Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Forget Me Not Reader's Guide

Hey readers! Well in the review for "Forget Me Not" by Vicki Hinze I mentioned I don't, and I mean, ever! ...Pay any attention to Reader's Guides. It has nothing to do with the author. I just feel once the story is over, it's over. However I felt this would be a cool opportunity for a blog post. So here are my answers to the questions:

1) "Even when we forgot who we are, at core level we remember whose we are." That belief prompted author Vicki Hinze to write "Forget Me Not." What core-level memory do you feel you could never forget? Why? Do you feel bad memories are more easily recalled than good ones?

I think the most important memory I have is when my parents CHOSE to adopt me. They didn't have to. They could have picked anyone boy or girl, or none at all. Yet, they chose me. It's a feeling and a memory that will not be forgotten. I actually think about it more and more everyday. Gratitude for parents who don't use a blood lineage as a label of family. They proved that even more so when they adopted my two sisters (before me) and also my sister Maranda & my brother Travis (both biological siblings). I don't feel that bad memories are more easily recalled than good. I do believe that we, as humans, tend to focus more on the bad than the good. We are the most helpless of all species in that regard.

2) Do you believe forgiveness means forgotten? The Bible states that repentance washes away our sins and that God no longer remembers them. Are human beings capable of that kind of forgiveness without God's help? Have you struggled with forgiving but not being able to forget? Are there times when not forgetting is constructive?

I definitely do not believe forgiveness means forgotten, especially when I apply it to my own life. With all the miserable things I have suffered to as a child, teen, and even now as an adult- I find it hard to forgive, even harder to forget. I have done my best to forgive those who have done me wrong (there's a list a mile long alright), but in turn I have wronged others I am able to admit. With that being said I should be able to forgive those wrongdoer's just as I wished who I wronged could forgive me. I am no saint by all means. I think a strong individual with great morals and self-respect (such as my Mom & Dad) are capable of forgiving, but when it comes to God's help? That can only be answered by the people at question. I can't say if a stranger is capable of it as much as you can. We don't know their belief's, or what side of the street they come from. That's a double edged sword of a question. Yes, like I said above I constantly am struggling with that. I am still fighting with forgiving my birth mother for what she made my siblings and I suffer as children. Do I know I should forgive her, yes. If not for her sake for my own. There's extinuating circumstances and no one can understand how I am feeling about it, not even my siblings. It's a different situation for all four of us, we all have different perspectives on it. Enough said. I don't think not forgetting is key. I think finding a way to cope with the forgiving in an appropriate manner is what is constructive.

3) Would it be a blessing to be able to forget parts of your past? Or do you feel it takes all of those parts- good and bad- to be the person you have become? Why? If you could wipe your memory clean and start over, how would you construct life differently?

Wow, this is a very emotional and personal question for me. I don't like to hide anything anymore, the opposite of my adolescent years. Of course it would be a blessing to forget my past, largely my years from birth til 15. The reality of the matter tho is this is a cowards way out. Sure, I suffered quite miserably in my past, at times I still lie in my bed crying wondering "if only things were different." They're not, and there's a good chance they never will be. I feel that both good and bad parts have molded me into the person I am now. Again, most of the person I am now is due to my parents raising me to be a good person, how could I ignore the past; because if I did I would never have had the blessing of having such amazing and wonderful parents and belong to a family that is so strong even in the faulty times we encounter. So to make a short answer of it, no I wouldn't wipe my memory even if I had the opportunity. I am not a coward, I stand for what I believe in even if no one else does. My parents taught me that!

4) Do specific names evoke a specific emotion in you? If you could chose your name, what would it be? Why would you chose it?

Names are irrelevant to me. A name is a name is a name. I do think my name is rather generic. I have never been one to want to be like others or blend in. I have always been a rebel. I would change it to something off the wall. As I read "Forget Me Not," I thought Benjamin's last name, Brandt would be an awesome name. I had the opportunity to change my entire name at my adoption trial, I thought it over, but after 14 years of answering to just seemed that if I had changed it I would never answer anyone because I would always be thinking my name is Steven.

5) The heroine in "Forget Me Not" is a woman of serene faith. It gives her certainty and calm in horrific circumstances. What has brought you calm and certainty in troubled times.

If only I had Kelly's faith I think my life would be in a drastic turn for the better. I admire the character's stronghold on her faith. Whenever something bad happened she immediately prayed. In my case, I freak out and that's all that comes of it. I pray mostly every night. I am spiritual. I don't believe in organized religion due to the majority of hypocrisy I see in religions. I have been following in the Native American ways over the past year. I have never been drawn to a spirituality as I have with the "Red Road." However, even in it I find hypocrisy. I am not bashing religions, or people for that matter. I am just stating humanity is flawed. If we could all just live healthy, happy lives things would be so much better in this evil world. As for my calm and certainty, I really and truly don't believe I posess either one. I think, as I have since as long as I can remember, whenever things go bad or become too much for me to bear- I simply go to sleep. It's my only way of shutting out the reality that surrounds me in those times of tragedy.

