Month: December 2017

“…Two Turtle Doves…” Cracker for Christmas Countdown

“…Two Turtle Doves…” Cracker for Christmas Countdown

On the second day of Christmas, my true love sent to me…two turtle doves…and a partridge in a pear tree…

That’s right, everyone, it’s only 10 more days till Christmas! And my husband and I are celebrating with the “…two turtle doves…” cracker in the 12 Days of Christmas Crackers! Let us view the exquisitely designed British crackers container:

"...two turtle doves..." cracker
12 Days of Christmas Crackers Packaging

Yes, everyone, it’s as bad as you’re thinking. I’m going to pollute every 12 Days of Christmas Crackers Christmas Countdown blog post with pictures of what everyone else is missing out on! But don’t you see that golden shine? What about the detailed painting of the two turtle doves? Be enticed! And view below what Cost Plus World Market can bring you and your family:

"...two turtle doves..." cracker
“Two Turtle Doves” Cracker

Do the above paragraphs seem a bit odd to anyone? Okay, I confess. I’ve had a terrible 11th day until Christmas. Though I don’t regret the path I took in leaving my job, doing so has certainly led to difficult times for everyone living under this roof. But, there are other conditions and situations to be thought of as well. C’est la vie. Which essentially means that no one wins. Isn’t that so, George Bailey?

"...two turtle doves..." cracker
Goodies for Good Kids

Yet…. Didn’t George Bailey see how much everyone – everyone who had an ounce of kindness, at least – loved him? Didn’t he see how blessed he was compared to less fortunate men? Why can’t we all see how much our friends do genuinely love us? These are questions best left for the Creator. And the Creator’s writers, such as C.S. Lewis. How about this hot pink paper crown, huh?

"...two turtle doves..." cracker
A Final Shot For 10 More Days Till Christmas!

Enough about me and my woes. So, how have my readers been? Do you all feel like George Bailey? Or do you feel like the lucky girl who received “…two turtle doves…” on the Second Day of Christmas? But it’s too early to tell! Right? So be it. I shall suffice with my “…two turtle doves…” cracker!

Best of luck to you all!


“…A Partridge in a Pear Tree…” Cracker for Christmas Countdown

“…A Partridge in a Pear Tree…” Cracker for Christmas Countdown

On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me…a partridge in a pear tree…

Sometime soon, I shall discover the origins behind the 12 Days of Christmas song (although I’m betting it’s something British-related). Until that time, let us begin the countdown toward Christmas with some British Crackers!

a partridge in a pear tree
12 Days of Christmas Crackers

I bought these British Christmas Crackers before the Thanksgiving Holiday (before I quit my job and began the spending diet), and Alex and I have anxiously awaited the time to open these delightful trinkets. Here they have waited, under the tree. But with today being December the 13th, it was time to open “…a partridge in a pear tree…”.

a partridge in a pear tree
12 Days of Christmas Crackers

Each British Cracker has a beautiful design on the front. In this case, pictures depicting the gifts given in the 12 Days of Christmas. They looked almost too beautiful to open. But the “…a partridge in a pear tree…” cracker cried out, “Pull me! Pull me! You’ll love what I have for you inside!” So, with Alex gripping one end, I yanked open the cracker.

a partridge in a pear tree
Opening the “A Partridge in a Pear Tree” Cracker

Just like the Thanksgiving Crackers in November, all sorts of goodies were inside:

  • A green paper crown to celebrate the Coming of the King
  • Two jokes and a trivia question
  • Puzzle pieces to build several stages of various bird life
Goodies found within “A Partridge in a Pear Tree” Cracker

Anyone who wants to Countdown toward Christmas with me can find these British Crackers at any Cost Plus World Market. Though they are on the expensive side, I think it will be just as delightful as any chocolate advent calendar! With fare ado, I say, “Have a happy 11 days until Christmas!” Don’t waste Jesus’s birthday with too much drink, but remember to celebrate this time with loved ones, near or far.

“So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide.” (The Fellowship of the Ring, 2001)

“So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide.” (The Fellowship of the Ring, 2001)

Peter Jackson’s The Fellowship of the Ring expounds Gandalf’s most significant message in the entire trilogy. Earlier in the film, Frodo had expressed his desire for all the evil to have never happened. So when Frodo stopped to consider his long and lonely journey ahead, Gandalf’s words came back to him: “So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

We Who Live to See Such Times in the Modern World

Throughout this whole past year, left-leaning voters have whined heavily about USA’s current President Donald Trump for being USA’s current president. They live to see such times demolished and destroyed, never to happen again. They refuse to play fair with the right-leaning thinkers who also live in the country.

