group of Pro-Russians storm office

Ukrainian woman cries as she is alone after a friend leaves war area on a bus.

Ukrainian woman cries as she is alone after a friend leaves war area on a bus.

Woman holding a baby also waits for a bus to take her away from her home to a safer area.

Woman holding a baby also waits for a bus to take her away from her home to a safer area.

 

 

Woman cannot live here any longer.

She  cannot live here any longer.

Nothing much left of this house after the Pro-Russian Separatist took care of it.

Nothing much left of this house after the Pro-Russian Separatist took care of it.

Priest and Old Woman

Priest and Old Woman view the dead in sorrow

Ukraine Volunteers are blessed before having to battle the Pro-Russian Separatist.

Ukraine Volunteers are blessed before having to battle the Pro-Russian Separatist.

Stray dog tries to get food from the elderly.

Stray dog tries to get food from the elderly.

Having spent time teaching in Donetsk, Ukraine, I am regularly updated with the REAL  story of what is happening to the people who are enduring the Russian separatists and living with what continues to go on there

So many elderly, sick and homeless have so much pain.   Even the college where I taught has been taken over by the soldiers. This was a lovely campus….thriving and vibrant.  Over the years, the curriculum had been made relevant to the people.  Oxford University in England, had some influence to the development.  I was there to teach English to a number of eager students. No longer do college students have a place to learn. Faculty, staff and families no longer have  a place to live and work for the good of Ukrainian youth.  Even former faculty children’s elementary classrooms has become a place for target practice as some of the Separatists posted on You Tube recently.

Ukrainian Emigrants to the U.S.A: Those of us who had the opportunity to travel in Russia and Eastern Europe, after the cold war was over, believed that things were changing for the better.  Some people from Russia and the Ukraine may have seen the handwriting on the wall.  Here in the USA, many Ukrainians have immigrated and settled off the Gulf Coast of south Florida.  They have built beautiful traditional  Russian style churches and they are thriving.  Even the public schools  in that area look for teacher who may be  bi-lingual in the Russian or Ukrainian languages.  This Ukrainian community  are hard-working people who have brought many skills with them to this country.   Many are strong in their Christian faith.

A little history:  After the collapse of the old Soviet Union,  many Russians around the Moscow area became rich people. There was a dark side to these new ways because the  old ways never really went away.  This can be confirmed by the “little man” or average person whose businesses were often under the threat of “mafia like tactics”.  This type of influence also came over the border into independent Ukraine.     Tactics of  poisoning, assassination attempts or burning  down the businesses of people who may speak out or are seen as the  opposition has long been a part of the Russian history. ( A most publicized and controversial  example was the 2004 poisoning attempt on Ukraine Presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko )

Ukraine  President  2008 Viktor Yushchenko seen before and after poisoning

Ukraine President 2008 Viktor Yushchenko seen before and after poisoning

What does the future hold?   Will Russia continue the march to the south and into other countries, like Ukraine, that once were part of the old Soviet empire?    Is this the ultimate goal of the Russian Leaders?  Either the people of Russia  today will see that their own freedoms are at risk and will rise up….or they will succumb to the old ways.  The Ukrainians are not the only ones in danger.  Even this week, the thousands of people pouring out on the streets of Moscow in protest of the assassination of Boris Nemtsov,  may be thinking that they have had enough of war with Ukraine, intimidation  and strong-arm tactics as well as assassinations from whatever source.

Thousands protest over Moscow Assassination  Feb 2015

Thousands protest over Moscow Assassination
Feb 2015

The war in Ukraine has not only devastated the lives of the Ukrainians, but hundreds of others throughout the world.  When Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine,10 Britons  192 Dutch, 28 Australians, 44 Malaysians and 1 U.S. citizen died…including children.

Pro Russian Separatist watches as OSCE tries to gather information on the crash.

Pro Russian Separatist watches as OSCE tries to gather information on the crash.

Regardless of all that is going on, the people are suffering…whether in Ukraine or other parts of the world.  (We must not forget the religious cleansing of Christians going on in the middle east.)    Perhaps the world is mad!

