"Don't part with your dreams - when they are gone you may still exist but you will have ceased to live" - Mark Twain

"Do you know that this blog wouldn't exist if it wasn't for you being here to read it!?" - Bobby Gill

Saturday, 24 August 2013

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore - take the time to look UP

Sometimes you just need a good, cheerful storybook to read, so it can inspire you to get rid of that flightless story of yours and write your own colourful adventure.

He asks himself (in his book) … If life is enjoyed does it have to make sense?


Academy® Award-winning animated short - http://www.youtube.com/v/Ad3CMri3hOs


A Reading Group Guide for The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore - by William Joyce

Discussion questions - This is a story about books and hopes and about what you see if you take the time to look up.

1. At the beginning of the story, we learn that Morris Lessmore loved words. He loved stories and he loved books. What do you love?

2. After the storm, Morris feels lost and wanders around. Then he looks up and sees the flying lady with her squadron of flying books. Talk about how you see the world when you look down. How do you see the world when you look up?

3. The flying lady sees that Morris is sad and needs a new story so she gives him her favorite book. How can a story help someone feel better? Have you ever felt bad and then heard a story that made you feel better? What kinds of stories and books make you feel better?

4. Do you have any stories or special words that you tell yourself to help you feel better?

5. Every story has its upsets. Have you ever had an upset? Did anyone help you? What did you do to turn the upset around?

6. When Morris entered the building with all the books, he could hear faint chatter and it felt as if the books were asking to be opened and read. It has been said that every book needs a reader to bring it to life. What do you think?

7. Morris had lots of books: comedies, tragedies, encyclopedias. Can you think of other kinds of books he might have had in his library? What kinds of books would you want in your library?

8. What do you think it means to be lost in a book? Have you ever been lost in a book?

9. Why do you think Morris enjoyed sharing his books? Do you ever recommend or suggest books to friends? Talk about your favorite books and why you like them.

10. Things end and things begin again. How does it feel to know that when Morris decided it was time for him to leave, he ended the journey as he began it – being carried lightly away by the books and with a book opening? How does it feel to know that the little girl then began the journey?

11. When you leave, what matters most is what you’ve taken in – the memories, stories, and experiences. What would you like to be inside you?

12. At the end of the book Morris flies off with his favorite books. How can books make you fly?

13. Morris’s life was a book of his own writing. He wrote about his joys and sorrows, all that he knew and everything that he hoped for. What are your hopes?

14. Lessmore is an interesting name. Do you think it has any special meaning? When is less more?

15. This book has a special dedication page. Does reading it give you any new understanding of the story?

16. “If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive.” (Barry Lopez, Crow and Weasel) Do you think Morris Lessmore would agree? What do you think?

Activities & Projects

1. The pictures in this book are very beautiful, whimsical and expressive. Try reading the book again just looking at the pictures. Do you notice anything new in pictures or the story that you didn’t see before? How do the pictures help to tell the story?

2. Libraries are a place where people share books. Visit a library. Notice all the different books. Do any of them call out to you to be read? Ask the librarian to recommend some of her favorite books.

3. Start your own library at home and/or in your class. Morris tried to arrange his library, but the books had their own ideas. How would you organize your library? What books would you put next to each other? Make special book plates with your name or the name of your class.

4. Make your own book. You can fold several sheets of paper and staple them together. Put a photo of yourself on the first page. Tell all about you. For different kinds of books and different ways to make them, check out the internet with a parent or teacher. A good place to start is http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/family/book-crafts.htm You can also learn how to make book plates and book jackets.

5. Morris loved words. What are some of your favorite words? Are there any words that make you feel bad? Make a list of words about when you feel happy, sad, brave, or silly.

6. Ask a parent or teacher to help you cut up magazines, newspapers or cereal boxes and create a collage of some of your favorite words.

7. Do a book advertisement. Draw or record or write about a book you like in a way that makes it sound interesting to other people. Create a web page or blog with your favorite titles.

8. Keep a dream book. Write about your hopes and dreams. Decorate the cover and include drawings and photos.

9. Have a party. Make special invitations asking everyone to come dressed as a favorite book character. Play charades or guessing games about the books the characters come from.

10. This book is also an Academy® Award-winning animated short. With a parent or teacher’s help, watch the movie on YouTube. Talk about the differences and similarities between the movie version and the book.

11. Find out more about the author, William Joyce and read other books he has written and illustrated. You can begin here: About William Joyce http://authors.simonandschuster.net/William-Joyce/81797654 and for teachers, you can see or read an interview, biography and list of books at Reading Rocket http://www.readingrockets.org/books/interviews/joyce/ - See more at: http://books.simonandschuster.com/Fantastic-Flying-Books-of-Mr-Morris-Lessmore/William-Joyce/9781442457027/reading_group_guide

Source: http://books.simonandschuster.com/Fantastic-Flying-Books-of-Mr-Morris-Lessmore/William-Joyce/9781442457027/reading_group_guide

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Good Karma vs. Bad Karma - Say, Do and Think Good Deeds

Some people understand the lessons of karma, others don't believe in it.  Are you one of the people who really 'gets' it or do you need to find a tangible reason to do the right thing?