6) Much has been written about the power of prayer. What, to you, is the greatest benefit of individual prayer? Is a group united in prayer for a specific purpose more or less powerful than individual prayer?"

Like I said in the last question I pray almost every night. I don't and can't believe that an individual prayer vs a group prayer is stronger and vice versa. To me I believe that a prayer, any prayer, is just as powerful as the one before and the one after. Can you judge the colors white and ivory? No, they're the same.

7) Kelly is warned that "some people are the opposite of what they appear to be." Have you found this to be true? What about people of great wealth, like Gregory, who endowed inspiring works of art, gave prestigious scholarships, and benefited charities? Can people who do these things yet live dissolute personal lives be redeemed? Can enduring humanitarian works help erase the personal harm done by an unbelieving, evil, or corrupt personality? Or must that redemption be made solely through repentance and God's grace through Jesus Christ?

There are plenty of "poser's" out in the world. We would all be a liar if at some point in our life we didn't pretend to be someone we're not, for whatever, love, friends etc. I can't say who can and can't be redeemed. That's Creator's choice not mine or yours. I don't think if a person has done some kind of wrong that by doing something good erase's the wrong doing. That is the most idiotic thought ever. I do believe that it may benefit the person in a positive way. I think only Creator has a knowledge of what and who can and can't be repented. Everything is done with Creator's will, we are just a vessel in the process.

8) We all have challenges and bear burdens. Matthew 11:28 inspired the Crossroads Crisis Center series of books. In times of trouble and burdens, has your relationship with God given you rest? Has that aided you in coping with your challenges? Resolving your conflicts? Easing your burdens?

When I was forced into the various organized religions as a child and teen, my relationship with God fluctuated. One day I would believe in him and all his might, others I couldn't fathom how in all the world's suffering there existed someone God, or otherwise that would allow such evil and pain to be afflicted on "His loved ones." In the Sweat Lodge Ceremonies in the Native tradition, has been the only time in any church or religious affliation I felt a true and pure sense of peace. A feeling that cleared my thoughts and opened my mind, body and soul into listening to Creator. Sometimes in the Lodge I even shed tears, the feeling of Creator's presence is just so overwhelming.

9) Ben and Kelly are wealthy people. Is it harder, do you think, to be a rich or poor Christian? What makes it harder or easier? Do material possessions impact a person's inner life at all?

We had discussed this topic over the weekend actually. I am unsure what Vicki means by rich or poor. We had mentioned that in foreign and poverty stricken countries the poor aren't poor in the aspect of faith. They have little or no shelter, never know where their food may come from and other thoughts we in more financially stable countries never worry about. These people aren't heartbroken over not having material things or finances. Sure it could benefit them, but they have their life in a higher power's hands. I believe material possessions can and do affect a person's soul. I am one to prove that. When I lost almost everything but the clothes on my back last year I was furious! How could I live without this and this and this!? At the end of the year, after much contemplation it dawned on me. My parents for yearsssssssssss have been telling me about my grip on materialistic things. I don't need them. What am I going to do with them when I am buried? They will serve no purpose. Only then did I realize that I only missed them, I can live without them. I also feel I associate too many materialistic things with memories. I think that's why I focus on them so much. I feel in a way, if I lose the item that I will lose the emotions and memories associated with them. How dumb am I?

10) Repeatedly, Kelly hears God's instructions:  "Be patient with him." She listens and tries, but it isn't always easy. Is being patient difficult for you? What experiences have led you to trust in God's perfect timing?

Patience is a virtue I do not have. I doubt I ever will. I am the most impatient person ever! I do my best at concealing it but it never fails to bubble over into the real world and tell my secret. Someone was looking over me back in 2006. I had blacked out in the bathroom of my ex and I's apartment. I still do not recall moving from the bed to the bathroom. However if he had not taken me to the hospital I would have died. Even in our disfunctional friendship now I will forever be thankful for his that time.

11) Ben had a loving, content marriage. As a widower, he had challenges starting over in a new romance. If you suffered such a loss, what would encourage you to (or discourage you from "trying" again?

Hmm...refer to question 10's answer.

12) Kelly was orphane, abused, and mistreated. Often in abuse cases, those who abused become abusers. Yet she did not. Neither did she grow bitter or engage in destructive self-pity. Instead, she made God her escape plan from the abuse and learned to pray. She relied on Him and as an adult commits to helping others stay safe. That is this story's tie to Matthew 11:28. Did her reliance on God, her trust in Him, break the cycle so often present in abuse cases?

I am unfamiliar with that passage. However I feel Kelly did break the cycle of abuse. I think her faith was the biggest key in her turn-around process, among her own determination.

13) Have you experienced situations like Kelly's where you felt the hand of God at work in your life? If so, please explain.

I don't recall at any point in my life feeling like Kelly's experiences were a work of God's hand.

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