The letter  below was sent to me from Ukraine.  The names have been removed for the security of the person writing.   THIS IS THE REAL STORY of the people left behind and their need for care as well as a way to get away from the fighting.   I remember the beautiful, little town of Donetsk.  The town square,  as it used to be, is no more with men playing chess and artists selling their paintings.  Donetsk now has a ruined airport,  collapsed buildings and  devastated homes.

LETTER FROM FIRST-HAND WITNESS IN UKRAINE:

Dear Friends,

Greetings. First of all, thank you very much for your prayerful support.Our evacuation mission was blessed and finished successfully. XXXX,his grand-mother and mother are in safe place in our home town, XXXX. The trip was a bit more than 2000 km back and forth, to a town not far from the war zone. Two volunteers agreed to bring [XXXX’S family] to XXXX through XXXX,  which was under non-systematic shelling. The Lord kept them all the way and provided so that they were allowed through several block posts.  The day before, hundreds of people were [sent] back to Donetsk and other cities by Ukrainian soldiers with no explanation. But the Lord had mercy on this poor family.   My father and I came back very impressed and sick from what we saw and heard…Hundreds of thousands… Can you imagine?     Hundreds and hundreds of thousands feel that they have no past and no future, because they lost their houses, jobs,belongings, many lost their relatives who were either killed, or died because of hunger or diseases in air-raid shelters… So much pain and suffering… Many dogs were [cast out] by their owners because of a lack of food. They are slowly dying [from] hunger as well–hardly [able to walk] or [stand] on their feet. Some people still try to share their food with them…After we returned from XXXX [Region], I could not concentrate on my work for two days… I felt awful and sick that I cannot help all these many people. And that so many people feel indifferent in Ukraine towards refugees… Yes, I know all these theological dogmas that we should be driven by calling, and not by the needs of people…But when you look in the eyes of dozens of people, which reflect hopelessness and despair, you feel sick… you get sick… because you [can only] take one family and leave… With the help of some of you this mission became possible. This family is now safe. However it will take months before they recover physically, emotionally, spiritually. They react very nervously [at] every loud sound, which reminds them of shelling. I witnessed this yesterday and today when XXXX and I came to visit them and brought them some food. But this is just one family. One of hundreds of thousands… And at such moments I realize deeper and deeper the consequences of what had happened in the Garden of Eden – the consequence of the right to define yourself–the essence of what is good and what is evil for you personally and [for] your neighbor….

XXXXX

PRAYER REQUESTS:

1) Pray for peace and an end to the fighting.
2) Remember all those left behind and those traumatized by warfare.
3) Pray for all Ukrainians who bring aid (food, medicine, financial help) to
people suffering in the war zone.
4) Pray that people will be open because of this crisis to seek God in their
lives.

Obsession with the female body….be who you are…accept your cellulite!

From January 1st, the hype is on to change who you are. Diet programs fill the airways.   Every ad shows a woman who is trim…or even in the modeling world… sometimes anorexic.     It is an understatement to say that women’s bodies are totally different from that of men’s.  They are curvy…and every curve has a reason.  Yes, a reason!plus size women

Since the beginning of time and the family, the breast is for nursing a baby.  The breast has become a visual sex object in more than just intimacy between loving couples or a mother and a child.   Go no further than the  Hollywood  red carpet.   Almost every dress  exposes  the cleavage down to the naval.  Which brings us to the hips and back-side which they are also showing quite regularly.   The width of  the hips is actually  to be able to give birth more easily.  Try getting a 10 pound baby out of a narrow hip….oh the pain!   God knew what He was doing when He molded the female hip, believe me!

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAAre you a woman whose weight or curves bother you?   We are not talking about being obese for we know that this is totally unhealthy.    However, you can have some lumps and bulges and still be  active and at your best self.