Here's are a couple of profound articles I found online about Karma, that I thought would be right to share with you.  Also how to purify any bad karma and mistakes you may have made in your life.

Remember - what goes around comes around, so do GOOD deeds!



Good Karma vs. Bad Karma

Don't be short-changed by short-sightedness
At a grocery store, a clerk accidentally gives a woman a five-dollar bill in change instead of a one-dollar bill. The woman quietly takes her change and thanks her lucky stars. The next day she parks her car on the street and later discovers a dent in her car door and a broken side view mirror. The cost to repair it? $500 exactly.

Practice Safe Karma
Nobody is immune to karmic law. It's like gravity, only karma goes beyond the laws of physics to the mysteries of time -- birth, death and re-birth. Are you scared yet? Don't be. You don't have to fear karma if you understand the rules of the game. Just get out there onto the playing field -- your life -- and keep practicing to get good karma. Go out of your way to be honest, or keep a promise, and see how the good effects start stacking up. The clerk you return the correct change to will learn to trust you, and she, or maybe someone else, just might give you a break when one day you forget your wallet at home. You'll see.

When Bad Karma Happens to Good People
Some people do seem to just have bad karma. We see it all the time. But even if you've brought all your negative energies from past lifetimes into this one, you can make good causes and transform your bad karma from this day forward. Nearly every human being has the ability to tell right from wrong, good from bad, but some of us have taken more spins on the wheel of life than others and have learned how karma works.

Cosmic Karmic Time
Just as Isaac Newton's third law of motion -- to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction -- explains physical forces, karma explains laws of thought and energy, cause and effect. An obstacle to recognising or even believing in the cause and effect aspect of karmic law may be time itself, sort of like “'karma lag.”  Sometimes, an act you commit today may take months or years, or even lifetimes, to show up as an effect in your life or the universe. And it becomes extremely hard to tell which action caused which result, never mind supply a reasonable explanation for why we seem to be paying unfairly for something we didn't control -- or did we?

Can I Escape Karma?
Karma says that, until you learn a lesson, you will continue to receive the same message through repeated experiences. If the woman from the grocery store didn't put two and two together and realise she'd created her own negative energy, she'd probably suffer more financial losses down the road. It's kind of like getting left back in school. When you are fully conscious of all your past actions, thoughts and emotions, and the lessons they brought you, you are ready to move ahead to the next grade … and even choose your next classroom.


How to Purify Bad Karma

The old saying "What goes around comes around" is a simple way to explain the notion of "karma." Meaning "action" in Sanskrit, karma in Buddhism means that none of our actions are insignificant; the things we do determine what things will happen to us. With karma, action equals reaction; if we act in a positive manner, good things will happen to us. Conversely, negative actions result in negative reactions. Believers in reincarnation believe we carry our positive and negative karma with us from one life to the next. Thubten Chodren, a Buddhist nun and teacher who studied under the Dalai Lama, says you can purify your bad karma by practicing The Four Opponent Powers: Power of Regret, Power of Reliance/Repairing the Relationship, Power of Determination not to Repeat the Action, and Power of Remedial Action.

1. Regret your negative actions. Buddhism teaches that "regret" is different than "guilt." When you feel guilty about the action, it is self-serving because it centers on you and how you feel. Regret, on the other hand, "has an element of wisdom; it notices our mistakes and regrets them," Chodren says. If you've acted in a harmful way, you should think about what you've done and how your actions have negatively affected others. You should also think about how those actions may hurt you and others in the future.

2. Try to repair the damage done by your negative actions. If your actions have caused harm upon another person or persons, it is important to apologize to them for what you've done. Sometimes this isn't possible because the person is dead, we've lost touch with him or we don't know who our actions have damaged. This is okay since what is more important, says Chodren, is to repair the damage within your own mind. "Here, we generate love and compassion, and the altruistic intention for those whom previously we held bad feelings about," she says. By changing those negative emotions within us that caused us to act negatively in the first place, we can change ourselves from within.

3. Strive not to repeat that negative action in the future. You should set it in your mind that you will not commit the negative act again; the longer you are able to keep that promise to yourself, the more confidence you will gain that you can break bad habits and act in more positive ways. It is not always easy to do this, so if you do find yourself repeating a negative action, such as losing your temper or gossiping, Chodren says you should tell yourself you will not repeat the action for the next 2 days. Once you've achieved that goal, you can say to yourself "I will continue to try and not do that again."

4. Take positive action. Practicing Buddhists have many methods of remedial action including reciting mantras, making offerings to a monastery or temple, and meditating. Chodren says you can also do things like perform community service such as volunteering at a hospital, feeding the homeless or teaching people to read. Any action that benefits others can be considered a remedial action.

Source:  Lesley Henton - http://www.ehow.com/how_4895329_purify-bad-karma.html