Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Life of Pi : My version of Symbols and Ideas

Last night I headed out to finish up some Christmas shopping with my 13 year old son, and we decided to see "The Life of Pi".  I have a LONG history with this book.  I read it probably close to 10 years ago, and debated it with friends at the time. A couple of years later my book club read it- and discussed and debated it then, too.  A recent reading of "Beatrice and Virgil" brought me back to Pi and Martel's means of storytelling. 

Now, the film.  I wasn't sure it could be done, but it has been.

The movie is a glittering visual of the book come to life. In some ways, the visuals nicely unfold where as with the book your mind is trying to conjure up the image (I even bought an illustrated copy to assist me on this journey after reading the novel the first time).  Fans of the book won't be diasppointed. 

But I thought the movie would make a conclusion for me. I thought it would help me decide what to think.  It doesn't.  It leaves you left open and raw and wondering what it all really means.  So here is what it means to me, after 10 years of reading, debating discussing.  It may be something entirely different for you, and that is the way Martel intends it to be. As a Christian Mormon faith filled person I am moved by the message of this story.

SPOILERS on all accounts from here on out.

First off, it is important to note that Richard Parker, the tiger, is indeed Pi.  There are many clues to this fact. He admits that he must say this to the reporters when they dig deeper and demand the truth from him. As he crawls on the boat watch his hands, his mannerisms....he is a tiger.  In the beginning of the story you are given another clue- the priest in the chapel approaches the young Pi and says "you must be Thirsty...." (this was the REAL GIVEN name of the tiger).

At first reading, I felt this view of himself was only to allow Pi to deal with the sin of eating meat.  We know what an offense this is to him.  After viewing the tiger's consumption of  the goat ( an unexplained event presented by the director through the bars of the cage in the movie) he may see this carnivore lifestyle as completely animalistic and a means to survival.  He ate fish meat as well as the meat of the cook's (hyena's) body, while choosing to throw his mother (or the zebra) over board.

 Pi also must 'train' the tiger, as we must harness the animalistic nature (human nature) inside ourselves, in order to survive the elements of the world.  On further thought I feel the tiger represents any offense that distances us from God.  Often we do these things under 'justified' circumstances, as a means of survival.  Our lifestyle of sin becomes the daily norm.

At some point, however we must stop.  We must surrender to God and confess that we give our life if He wants it.... we give all we have.  Pi does this during the storm.....

After that confession, or coming face to face with God (Pi says he has seen God's face- while Richard Parker, the sinner inside himself, is afraid to see it and hides), God provides the miracle for which we can live righteously again.  In the story, this is the island.  The waters are fresh, the vines are edible, and Pi finds solace and hope again.  He may live on the island forever to hide there from the elements of his journey- or so he thinks.  He is shown a clue (the tooth in the fruits of the trees) as to the detrement of hiding on the island.

We too, can not hide only on the miracles of God.  We must experience the miracles, allow them to change us and nourish us, and then get 'back in our boats' and face our journey.  Remembering the miracles provides us with the hope and sustanence we require as humans to press on.

Eventually, we all must let go of the natural tendancies, or human/animal nature, inside of oursleves.  Pi was exhausted and surrendered completely as Richard Parker left his side.  I find it interesting that the tiger did not try to reconcile or say Goobye- it just left. Pi later reveals this was hard for him, he had grown close to Richard Parker, and wanted a way to say goodbye.  Imagine ourselves, seeking a cerimonious fanfare as we leave sin just doesn't work that way.  Often times we just wake up and simply stop sinning.  The animal inside us just walks away, regardless of how attached to it we may feel we are.  I feel Pi had been worn down and became humbled in a way that the sin had no more need of him.  The sin moved on, finding others to engulf.  Part of us may want to thank that nature, for it has taught us and saved us in many ways, but our lives take a turn when we let it go.  We then become a missionary, one who shares their story...a 'good story' of how we were saved. 

The last part of the story always troubled me most.... the line "And so it is with God" spoken by Pi after his audience chooses the 'animal' story over the horrific human story of survivial.  I have read one viewer say this is our choice as humans, to simplify religion down to simple symbols that we can relate with and attach to, as we ignore the bloody and painful realities in the true history of religion.  I find a lot of power in that opinion of the story as a whole, and I agree this is one of the layers of the story, but I am moved to believe something far more personal in the end.

