24 Natural Depression Beater Tips:

  1. Don’t pressure yourself to be happy. No one solution will keep you happy forever, or even for the rest of the day.  You have to constantly work against your depression, and it’s a battle that you will never stop fighting.  But find as many lifter-uppers as you can so that you can have plenty of ammunition against the sadness that threatens your mood.
  2. Realize that every depression beater will not work every time. Each day is a new day, different than before, and so you may require many tips in order to successfully beat depression in your life.
  3. Live in the moment. Don’t look back, and don’t look forward.  As long as you’re sad, looking outside the moment that you’re in will spur you to think pessimistically of the world around you.  When you’re feeling depressed, focus on surviving each second itself.
  4. Stop and breathe. Just feel the air enter and leave your lungs.  Mentally force yourself to breath in and out for as long as you can.  While you’re breathing, don’t let your mind think of anything else.
  5. No matter how you feel, stop and make a meal for someone who loves you. Their compliments will make you feel better, in the moment.
  6. Go outside and let the sunshine brighten your skin. Take a walk, or just sit on your porch or in your backyard.  Watch the bugs crawling across the dirt or the leaves rustling in the wind.  If you live in a place where it always rains, then sit outside in a dry place and watch the puddles ripple under the rain or the water wash off the leaves or petals of flowers and trees in your yard. Again, don’t think; just watch.
  7. Find a plant or baby tree to take care of, and learn how to tend to it. If it’s an indoor plant that needs water, then make sure to water it.  If it needs misting or if it needs sunlight, make sure to tend to it.  Or, if you’re an outside person, then start a vegetable, flower, or herb garden in your yard.  If you like to cook, then I suggest a good herb garden which will make you step outside to trim the leaves and gather your fresh herbs for cooking.
  8. Listen to music. Discover what type of music will beat the depression in your life.  Everyone has different preferences; some people listen to sad music to help soothe their souls, while others need upbeat and peppy music to keep them from falling deeper into their sadness.  Also note that when you’re depressed, each day may wear a different mood; some days you may need sad music, while other days you’ll need to listen to dreamy or happy music instead.  Feel free to change your station or playlist to match your mood.
  9. Get off Facebook. Often, social media makes you compare your life with what other people have, and other times you just feel judged and condemned by what your friends are expressing on their own walls.  This gives your mind a “bully voice” that worsens your bad moods and depression.

If you require Facebook for your job, because you are the administrator of a page or group and you cannot pass the responsibility to someone else, then create a new profile for yourself and close out your other personal account.  Only like what encourages you, and don’t befriend anyone from your former friend list; if you do then your brain will begin to bully you for playing favorites or for not befriending someone else, too.  If your friends are true friends, they’ll understand why you got off Facebook, and they’ll support your decision to do so.

Also, if you administrate a page or group, don’t let yourself become distressed by Facebook stats.  Try not to worry about whether someone un-likes your page or comments rudely.  If you find yourself getting too invested in the stats of your page or group, temporarily unpublish the page and consider finding someone else to run it instead.

  1. Keep a daily journal. Write down the activities of your day and how you felt about it.  If something upsets you, express your feelings on the pages of your journal.  But don’t pressure yourself into writing.  Some days you may write no more than half a page, while other days you could write 10 pages.
  2. Let yourself cry. Don’t force the tears, but if they come then welcome them.  You’ll feel better if you let yourself express your emotion. Cry for as long or as short as you need, then take a breath and continue your day.
  3. Take a steamy shower. The warm water and steam will comfort, and if you feel like crying in the shower then allow yourself to cry.  After the emotional shower is done, you may feel tired or even exhausted, but it will feel good to be fresh and clean.
  4. Get a 52-card deck, shuffle the cards, and set up your favorite game of solitaire. You’ll have to work your mind on the technical rules of the card game, and your brain will busy itself with the game instead of bothering you with everything you’ve done wrong in the past week.
  5. Read the Bible. Psalms is a good book to read when you can’t seem to get happy. The books John, Romans, 2 Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians, 1 Peter, and 1 John are also good books to read when you are feeling depressed.

Also, there are many versions of the Bible, so feel free to compare each version to find the one that is easiest for you to read.