But politics are of little concern here in Mary Loves the UK. What concerns us more are the nuclear weapons. Why do people in other countries hate and fight fellow people in neighboring countries? Why do people have an intolerance for anything different?

J.R.R. Tolkien’s hobbits would never understand why men fight for power as they do. They live happy lives, growing what they will, taking on only simple troubles. And as elderly men live to see such times, they too begin to wonder why. Or else, they fall completely prey to the fight for power.

Deciding Our Course When We Live to See Such Times

People with strong faith in something greater than themselves normally have better perspective on what to do with their lives. Raised within the church and having read through the Bible, I know several proverbs that speak of men deciding where they shall go, praying and giving thanks for success, and the Lord leading them through it.

Too many people get caught up in the decision on what to do with their lives. Bad economies, terrorist incidents, natural disasters, oncoming wars, and much more can easily lead anyone to wish for better times. They also lead people to make excuses for not using their own, personal time wisely.

To use our best abilities for the best causes, we must first discover our abilities and learn about the most important causes. Faith in God should lead us to the Bible, which speaks greatly on the many ways to worship the Creator and to help each other. Local communities join together to help the poor, the widows, and the orphans. A good paying job could serve a greater purpose. The choice belongs to us.

To Live to See Such Times in Tolkien’s View

J.R.R. Tolkien’s childhood was spent in England, specifically when Germany bombed London to smithereens. Hopefully some biographies on Tolkien will shed some light on whether or not J.R.R. Tolkien took the northern trains during his childhood. For regardless of his situation, it was for certain that the Tolkien family desired to see better times.

Maybe The Lord of the Rings came from this young boy’s faith in something greater. Maybe it came from his traumatic and misplaced childhood during World War I. Whatever the inspiration, J.R.R. Tolkien assuredly inspired many to see what they can do when given difficult times in which to live.

What Teachers Say About The Lord of the Rings vs. What J.R.R. Tolkien Said

What Teachers Say About The Lord of the Rings vs. What J.R.R. Tolkien Said

Who here had the great fortune to read J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings as required reading in high school? I did! But I read the novels and some connected works several more times afterwards. And I realized what teachers say about The Lord of the Rings contradicts what J.R.R. Tolkien said about his masterpieces.

What Teachers Say About The Lord of the Rings – The Sorrowful Summary

Teachers have probably edited many great, adequate, and poor student summarizations to this 20th century masterpiece. And I cringe to hear the watered-down significance to this work, concerning both the plotline and the linguistics. However, the hastily-written summaries also help to explain the misapplied meaning behind the novels.

A summary from an uninterested literary student may read as follows: The Lord of the Rings is the fight between good and evil. Hobbits, elves, dwarves are on the good side. Orcs, wizards, and men are on the bad side. Some wizards and men can be good. There’s a ring that could destroy the world, so a group fights to destroy the ring. After a lot of fighting and traveling, the good guys win.

Terrible, miserable, and unacceptable! Anyone who writes such a summarization of J.R.R. Tolkien’s painstakingly detailed fantasy-world should fail the class. Yet, please consider, with this example now placed in mind, the wholly inaccurate meaning behind what teachers say about The Lord of the Rings.

What Teachers Say About The Lord of the Rings – The Made-Up Meaning

The Lord of the Rings symbolizes World War II.”

No! Wrong! Have you read his second edition’s Forward?! J.R.R. Tolkien specifically stated within his 1966 Forward to The Lord of the Rings that his work symbolized something wholly other than World War II (WWII). Don’t believe me? Let me show you:

As for any inner meaning or ‘message’, it has in the intention of the author none. It is neither allegorical nor topical. As the story grew it put down roots (into the past) and threw out unexpected branches: but its main theme was settled from the outset by the inevitable choice of the Ring as the link between it and The Hobbit. The crucial chapter, ‘The Shadow of the Past’, is one of the oldest parts of the tale. It was written long before the foreshadow of 1939 had yet become a threat of inevitable disaster, and from that point the story would have developed along essentially the same lines, if that disaster had been averted. Its sources are things long before in mind, or in some cases already written, and little or nothing in it was modified by the war that began in 1939 or its sequels.