All of us travel a journey of survival.  We fight the tigers within ourselves that draw us to sin and to choose lifestyles below our belief system.  We are given miracles to save us and we are eventually taken to a place of humility where we see the face of God, and we become sanctified. As a new, saved being, we continue on our journey once and again are required to hold on with hope and endure to the finish.

  In the end, we too will have an audience for our journey's story.... one who will judge our story and deem it good or not.  No doubt our story to our final audience will be one of justified actions, simple symbols and sugar coated explanations that we hope paint ourselves worthy in God's eyes.  However, He of course, knows the truth. He knows the good as well as the bad. He knows the blood, the cursings, the leaving of beliefs to survive.  But to Him, it doesn't matter. We win approval as He chooses the symbols of ourselves, the better story, and allows us to forever live in the glory it brings us.

This is a story of power and one of true art, which is all too rare in the media of today.  I hope my ideas (they are just ideas- I am NO EXPERT) open your mind to the possibilities of this story.

 Happy reading. Happy movie viewing.

 Merry Christmas

Friday, November 9, 2012

Because I missed You

Whether or not you missed me, I missed you.  This time of year I am usually making a blog book to print.
I am usually re-reading all my posts of the year and smiling on all the good (and bad) times.
Where is it?
Why did I stop?

I am here.
I am posting random things that make me smile.

A big brother photo bomb at Sundial Bridge

Am inspiring back yard retreat desinged by my Aunt and Uncle (can I copy it?)

A costume that would get me into the Night Circus
(read the book if you haven't yet.
just do it)

My mom enjoying her newest grandbaby, sharing a lullaby

A random photo of a random cute cowboy who just happened
to be in charge of the crew that laid the sod in our yard.
(Yes, my hubby knows I took this.  He just rolled his eyes.)

The entryway of my Aunt Anita's (yes, with the above backyard) lovely home.
If that's not enough to make you want to redecorate your whole house I don't know what is.

And finally, me and my favorite man
at the San Antonio Riverwalk
just enjoying the sights.

Now let me soak it up and look at all of these agian...'s a start.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Girl on Fire - Young Womens Girls Camp

Stopping in for a post that others can reference easily- I have had a few people ask for details about our girl's camp this year- and it turned out great.

We had a "Girl On Fire" theme, with the our girl's being on fire with the spirit of their Heavenly Father.  The theme turned out to take on a life of it's own (as often happens with these ventures) but here are a few of the details.

We had all the girls bring a dark t-shirt, and we we had stencils and cardstock for them to cut out and use as negatives on their shirts. A little bit of bleach....and you are done....

Make sure to put cardboard in the shirt, and lay it flat- this will keep the bleach from soaking through to the other side.  Girls cut out their names, used swirls and butterflies, and really made their shirts amazing.

This is the front of my t-shirt and the back of my hoodie.  I made these without the cute swirly stencils, so the girls could see them before we started, but once the girls saw each other's shirts they really got into this project. It was a huge success.  If you know someone with a Cricket cutting machine you could do amazing things with this- just go light on the bleach, lay them in the sun as you spray, and if you carefully lift your stencils they can be used again and again (let them dry a bit in between uses).

For more detailed step by step instructions on bleaching, I refer you to fellow blogger and crafty inspo site Burlap and Denim.  (Her shirts are so cute- I am impressed!)

We also used vinyl stickers with the mockingjay logo and young women's logo and decorated our 'lanterns'.  With the stickers on (you can also wrap twine, cut tape, or cover any other way you desire), we sprayed a light coat of spray paint on the jar. When you remove the stickers and vinyl, the paint reveals the 'etched' looking designs.

We added a battery powered tea light candle, and with some bent wire they were good to go.  The girls carried these out every night, brought them to night devotionals and testimony meeting, and used them in their tents. We didn't have to worry about fire anywhere, and they looked amazing in the dark.

One of our crafts was soda tab bracelets.  Again, the girls went crazy once they figured out what to do with the craft (I recommend having at least 3 or 4 leaders trained before you go- it isn't hard, but needs to be done right for the bracelet to lay correctly.)