  1. Buy an “adult coloring book” and a batch of colored pens, markers, crayons, or colored pencils and spend some time coloring.
  2. Re-read your favorite book. If your mind can’t focus on reading because of your depression, then try reading a graphic novel instead.  The story-telling with art will give your mind visuals to focus on rather than words to read.
  3. Drink a hot cup of tea or coffee.
  4. Wrap yourself in a warm blanket.
  5. Hug a stuffed animal or teddy bear.  I find that the bigger (16 inches is a great size) and softer the bear, the better.
  6. Look up something (a movie, game, or event) that you’re excited about and looking forward to.
  7. Buy a gift for your best friend, but only if you can afford it in your budget. Otherwise, gift them with a hug or a compliment, instead.
  8. Know your limits and your boundaries. Don’t force yourself to do something that will make you embarrassed or too uncomfortable.  This will give your critical mind ammunition against you.
  9. Re-watch your favorite feel good movie or tv show. If you already know the ending and it’s your favorite, then there won’t be anything to surprise you or depress you more.
  10. Pray. Maybe even find a church community. Despite how you feel, you are NOT alone.

 

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 Today’s Hymn: One Day

“On the first day of the week we came together to break bread.” Acts 20:7 (NIV)

One day, when I was about 8 years old, it was a beautiful Sunday morning, and my Bible class teacher announced that we would do our class in the church building’s kitchen.  Luckily we didn’t need to move far because our classroom, which was actually the same room that potlucks (or “dinner on the grounds”) were held, was adjacent to the kitchen.

So my teacher Mrs. Born took the class, which consisted of 2 kids, my best friend and myself, to the kitchen and she showed us how to make the communion bread for the worship that morning.   She explained that it was important for the communion to be unleavened bread and also that it was to be taken weekly because we needed to begin each week with our minds on Jesus Christ and on the sacrifice that he gave to save us from our sins.  I watched as she mixed the oil, water, and flour into a bowl. She let my friend roll the dough onto a cookie sheet, and I was allowed to prick lines into the dough with a fork to keep bubbles from forming in the dough.

CommunionMemory“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20 (NIV)

Now that I’m grown, my family holds worship and communion every week.  It’s my responsibility each Sunday morning to make sure we have the communion bread and grape juice that we need.  As I prepare the Lord’s supper for our small service, I remember Mrs. Born and the lesson that she taught me as she baked the communion bread years ago.

The teaching that I gave you is the same teaching that I received from the Lord: On the night when Jesus was handed over to be killed, he took bread and gave thanks for it. Then he broke the bread and said, “This is my body; it is for you. Do this to remember me.” In the same way, after they ate, Jesus took the cup. He said, “This cup shows the new agreement from God to his people. This new agreement begins with the blood of my death. When you drink this, do it to remember me.” Every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you show others about the Lord’s death until he comes.

So a person should not eat the bread or drink the cup of the Lord in a way that is not worthy of it. If he does he is sinning against the body and the blood of the Lord. Everyone should look into his own heart before he eats the bread and drinks the cup. If someone eats the bread and drinks the cup without recognizing the body, then he is judged guilty by eating and drinking. That is why many in your group are sick and weak. And some of you have died. But if we judged ourselves in the right way, then God would not judge us. But when the Lord judges us, he disciplines us to show us the right way. He does this so that we will not be destroyed along with the world.” 1 Corinthians 11: 23-32 (ICB)

The hymn that we sang today in worship, “One Day” by J. Wilbur Chapman and Charles H. Marsh, tells why we take communion weekly.  It’s encouraging to find so many Christians all over the world feel the same way that my family does.

“…so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” Hebrews 9:28

recipe

Worst Problem Ever: The Labyrinth of Technology

Imagine yourself in a colossal stadium, with a ceiling that reaches the sky, but in front of you is an endless winding of walls and corners, straight paths, open paths, curvy paths, going on and on. Right when you start to get a grip on which way to go, that’s when a wall appears, it’s a dead-end, and you have to turn back, forced to back-track your steps.

That is today’s opportunist in the labyrinth of technology.

Not everyone acknowledges the problem. Some can afford the lifestyle of buying and upgrading every year; subscribing to this, subscribing to that; paying a little here, paying a little there; then the labyrinth can be walked around, not through. But for those short on cash in an extended measure of time, you see the problem.