Remember the time when an expectant mother wore big floppy dresses to cover the little bundle growing inside herself?   Now expectant mothers carry their little “watermelon” proudly in front of themselves. Society has changed about this issue.   Now it is time to make some changes in  attitudes about real women and their bodies as well as living a long life.women maternity 2000 woman in materity 50s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are young girls learning from their role models…whether it is their own parent…a rock star….model or others that they see on TV?    Some of the children’s books that I have written have to do with self-confidence and self-esteem.   We know that young girls go through bullying and ostracism from their peers because they are not rail thin like the models they see everywhere they look…TV, books, magazines, ads, video games, or movies.    This is hurtful and our society needs to discuss and embrace real people and who they are.  No one, adult, teen or child….male or female  needs to feel less important or unattractive…because they are measured by such an unfair standard.  All societies have their own standards of beauty and acceptance. Look no further than certain  women in Africa whose lips are their status…and not their hips. Surma woman with Lip Plate 4

It is time for women …of all ages to claim themselves.  Heredity makes a difference in who we are…and our genes will not change.  If your mother or grandmother was a curvaceous woman…then it is likely that you will be also.  If they were thin…most likely you will be too.  Of course diet plays a part as we all know.  Whoever we are, we must learn to accept ourselves…or we will never be happy.   Eat right; exercise…even if just a walk each day…and be your best.

(A side-note  here:  If you know a  good looking young man who is considering male modeling, they need to look up the term and video on “manorexia” in men that is  life-threatening. Other less known, but very prevalent is ENDOS which is also an eating disorder with grave consequences primarily found among young women. )

This video below  is worth watching…and you don’t have to blind-fold your husbands or the men in your life.  It is how a young girl could have lost her life as she entered the modeling profession.  Today she is her normal self and is considered a plus size model at her best.  Of course, a size 12 may not seem “plus” to most of us, but it is in the fashion industry.   She may have little cellulose but is now a real woman who can eat and be happy.

Highly recommended for a parent to watch with a teen girl.

(Click onto You Tube as directed for full interview. )

 

Adventures of Willy Worm makes a debut

It is my pleasure  to share with you my first book in a new Nanny Adventure series.  The book title is Willy the Worm.

Willy the green worm decides he is going to climb out of his hole and see the world.  He is tired of living in a damp, unhappy place. Willy demonstrates what life can be like when one just needs courage and a strong will-power.    This book helps young people from about age 8-12 think about different cultures…the likeness and differences…as they journey with Willy on a very challenging adventure.

Willie Worm Cover colorized sized copy

I will try to keep my readers updated when new books are available, either at Amazon or Kindle. Follow me here on WordPress for more blog writings or at the following:    Twitter  or  Amazon

Mental Health….and bullying…the living hell

My goal as a retired teacher has been to write books that help young people and their parents with those informative years that are so crucial.  I just read an article about  young people who lived just outside of London where a teacher stepped in and probably saved a life.

You may have a child, a grandchild, a niece or nephew that is going through the same hell that this person put another young person through when they were young.   Yes, bullying comes in many forms.  The old adage that “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is certainly not true.

In the case of this bullied teen, it is wonderful that she was able to rise above it and have a productive life. So many other young people do not and feel as the girl describes in the article below.   Our prayer for all young people and older people who need mental emotional health screening and help is that they will speak out and receive the help that they deserve.  They need to know it is not shameful to share their feelings.

Sometimes these difficulties surface later in life.  The people closest to this person that they love are bewildered to what really happened to make such drastic changes in him or her.   I’m certain that everyone who has lost a child that somehow went down this slippery slope will certainly agree that there is a great need in our society today worldwide.

Charlotte Lait wrote the article below.   It is shared here in its entirety.  This article is so brutally honest.  I challenge you to read it in its entirety. At the end is a video about young people and mental health.  Since the article was written about  young people growing up in England, we share with you the thoughts of  a very famous person who speaks of the need for better mental health.  We certainly need this same emphasis here in the U.S. before our children are lost to a darkness that is difficult to change.

__________

“Fatty, fatty, bom, bom!” I screamed, and the other 12-year-old girls around me laughed hysterically. We pointed, laughed some more, shouted out similar chants, as we ran around our school’s racing track. There were five of us, and our energy was focused on one girl, running alone, tears welling up and nobody to help her. She was our victim; she was no match for the collective energy of a group of self-appointed “cool girls.”  We let the girl overtake us on the track while we ripped her apart in private conversation.

“Her boobs look so weird, she can’t even run with them.”

“She got her period so young, there must be something wrong with her.”

As the girl continued running, boys from our grade walked by on their way to soccer practice. Perfect timing for us, as we watched them shame her body too, echoing our sentiment, validating that we had a right to our behavior. The girl, named Felicity, nickname Flick, continued running.