~ J.R.R. Tolkien

For those who grew up thinking J.R.R. Tolkien intended to symbolize WWII with his Middle Earth, please read the above carefully. This awe-inspiring author simply wrote for his own enjoyment. With the possible exception being….

What Teachers Say About The Lord of the Rings –  The Untold Meaning

Far be it from me to say J.R.R. Tolkien wrote to symbolize God, the Devil, and Everything Inbetween. For this, I myself, at this point in time, struggle to see within the novels. However, based on an additional chapter within the second edition’s Forward, I can see where people draw this conclusion.

J.R.R. Tolkien wrote about how he had begun forming Middle Earth, and all its rich history, during his childhood. His childhood was war-stricken (from World War I) and desolate (from the London bombings). With so much destruction around him, it’s remarkable to see how this childhood genius made it into something wonderful.

With J.R.R. Tolkien’s text note in mind, I will continue to read The Lord of the Rings and lookout for similarities between his childhood beliefs and his adulthood beliefs compared to the text. Please join me on this journey. And, hopefully, we’ll reach the end before Amazon’s Middle Earth comes to our screens.

Our Journey to Find Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Extended Edition)

Our Journey to Find Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Extended Edition)

Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Extended Edition) topped my wish list for this year’s Black Friday sales. For the past couple years, Alex has spoiled me with play money to spend during the year’s largest shopping day. And this year, like any married woman, I euphorically took the opportunity to spend the money!

Why  The Lord of the Rings  Trilogy (Extended Edition) Topped the Wish List

Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Extended Edition)
Alex and I on the Journey

J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth and its inhabitants first entered my life at the tender age called my tweens. Wondering why my father so highly recommended this seemingly odd, fantastical series, I started with reading The Fellowship of the Ring. First I learned to love the simple, sweet hobbits, then the adventure (“quest, thing”) began. And I soon found myself completely enraptured with Tolkien’s world.

Does this story ring true for anyone else? Friends from my college years had similar stories with how they came upon The Lord of the Rings, so I imagine many people who stumble across this post have similar stories. Consequently, once Peter Jackson’s movie trilogy arrived in the theaters – three movies wholly and accurately based on the beloved books – the audience was primed and ready.

Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Extended Edition)
Avoiding dangers on the Journey

Everyone had already seen The Lord of the Rings in theater and bought the theatrical movies. But Peter Jackson had a secret up his sleeve: Additional movie magic, regarding Tolkien’s characters, as found only in The Lord of the Rings extended edition movies!

Everyone who had the money soon owned one, two, or all three extended editions, for the producers sold them individually for many years. I, and the man whom I would one day call my husband, didn’t have the funds for these amazing movies. For they were amazingly expensive. That is, until the time when Black Friday extended into Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday, and Best Buy sold The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Extended Edition) at nearly half the price!

Our Journey to Find  The Lord of the Rings  Trilogy (Extended Edition)

Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Extended Edition)
Traveling through windy roads

The time had come to destroy the One Ring, otherwise known as the inhibition that prevented me from fully excavating Tolkien’s Middle Earth. For The Lord of the Rings theatrical movies only provided the most essential parts to the Fellowship’s journey. The extended edition provided more detail on the good and bad characters in Tolkien’s world.

Knowing this, I performed a secret search online to see if anyone sold all three movies in one package on Black Friday weekend. Walmart, eBay, and Best Buy all showed to carry The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Extended Edition). However, the top rated sellers on eBay had sold out. And though Walmart carried the movie package at a good price, Best Buy proved to have the better deal.

Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Extended Edition)
Arrived at our final destination

I resisted the urge to spend the money as long as I could. But with Alex tempting me to go out and shop, we both caved-in on Sunday afternoon. Our luck had almost run out. Only one Best Buy location near us still had The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Extended Edition). Wishing for the best, we quickly ran out the front door and jumped into the car.

Since we didn’t want to sit in traffic, we used back roads to find our way to this particular store. Alex revealed his exemplary journey skills on this spontaneous trip, driving through windy roads and avoiding dangerous drivers. Therefore, after a journey through unexplored lands, we found the solution to my dilemma: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Extended Edition)! Now I can explore Tolkien’s Middle Earth.

Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Extended Editions)
Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Extended Edition) as found only at Best Buy!

Do you have the Extended Movie Edition for The Lord of the Rings? Do the extra storylines make them worthwhile to you? Are you excited for Amazon’s series on Middle Earth to come out? Please comment below!