There are also ones who confidently smile when you call them “Nerds!”, for they see no trouble in troubleshooting every malfunction a computer has; taking the computer apart when it shuts down and won’t power on; patiently working with the blue-screened-computer which expresses an apology with a giant frowny face; for those people, the problem is a puzzle for them to master. Those proudly known as nerds valiantly organize their 100 passwords in one place, keep backups of every file, and budget in cloud storage, subscriptions, better speakers, newest upgrades, and the best hardware, barely having money for anything else. Which is why I will argue, even they might acknowledge there is a problem in the labyrinth of technology.

Exactly one week after I told my readers and viewers, in a video, to be prepared to lose their technology, my most reliable hard-drive died. I don’t mean the keydrive that broke a while ago, the one that was new and barely used. That one was where our Jabber Worthy files were saved. The hard-drive I’m talking about today was our main network: we had all our files saved there, and I had a shared hard-drive between our two computers, Kat and mine. Not only was that our favorite, most reliable hard-drive, it was the one we’ve had for years, which I guess is part of the problem. It “wore out”. It’s not exactly like a teddy bear, where it keeps being cute even after it wears out…

The sort of good news is, I found out my hard-drive may be fixable within a $300-$800 range, the may be part of my sentence emphasized. But since my money is better spent on new equipment, since everything is older than my hard-drive that crashed, it could be better to count the losses as a lesson learned and pick up the pieces, finding the unorganized backups scattered across the maze of computer storages. We’ll start anew if we have to. Luckily, we are the meticulous (and paranoid?) types, and God is good, so much of the most important files are safe.

At what point does losing your life’s work develop into some form of PTSD…? After we chose career as our top importance, sacrificing a lot for talents and dreams, when can we say that our losses have become our scars?

We are blessed though. Kat got a new laptop last week, replacing her 11-year-old desktop one. The laptop arrived just in time for her to type a new and improved rules of our pirate-themed Jabber Worthy game. It’s so much better… We’re trying! Some say we never give up. They’re probably right.

Luckily, Kat and I printed out the cards to Jabber Worthy years ago and so we still have hard copies of our game and rules, but we will most likely try to give it a fresh look now that our files have been lost two different times. At one point you realize God might be trying to teach you a new thing. I pray for Him to work on our hearts and help us take the windy course to success, not the dead-end course to failure. I guess that’s why we innovate!

Computer (sneak peak Jabberworthy) 2

“The Butterfly Training Detectives”

It was a club with two members: my best friend and me.  Our tools of trade were an empty peanut butter jar, a pencil, and a small notepad.  We would catch butterflies, keep them as pets, and learn what they ate and how they lived. This was before the convenience of the Internet, if anyone can actually imagine a time without it.  We had to do the research the hard way: in the field of study.

70sHippyFlowerGirl
70’s Day at school; I dressed as a flower girl.

 

I was proud when our teacher cut windows out of a box and put plastic wrap over it so that we could even keep the butterflies that we caught. Then the class could observe them too.

When my friend moved, I continued the club by myself.  I didn’t research the butterflies so much. I had a new mission: to train the butterflies to sit on my hand.  During recess, I would step quietly and slowly to catch the butterfly in my empty peanut butter jar.  Then, when the butterfly settled down, I would slowly open the lid and put my hand in. Once in a while I would manage to stay still and calm enough for it to happen;  to my friends, I became the girl who could get a butterfly to sit on her hand.

But I wasn’t one to bask in the glory; there was more to do and explore.  There was a different type of insect that had caught my eye… one that I learned was called a damselfly.  At first I thought it was a lady for the dragonfly, but since then I’ve discovered that –although very similar- they are two very different types of insect.

Since then, I’ve had a soft spot for damselflies when I see them.  I never had one sit on my hand, but recently I was thrilled to get a shot with my camera.

Damselfly
It’s a Citrine Forktail! You can download our free image here.

Garden Nymph

AztecGrasshopperNymph

We found a nymph in our backyard! #Shakespeare #Faeries

Look how small she is compared to the little tomato, and the three-leaf clover in the background.

She’s a baby, but I won’t tell you what for. You’ll have to guess…

The answer is below in white. (Select the space below to see the name.)