A lot of people assume that when kids are mean, they don’t really know what they’re doing; that they’re harmless, really. I knew exactly what I was doing, and I knew how it would affect Flick, because I’d been a victim of it for years.

From when I was seven to 13, I had no friends. None, absolutely none. And I wasn’t just left alone to quietly get on with life; kids made fun of me constantly. I had headgear (followed by all other kinds of lisp-inducing braces), horrendous granny-floral glasses and, best of all, warts. A ton of warts on my hands and arms.

Not only was I visually destined to be an elementary school outcast, but pretty soon my personality changed to fit the profile, too. I wouldn’t understand for many years later that people, particularly kids, absorb the identities they are given by others.

I subconsciously developed nervous tics, including counting everything I did in eights, right down to the pieces of toilet paper I used. I obsessively repeated whatever people said to me under my breath, over and over again until someone else spoke to me and I’d change the sentence.

One afternoon, aged 10 in the girl’s locker room (a place designed for bad things to happen) I became so frustrated with the other girls sharing inside jokes I wasn’t a part of, and so paranoid they were talking about me, I slammed the hairbrush I was holding onto the floor. It terrified the girls, only making them more inclined to shout “freak.”

It terrified me, because I felt like one.

So it was pretty great for me when Flick showed up in school. Finally, I wasn’t the biggest weirdo in town. I was pretty relieved everyone seemed to be bored with picking on me, and had moved on to something else.

In my school, tormenting others was the top social currency. I soon realized that not only did I need Flick to distract people from my own inadequacies, but if I joined in with everyone else, maybe I’d finally be accepted.

So there I was, chasing her around the running track, making her sob, breaking her down mentally, like there was no tomorrow. Like I didn’t know what that felt like.

The irony was, of course, I didn’t really like the cool kids. I had nothing in common with them, and they with me. The person I liked the most, if I was honest with myself, was this girl I made cry every day.

When we first met, at the school’s “Welcome Day” for new students, Flick seemed so comfortable in her own skin, so at peace with herself that she gave off a magnetic energy. She wore one of those Lizzie McGuire-esque rainbow tie dye tops, and pink jelly sandals (which I was obsessed with, and my parents never let me get). I’d never met anyone my age like that, and I so desperately hoped that she would overlook my shortcomings, and just like me.

I only stopped bullying Flick when a teacher forced me. The teacher was cool, young, and most of the preteen girls saw her as an older cousin. It made it all the more humiliating when we were made to apologize to Flick and reprimanded for our shameful behavior. Later, we discussed how we couldn’t believe Flick lied and said we were bullying her. She obviously wanted attention.

Too scared of punishment to go near Flick, the girls soon turned their cruelty onto me. I was so, very livid—hadn’t I proved myself to be just like them by now? What had all that effort been for?

Everything came to a head the summer before eighth grade when I was invited to a sleepover party with just a few of the girls. I picked out my clothes and PJs meticulously. Maybe I’d fool them into thinking I’d gotten cool over the summer.

That night, the girls were unrelenting. It became very clear that I was simply there because they weren’t  allowed to watch TV past 9 p.m.

They took chocolate cake and wiped it over my face, and I let them. We played one game, I can’t remember the rules for it, but I ended up naked and they laughed at how I had no breasts. I was confused—hadn’t we laughed at Flick for having breasts? I took my things into a corner and slept backward in my sleeping bag so the hood would cover my face and they wouldn’t be able to draw things on me while I slept. They put my hand in a bowl of hot water so I wet myself.

When my mother drove me home the next day, I cried hysterically and wouldn’t tell her what happened. When school started the next week, it was very clear to the class that I’d been demoted.

It didn’t take long for Flick to offer to be my friend. She’d gotten herself some of her own by that point — other girls who’d been bullied, they were sort of forming a club — and they took me in. There were no questions, no conditions; I wasn’t reverted to the bottom of a food chain because with them there wasn’t one.

It turned out that not only did Flick and I have a lot in common, we were pretty normal teenage girls; boy-obsessed, emotional, big on daydreaming. We shared secrets, we made each other scrapbooks.

Once we took the train from our suburb into London by ourselves, without permission, and way too young. As soon as we frolicked out of the station, I remembered my mom would be picking me up in half an hour from her house, so we frolicked right back onto the train. I thought we were the coolest girls in the world.