I am not going to give you a tutorial here, but you can watch several great ones on You Tube or go to for step by steps.  Just make a few before hand and be prepared to help them start and finish them off.  Even our Beehives just adored these and made several while at the craft table.  Start saving tabs now!!! (hint: Progresso soup tabs are large, and they make a great end tab so the other end can toggle through it- so easy to put on and off!)

We also had a Hunger Games style activity, with a Tracker Jacker station (teams with colored stickers that were the stings when stuck on eachother) a battle station (pool noodles or other funny swords can be used) and races for bread, etc.

In the secret sister mailboxes (a shoe organizer hung at our pavillon) I  gave the following goodies: this little parachute themed note containing glow sticks for them to wear at night

And a little extra treat

One night we had a 10 Virgin faith walk, based on the script and painting by Gayla Prince. This was especially effective in the dark night, through the trees and brush. (The girls made their lanterns that day and were actually given their tea lights by the first virgin).  It was awesome to have them come to the 'feast' in the middle of the hills and place their lights at the portrait of Christ. After we were done they enjoyed the fruit and french bread loaves at the table. It was a great night.

We had a picture night and devotional on local temple grounds, and our campground was by a lake, so on our final  night we closed by singing late into the night with our lanterns on the dock.  It was an amazing camp..... and I hope these ideas can help someone else out there!

I am no computer wiz, so officially adding files completely boggles my brain. I am adding photos here, all in just a jpeg format.  My hope is that you can click on the picture and at least save it, then insert into your document (I use Microsoft Publisher) and go from there. The sponsor envelope I used on legal size envelopes, then added the glow sticks.  Good luck- hope it helps!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Antique Obsessed

I wish I had enough money to buy every photo at the antique markets, but as it is I must narrow it down to one or two favorites each trip. This one had to be mine- as I could so perfectly relate to it.

it seems some thing never change.... boys will always
be silly boys and moms will try to remain calm and poised in the midst of being amused

Back of the photos( if you have ancestors from Rotterdam and a funny grandpa named Peter maybe you need this photo more than I do....

I love these images.

We also bought the set of springs from an old truck several months ago.
We attatched it to an antigue shabby chippy door (totally funky junk, right?) and
weaved a set of bulbs through it for a light above my bed.

I love the crazy industrial look

I know it's not for everyone out there, but we love the look of it

plus, my boys think it's cool ( even if it is weird) so that's always a bonus.

Be funky.

update :
we have added another strand of bulbs to our light and
a few other touches to our just goes to show creating your dream space is a process
see more about our updated bedroom here.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Easter Rememberance

These cards are circulating around Facebook (like this link for great inspiration on your news feed), courtesy of

I am sharing them here, hoping they bring some reflection to your holiday this week.
There are 10 cards total, and I will add them as they are posted.

May you find many reasons to feel pure joy and deep peace

Friday, March 30, 2012

Creative Kids

My 13 yr old son saw a little version of this fun quote on Pinterest and decided to make a canvas for his room.  I loved the way it turned out, and best of all he created it.

We got a bunch of canvases at Hobby Lobby, and then he got busy with the tape and acrylic paints.

With a stencil he traced his words, then filled them easy, but did take a little time.

I got thinking that I wanted to copy his idea and create a canvas of my own.  I wanted something I could use in my extra room that I work in, but sometimes doubles as a crash pad for house guests.  I also wanted something inspirational....this is what I came up with....

Now, just because I have already had so many people ask me how I did it I, thought I would get on today and add a quick post with a few instructions.   The canvas is large, because I wanted it to fill my space, but you could make it any size.
I started by layering the background  paints (again acrylic- it dries so quick and is easy to layer) and almost smudging the edges with a darker brown, almost dry brush.

My hand writing looked horrible so I printed up the letters in a huge font on my computer, then taped the paper to the back of my canvas- in a sunlit window I could see the letters through the canvas and paint, and so I all had to was trace the edges.  Then it was just a matter of filling in the letters with paint. (Sorry, no pics along the way. I wasn't sure how it would turn out and so I didn't think it was worth taking pictures of).  I love it now.  I have caught the canvas bug.....what can I make next?