*Aztec Spur-throat Grasshopper (Aidemona azteca)*

 

Micro-Dimensional

I received an Omax MD8210 for my birthday last week: a digital compound binocular LED microscope.  I had a microscope on my wish list, but I expected for the good models to typically fall into the price range of $1,800 to $3,000, so I didn’t expect for such an expensive birthday gift.  This particular model is very cheap, but it’s very high powered and works wonderfully.  It took me a day or two to learn how to use it, because it’s got 5 different little knobs to focus with and it’s got a wet lens that needs immersion oil.  Considering I didn’t receive a user manual for it, it was a bit of a challenge to figure it out, but I looked online and found the manual on manuallib.com (a library of user manuals).

Viewing microbiology: it’s like entering another dimension.  Yesterday Lacy and I went outside, and we were looking for specimen to view under the microscope.  Fspidersor the first time, she was thinking very small.  She saw a spider on its web; it was just a little bigger than the tip of a ballpoint pen.  “What are you going to catch, little guy?”  She asked it.  “You’re tinier than anything else that would get stuck in your web. Are you going to eat something three times your size?”  Only later did we discover just how many tiny bugs that were smaller than the spider that set it’s trap on the cactus, waiting for its prey to fall into it’s web.  (Of course, that’s not taking away from the fact that the spider’s web really could ensnare something three times the spider’s size.)

Trust in God: Be Not Disappointed

My mother has an amazing green thumb, though she’s bound not to agree.  She always points out all the plants that she cannot grow, but to tell the truth, she makes our backyard a paradise for wildlife. With cardinals and mourning doves and house wrens and mockingbirds and hummingbirds and blue jays, butterflies and bugs of all kinds, Texas spiny lizards and small geckos and squirrels, time spent sitting in our back yard truly ministers to the spirit and soul.

Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think about these things.  Philippians 4:8 (WEB)

“Our Iris is blooming Kathryn.  You thought you could get out of it,  but you’ve got to go out and take a picture of it,” Mom teased after our worship was over. It’s all right, I thought to myself. Maybe I can get a picture of another sphinx moth to go along with my blog entry.  We had gone out yesterday to see a pretty yellow butterfly flitting around the yard, calling with a wave of its delicate wings for us to join it in the sun.  While we were out, we witnessed a big green caterpillar crawling along our swing bench that we were sitting on.  At first we thought it was a tomato hornworm, but upon further investigation we discovered that it was the waved sphinx caterpillar.  With that (and a prayer) on my mind, I was ready to go outside again today.

WavedSphinxCaterpillar

The sun was bright, the breeze was nice.  The shade of the ash tree cooled us from the spring heat of the sun.  Trigger (our Australian Kelpie) was chasing lizards under our lawn chairs, and today he actually caught one.  It was a Texas lizard, the type that we try to protect because Mom loves them so much. Luckily, Mom saw it immediately and she made Trigger drop the lizard.  It was unharmed.  I helped Mom hold Trig back and, after the shock wore off, the lizard quickly climbed up my pants leg and clutched on, knowing that I was a safe haven for it to hide while the angry dog tried to attack it. (Trig wasn’t really angry, he was just trying to protect his people from the lizard that he had found hiding under our chair.) After the lizard escaped, I calmed Trig down and Mom took him back inside.

Like what Mom and I were doing for the lizard in protecting it from Trig, God wants to protect us from the vicious dangers in our life.  He wants us to trust in Him and to cling onto Him, so that He can hold us in His arms and protect us from harm.

But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives. In the end, he will stand upon the earth. Job 19:25 (WEB)

While we were outside, I was looking for something amazing to take a picture of. The day was still and quiet, aside from the children playing next door.  As my gaze skimmed the yard, I drew my attention to the roof of our house, to a spot where the shingles are missing.  We’re getting our roof replaced this week, so I was using my telescopic lens on my camera to get a good look at the damage to the roof.  I gave Lacy the camera so that she could see the spots on the roof too, and when she looked into the lens, I suddenly caught a glimpse of something  big buzzing around the roses.  “Oh quick! Give it to me!” Lacy immediately handed me the camera, but it was too late. The small creature had finished its business at the roses and flown on past the house.  From the distance that I was at, it looked like a hummingbird, but bigger and bulkier; it must have been a sphinx moth making a quick stop at the flowers in our yard before moving on.  It was the very moment I came outside for, but I had missed it.