Years later and eating dinner at Flick’s house, her kid sister burst out, “Didn’t you used to bully Flick?”

As I sat, frozen in shame, Flick replied, “Yeah… how embarrassing for her!” She winked at me, a familiar expression. That night, I gave her a long-overdue apology.

“When it happened to me, I wanted to die sometimes,” I said.

“Yeah,” she replied. “I know what you mean.”

Fast-forward to today, and my best friend is essentially winning at life. She graduated from the University of Cambridge (yes, that is Cambridge) after a year of volunteering in Uganda. She survived a motorcycle crashing into her in Kampala and now calls it a “funny story.” She was elected into a full-time job as the President of Cambridge’s Student’s Union. She got her nose pierced. She still loves rainbow-colored anything. She now works with a teenage girl with Asperger’s Syndrome as her classroom aid.

And last summer, I walked down the aisle as her maid of honor, and watched her marry a loving man who is her equal in kindness and strength.

I had boyfriends in school but I call Flick my “first love” because she was the first person in my life who chose to love me. I wasn’t her family; I was a girl who had made her life hell for a long time. Our lasting friendship continues to teach me the power women gain when we forgive and lift each other up.

In one of the scrapbooks Flick and my other first friends made me, I wrote a note in the back page to myself:

“These are the best friends ever, you are too lucky to have them.

Never take them for granted

Always treat them with respect

Love them for what they are — themselves.”

_______

It appears that in Britain, even royalty is  reaching out to the parents and children about mental health and the need to lower the stigma that is sometimes involved with seeking mental and emotional health.   We at Boyer Writes commend you.

Books by N. W. Boyer to help young people with decision making , self-esteem and bullying.

LINK TO N.W. BOYER BOOKS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

Religious Cleansing….and the Arabic symbol “N”

 

A NEW SYMBOL…and its meaning.  Christian N on shirt

 

A new symbol is being worn by Christians to show solidarity with the Christians being slaughtered in the Middle East and other places in the world.

The news has reported that Christians are the most persecuted religion in the world today.  It is akin to the persecution of the Jews throughout history and especially during WWII.

It is estimated that over 200 Christians are killed a day and is increasing daily.

The Coptic Christians of the Middle East have especially been under attack.

Egypt’s state news agency MENA quoted the spokesman for the Coptic Church as confirming that 21 Egyptian Christians believed to be held by ISIS were dead. In the video, militants in black marched the captives, dressed in orange jump suits, to a beach the group said was near Tripoli. They were forced down onto their knees, then beheaded.      

Coptic Christians being led to execution

Egyptian Coptic Christians being led to execution

These pictures clearly show the sorrow of those Christians who mourn for the young men who were murdered because they were Christians.

Egyptian Coptic Christians mourn at the Virgin Mary Church in the village of el-Aour.  AP photo

Egyptian Coptic Christians mourn at the Virgin Mary Church in the village of el-Aour. AP photo

Photos of the day - February 16, 2015

 

 

Relatives of Egyptian Coptic men killed in Libya mourn at their house in the south of Cairo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These faces and images need to be remembered….and not only their faces but call them who they are…CHRISTIANS.   Unless evil is stamped out, the world will see more of this terrible sorrow.

The following is some information about the symbol  “N” in Arabic and what it means:

When Mosul was captured in Iraq  militants began singling Christians out. The symbol that marked their homes and businesses — the Arabic letter “n,” which is pronounced “noon” and stands for Nazarene or Nasrani, the Arabic word for Christian — reportedly was a signal: convert, pay a tax or be killed. Many Christians fled.Christian N on house

A young man who  lived in Iraq for eight years and was helping with life-saving heart surgeries for Iraqi children and aid to displaced families had this to say:

“Watching the homes of Christians be marked with this Arabic letter ‘n,’ marking them for extermination – I was just very moved and hurt in my soul and inspired to try and do something to awaken the emotions of people anywhere, everywhere to pay attention to this tragedy,”

A priest in New England has joined with his congregation to distribute the small pins and patches with this same symbol.   This has become a movement of solidarity  of Christians around the world.

VIEW VIDEO ABOUT THIS SUBJECT

 

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