Roof-worries

The message God gave me at that moment was loud and clear. When we decide to focus on the worries of life, we miss the beautiful moments that God tries to bless us with. Lacy and I were focused on the roof of the house- something that is completely out of our hands.  We could do nothing about the missing shingles or the rains that we’ve been getting lately.  All we could do was trust that God will protect us from harm and wait for the roofers to do their job, scheduled later this week.  But because I had decided to think about my worries and God’s concerns, I missed a moment that God had given for me to enjoy.

Who knows if I could have gotten a picture of the sphinx moth before it flew away. I was disappointed that I had missed the chance to try, but Lacy reassured me later that we’ll have more chances in the future.  The sphinx moth is usually seen in May to July, so no worries.  Maybe next time.

God heard my prayer of repentance, and although he didn’t send the moth back around, he answered another prayer of mine instead; I had wished for a chance to take a picture of the dragonflies and damselflies that we have in our back yard. That taught me another lesson: With a missed opportunity, God will always open a new door.

damselfly

Hear my cry, God. Listen to my prayer. From the end of the earth, I will call to you when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been a refuge for me, a strong tower from the enemy. I will dwell in your tent forever. I will take refuge in the shelter of your wings. Selah. Psalm 61:1-4 (WEB)

2017 New Years Resolutions according to Romans 15 (CEB)

#1 Read the Bible Daily

Romans 15:4 “Whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction so that we could have hope through endurance and through encouragement of the scriptures.”

I’ve read the Bible daily in past years, but lately I’ve been so busy with work that I haven’t really had the chance to read a yearly Bible reading plan. I received a “The One Year Chronological Bible (NLT)” for Christmas, so I’m looking forward to reading the Bible again in the new year.

The Bible is written for our encouragement. It’s words were inspired by God (2 Peter 1:19), His truth, and we are told to crave it like a newborn baby craves her mother’s milk (1 Peter 2:2). As 2 Timothy 3:15-17 says, “Since childhood you have known the holy scriptures that help you to be wise in a way that leads to salvation through faith that is in Christ Jesus. Every scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for showing mistakes, for correcting, and for training character, so that the person who belongs to God can be equipped to do everything that is good.”

#2 Make Somebody’s Day – Every Day

Romans 15:2-3 Each of us should please our neighbors for their good in order to build them up. Christ didn’t please himself, but, as it is written, ‘the insults of those who insulted you fell on me’.

Nothing gives me as much happiness as seeing someone encouraged by something I’ve said or done for them. But it’s so easy to become busy, to live in your own moment, and to forget the needs of others. I strive in the new year to focus on helping other people more.

Cook a meal for a friend. Give your parents a call. Compliment your boss. 1 John 1:7 tells us that if we live in the light, then “we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleans us from every sin.” We are told to encourage each other every day because once we stop encouraging each other, that’s when sin’s lies can take root and begin to grow in our lives (and theirs!), making us insensitive to God and His ways. We are only one with Christ if we have confidence in Him. (Hebrews 3:13-14)

#3 Be Kinder Than Last Year’s Me

Romans 15:7 So welcome each other, in the same way that Christ also welcomed you, for God’s glory.

I typically try to be a pleasant person, but if caught in the wrong moment I can be a true grouch. If I’m tired late at night or if I sleep late in the morning, or sometimes if I’m just having a very bad day, it feels like my bark resembles a fiercely snarling guard dog. I never mean what my mood entails when I’m a grump, but what’s said is said and I can’t take it back.  That’s why this year I hope to improve my mood and be kinder than before.

We are called to be kind to one another, and to welcome others who are weak in their faith – not to correct them or call them down or brag about your own knowledge, but to encourage them (Romans 14:1).  We are called to take care of God’s people, and to give to them when they are in need, and to invite strangers into our homes (Romans 12:13). Galatians 6:10 says “So then, let’s work for the good of all whenever we have an opportunity, and especially for those in the household of faith.”

#4 Find Joy and Peace In All Circumstances

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in faith so that you overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

I was never a melancholy person as a kid, but as I’ve grown older, I’ve started feeling the sense of sadness in my soul; one that reminds me that I’m in the midst of hard times, and the hard times will never reach an end.  It’s all very dramatized in my mind, and I know that finding peace and joy in “hard times” is a talent that can be achieved if I can sustain my confidence and my faith in God. So I pray God will help me gain His peace through everything.

If we cling to God and His truth, then we will find joy and peace in all circumstances, both good and bad, because we are assured that we are given encouragement, and we are addressed as sons and daughters of God; even if we are disciplined by God, we are disciplined because He loves us, and wants to correct us so that we may live righteously and be redeemed in Christ. For Paul writes in Philippians 1:11, that “I pray that you will then be filled with the fruit of righteousness, which comes from Jesus Christ, in order to give glory and praise to God.”

#5 Worry Less, Pray More

Romans 15:33 May the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

This Christmas, my family had to deal with a spot of mold. 2 days before Christmas I was pulling a boardgame out of my closet only to find it completely ruined by hints of fuzz and green.  I had to completely clean out my closet so we could spray the spot left on the ceiling by the contaminated game and then spray the closet with a prevention spray.  Of course, reading about all the side effects and symptoms of mold leaves me unsettled with a strong concern despite the fact that the spot has been taken care of, but God has always proven to protect us from harm, and so this year, I’m planning on thinking about my worries as little as possible, and will focus on the promises we have been given: the assurance in Christ Jesus.

Jesus promises in Matthew 11:28-30 that if we come to him with all of our worries, then He will take our burdens and give us rest. Yes, our troubles and worries do try to return, but we can rest assured of the fact that we have a place with God. As long as we have faith (2 Corinthians 5:1-10) and remain confident in God’s promise to us, then as Paul says in Philippians 4:13, “I can endure all things through the power of the one who gives me strength.”

#6 Be Content, Not Selfish

Romans 15:1 We who are powerful need to be patient with the weakness of those who don’t have power, and not please ourselves.

Sometimes I catch myself complaining about things, or wishing for things to go my way for a change. Sometimes it feels like I’m being completely ignored in life, like the world around me couldn’t care less about my happiness or my comfort.  But… again it’s my overactive imagination trying to trick me; and it’s selfish of me to say “God, you need to do things my way. Your way is too hard.” So I’d like to learn some stronger contentment this year.

We are told that our heart is where our treasures are. (Matthew 6:21), and that’s why we are to lay up our treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:19-20). In this case, I strive to be like Paul, for he says that “I have learned how to be content in any circumstance. I know the experience of being in need and of having more than enough; I have learned the secret to being content in any and every circumstance, whether full or hungry or whether having plenty or being poor.” (Philippians 4:11-12)

 

 

Prayer Power!

I have an exciting new story to tell this week about prayer and its power. If you ever doubted that praying matters, I can encourage you.

Last month, I decided I wasn’t doing enough to help children living in poverty. Providentially, an ad flashed onto the computer screen, displaying compassion.com, a website that gives donors the chance to sponsor a child in need – now I see this ad a lot, going to Christian sites and such, but this time, seeing it was an answer to my prayer of charity.

So I decided, with Kat’s support, we could work as a team, and we began praying for one child a day. By searching the children on compassion.com (they let you pick from a variety of details), we take the picture and bio of a child, and we print out the info to tape it into our prayer journals. Every night, we pray for God to provide the child a sponsor or help in other ways, like with education, health, and a good life.

21 days later, here’s our testimony to the power of prayer: Kat decided to search for these children again and could not find but 1 child! Some of them, like a 4 year old girl from Ghana, had been waiting over 300 days for a sponsor, so unless there’s another reason they might be gone, I imagine life is better in the lives of these 20 children. Is that not an amazing thought? For those of us tight on money, until God provides us with more fortune in our pocket, there is a way we can help!

My Favorite Shows

I have a literal love-hate relationship with the television.  As a kid I was a TV-junkie. After school, I’d watch anything, from Sesame Street to Mr. Rogers and especially Power Rangers (but NOT Goosebumps or Saved by the Bell). My older brother would record V.R. Troopers every morning before school and I’d watch it when I got home; in the evenings the family would watch Sliders, or Star Trek: Next Generation, or MacGuyver, or Earth 2. TGIF meant Full House and America’s Funniest Home Videos with Bob Saget.  Saturday mornings were for lounging on the couch and watching kid shows like Wishbone, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Little Mermaid, and my personal favorite, Reboot.

We moved to Germany at a time in my life when I was learning the true meaning of trusting God. When I heard that a mustard seed faith can move a mountain (my mom explained that it wasn’t literal, although it could be if God wanted it to be), I decided to try it out: I told the TV to “go jump in a lake!” It was a half-joke as I imagined the TV growing legs (like Mike the TV!) and running out to find the nearest lakeside to jump into, but I was serious, for a 13 year old. Needless to say, 2 years in Germany and only one American (news) channel to watch, I learned to do other things.

The family still loves TV, and a part of me wants to indulge in a good show; sometimes I do give in at suppertime. We’ve watched shows that I enjoy like Emily of New Moon, Chuck, The Dick Van Dyke Show, and Body of Proof, and shows that I don’t care for like The 100, Lost, and Arrow. There’s a few shows that are actually good enough to add to my collection of DVDs…

MY TOP 5 SHOW SERIES

#5 Dr. Quinn

starring Jane Seymour and Joe Lando

I’ve always been a fan of Dr. Quinn. After re-watching it with my family, I decided: I love Jane Seymour as she plays the brilliant Medicine Woman from Colorado Springs.  The show’s end was melancholy, as if some of the cast didn’t want the book to close on their story, so to speak, but it was a fitting end.

#4 Monk

starring Tony Shalhoub and Ted Levine

“Unless I’m wrong, which, you know, I’m not…” –Adrian Monk

There are some shows that are enjoyed because it’s bizarre and strange, and then there are others because of it’s relatability.  For some reason Mr. Monk’s story has an uncanny resemblance to my life, or at least how I perceive my life to be.  The series finale gave the show a perfect surprise ending which resolved all the issues that were introduced in earlier episodes.

“…I could be wrong now, but I don’t think so! ‘Cause there’s a jungle out there.” -(Monk’s theme song: It’s a Jungle Out There, Randy Newman)

#3 Primeval

starring Andrew Lee Potts, Hannah Spearritt and Ben Miller

Monk may be relatable, but Primeval is bizarre and strange. It started out quirky, hard to follow, and it didn’t compare to the other British dramas I had watched: Wild at Heart and Monarch of the Glen.  But my little brother, fiercely into dinosaurs, was so excited about the family’s interest in the new sci-fi show that we gave into him and took a chance.  I tried to decide whether I liked the show enough to keep watching, but as the characters grew and the story-line was revealed, I was intrigued; and when it ended, even though it ended with a definite cliff-hanger and lead in to another series (or season, as we Americans call it), it was the ending of the show that finally tipped me over the edge to make me realize just how much I liked it and was going to miss it.  The cast that the show ended with was amazing; they told their story very well.

#2 Three Kingdoms RPG

starring Kenneth Ma, Raymond Lam, and Tavia Yeung

Lacy and I have recently (the past few years) gotten into Chinese history after playing Koei-Tecmo’s video game series Dynasty Warriors; we got hooked.  Three Kingdoms RPG would probably be my #1 favorite TV show of all time, except the finale’s ending was unnecessarily bad.  Next time we watch it, we’ll stop 30 minutes before the end. It’ll be perfect.

#1 BBC’s Merlin

starring Colin Morgan, Bradley James, Katie McGrath, Angel Coulby, and Richard Wilson

This show has had a bad rep since the show’s end. Fans (and no doubt the cast) can feel the taboo that enshrouds the show’s legacy.  But the truth is Merlin takes its place as my favorite show. The cast, script, and directing were magic. The storytelling was superb. But the show’s finale left fans feeling betrayed and hurt from tragedy. Personally, we had to wait for the ending to show on Netflix, so after reading the viewer comments online, how Christmas was ruined for many, I was pleasantly surprised when I enjoyed the show’s conclusion; the cast played it spectacularly.

Lacy does remind me: as she and I read spoilers and prepared ourselves for the worst of the worst (what we saw other fans expressing), we created our own conclusion; one that continued beyond the ending and resolved the Dragon’s final prophecy: “Though no man, no matter how great, can know his destiny, some lives have been foretold, Merlin. Arthur is not just a king. He is the once and future king. Take heart, for when Albion’s need is greatest, Arthur will rise again.” Maybe I’m biased, but our creativity helped me realize just how great Merlin continues to be, despite the silence of fans everywhere.

Other shows that ended too soon: Eleventh Hour (with Rufus Sewell and Marley Shelton), Terra Nova, and Animorphs.

Childhood favorites that I want to watch again: Due South, Early Edition, Lois and Clark, and Reboot.

So. With that said… Three Kingdoms RPG, Eleventh Hour, Due South, Merlin… is anyone up for an encore?

What’s YOUR favorite TV show, and why?